Reasons I run:
1. It feels good.
2. I can eat a lot more food, including my absolute favorite carbs!
Carb-loading fuels your body to perform for those grueling 2-6 hours while running a half or full marathon. You are pushing your body to the limit, so you need to fuel it right. The scientifically backed idea of carb-loading is frequently a runner’s dream. Carbs usually agree with us, are cheap, easy to make, and super accessible. We rarely hear someone say, “I just didn’t have time/money/the desire to carb-load.” Here are some ways you can use carb-loading to your maximum benefit!
Juicy hamburgers, gluttonous steaks, and chili cheese fries turn into a big bloated greaseball in our stomachs. If you can pump out a run after eating that, you have quite the willpower. Focusing on simple foods, such as those suggested in the BRAT (bananas, rice, applesauce/apples, toast) diet, when one is nauseous is a great technique to ensure that there won’t be any extra gases or excrement sneak out during a run. These are simple carbs that your body can easily digest the sugar it needs.
Eat a handful of pita or tortilla chips, and you will most likely be reaching for something to drink. The extra carbs you ingest during carb-loading help to absorb water and keep your body hydrated. This comes with the caveat that you may be more likely to feel bloated. Carbs turn into glycogen (that fuels our bodies during exercise), and each ounce of glycogen stores 3 ounces of water. Don’t sweat it (pun intended), this is the fuel and hydration your body needs.
The Scientific Equation
Start your carb-loading sessions during training, so you know what works best for your body on your big day. Most sources recommend carb-loading 2-3 days before a long run. You are looking to increase your carbohydrate intake to about 70-85 percent of your daily caloric intake. This divides down to about 4 grams of carbs for every pound of body weight. An example weight commonly used is a 150-lb. Person, who would need 600 grams or about 2,400 calories in carbs alone. Add in about 0.6 grams of protein per pound of body weight (150-lb. body weight=90 grams of protein=about 360 calories). You are now eating about 2800 calories (this is a light figure!).
(Source: wheatfoods.org, mayoclinic.org)