Thursday, August 2, 2007

Pre Race Eating: Carbo-Loading

What to eat the night before, many races have pasta dinners the night before, but for some getting the carb's into the system there is just not enough time. Some say it takes roughly 12+ hours for the body to break down the pasta. So what do you do, well start early and get your take topped off 48+ hours before the race.
  • Eating/drinking: Try not to skip meals race week, and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate throughout the week, especially one and two days before the race. Don't eat a late-night meal the night before the race, Scott says, or you'll feel too heavy and possibly have an upset stomach race day. Dave Scott
  • It is an important period to stock your energy reserves to their max, but don't make too much of the process. Some elite runners, for example, will race hard about seven days before the target race day to deplete their glucogen stores, then train normally for three or four days, eating mostly fats and protein to keep glycogen low. Then in the last few days before the race, they pack as many carbohydrates into their system as they possibly can. The theory is that their muscles are so starved for glycogen that they will soak up even more carbo's than they normally would, giving them extra energy for the race. We do not recommend this for the mainstream runner -- certainly not without the oversight of a dietitian. Too often, this approach can backfire and leave you out of gas midway through the race.
  • On the morning of the big day, have a light breakfast; a bagel and some fruit juice is ideal. Don't eat any solid food for three hours before the run, just water (a good rule of thumb for any run when you really plan to push yourself)
And remember, meals and nutrition are about YOU pick the meals that you are familiar with and stick with them. This is not the time to experiment, now go out and train!