As a sports nutritionist who has run 15 marathons, they ask me one question more than almost Any other: What is the right way to eat before a great race?
The main advice you've probably heard is that runners should eat lots of potatoes and pasta in the days leading up to a marathon. This practice, called "carbohydrate loading", has long been considered as the way to load fuel for a long distance race. But does it really work?
In a word: yes. When you eat pasta or potatoes, most carbohydrates are stored in your muscles and liver in the form of glycogen, the energy form that your body can access more easily. Glycogen is what feeds your muscles during the race, especially during long-term events. Stay without him and bad things happen. You will feel weak and tired. You are likely to slow down and may want to give up altogether. Athletes call this feeling "hit the wall".
Proper carbohydrate loading can help you open a groove through the wall. Filling your muscles to the edge of glycogen in the days before an event improves overall performance and delays the onset of fatigue. The trick of carbohydrate loading is to determine when to start and what you need to add to your diet to get to the end.
Who needs it?
Carbohydrate loading is more beneficial if you are a resistance athlete (marathoner, swimmer, cyclist), competing at moderate to high intensity, for 90 minutes or more. If you are doing a shorter, less intense activity such as a relaxed bike ride, strength training or five to 10 mile races, then you can pass on that extra ziti dish.
The process helps men and women, but many athletes complain that eating enough carbohydrates before a race requires them to eat many more calories than usual. However, researchers at Baylor University found that for women to get the most benefits on race day, they only need to increase their total calories by 30%, from 1800 to 2340, for example four days before the start of the race. starting gun. So, even if you feel like you're eating too much, that's probably a sign that you're getting ready on the right track.
How to do it
During the week of the race, the overall goal is to consume enough carbohydrates to "load your tank to the top" or store as much energy (also known as glycogen) as possible.. For this, athletes should try to consume about 3 to 5, 5 grams of carbohydrates per kilo of body weight.So for a 150-pound athlete the goal would be 450 to 825 grams of carbohydrates per day. While this may seem like a very wide margin, it leaves room for you to gradually increase your consumption when race day approaches. You will start with a little more and you will be close to the maximum the day before it is time to start.
Pre race plan
A simple strategy for the days leading up to a race, is to make sure that each meal has some high carbohydrate food in it (bread roll, bread, pasta, rice, cereals, fruit, etc.). Your goal is to eat products that are high in carbohydrates, moderate in protein (meat, cheese) and low in fat. These are some examples of the foods that meet that project.
Breakfast 2/3 cup of cooked oatmeal cooked with 1 cup of skim milk ¼ cup of dried fruit and 2 tablespoons of brown sugar (covered) 8 oz of 100% fruit juice
Snack 1 1 cup of cereals Apple -Cinnamon Flavored O's with 1 cup of skim milk 1 medium banana Drinking water
Lunch (target for your biggest and most carbohydrate meal at lunch, the day before the race) 2 cups of spaghetti topped with 1 cup of tomato sauce and ½ cup of steamed vegetables 2 slices of wholemeal bread topped with 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil spread 12 oz lemonade
Snack-2 15 animal crackers dipped in 1 tablespoon of peanut butter 1 medium fresh fruit
Dinner (aim for a light and light dinner the night before the race) 1 whole wheat pita stuffed with 2 ounces of lean deli meat, ½ cup of chopped lettuce, 2 slices of tomato, 2 tablespoons honey mustard fat-free 2 oz. pretzels 1 cup unsweetened applesauce 16 oz sports drink
Approximate Nutrient Analysis (based on USDA Nutrient Analysis Library values) 3. 100 calories 570 grams of carbohydrates (73% total calories) 90 grams of protein (11% of total calories) 55 grams of fat (16% of total calories)