Carb Loading

One aspect of running marathons that I had trouble with early on was nutrition. My first marathon was a total disaster. I thought that carb-loading was simply having a big dinner the night before the race. I ate a big burger with fries the night before the race and by mile 18 the next day I was sick to my stomach and run-walking.

Eventually, I learned what carb-loading was and how to do it properly. Each race allowed me to fine-tune my nutrition strategy for the day before the race and during the race. My 7th marathon was the turning point where it finally started to work. Last weekend I ran my 9th marathon and it could not have been more successful nutrition-wise. No feeling of starving and no feeling sick even though it was my 3rd fastest marathon.

Here is what I did. The plan was to consume over 600 grams of carbs and minimize everything else. Especially fiber. Every meal was planned out before hand in a spreadsheet. This allowed me to plugin and calculate various foods and see the nutrition details.

The Day Before The Race

The first food everyone mentions for carb-loading and there is a good reason for that. The ratio of carbs to fiber is 10 to 1! However, flour tortillas and rice both have an even higher ratio. Thus, I employed all of these in my plan. In fact, these are the keystones of each meal.

The gin and tonic will obviously raise some eyebrows but it totally fits in with the plan and helped me get to bed early. Also, (warning, this may be TMI) a little alcohol in the evening helps speed up certain functions in the morning. This is important so you do not spend vital minutes during the race dealing with it.

Black coffee, 3 cup7001014
Smucker’s – Natural Peanut Butter, 4 Tbs38014321664
Smuckers – Strawberry Jelly, 4 Tbsp (20g)200520000
Sara Lee – Whole Wheat Toast, 4 slice2404821288
Spaghetti, Cooked, 2 cup4405631652
Simply Balanced – Spaghetti sauce, 248 g140224460
Spaghetti, Cooked, 2 cup4405621652
Simply Balanced – Spaghetti sauce, 248 g140224460
Chipotle – 13″ Tortilla, 2 Serving580881814440
Chipotle – White Cilantro Rice, 16 oz740136161448
Chipotle – Hot Salsa, 4 fl oz6080020
Chipotle – Romanie Lettuce, 5 oz2040224
Night Cap
Bombay Sapphire Gin & Tonic, 12 z glass3386428000
Silk – Almond Milk Light, 1.5 cup60832068
Cheerios – Honey Nut Cherrios, 1.5 cup2204434420

Your Daily Goal2,318348658730100

The Morning Before The Race

The only thing that I can eat before running is toast with peanut butter and jelly. It is the only thing I have found that does not cause a side ache. So, I started the day with 4 slices of toast with jelly. No peanut butter.

During The Race

I packed a Spi-Belt with 3 normal GU gels and 2 GU Roctane gels which offer a caffeine boost. I save the Roctanes for the late miles. I ate the regular gels at mile 9, 14 and 17. I also picked up another gel at the 18 mile aid station. I ate the Roctane gels at miles 20 and 23. I crossed the finish line with two regular gels left over. In addition to the gels, I also drank Gatorade at every single aid station. At the finish, I grabbed a fruit cup, a banana and a bottle of Gatorade.

That was it. The strategy worked flawlessly. I might experiment with planning meals for TWO days prior to the race instead of just one but I really do not think it would provide much benefit.

I did not have to eat right away after the race but a few hours later, I went to a brewery and had an Impossible burger with fries and a couple beers.

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