Carb Loading for the Marathoner

Runner

I have a client that is getting ready for a marathon, and today she asked me, “What’s the best way to keep providing energy to my body during my race?” And after I explained it to her I figured everyone else should have an idea of what to do during their long endurance sessions also.

Almost every runner knows about carb loading before a race but what every runner doesn’t know is the carb loading process and how to go about it. Just to hit a couple key points:

Your glycogen stores are depleted during any activity that last longer than 60-90 minutes. When that happens your performance is limited during that endurance exercise.

With exercise lasting longer than an hour you want to replenish your carbs during exercise to help keep up glycogen levels as they are being depleted. This also maintains healthy blood glucose levels increasing your time to exhaustion anywhere from 20-60 minutes. You do this by consuming 30-60 grams of carbs every hour during endurance events. Any of your high sugar sports drinks like Gatorade will work and those will also help with fluid retention and hydration!

So back to carb loading for the big event.=! You’ll want to start your carb load at least 6 days out from the race or endurance event. The way it looks is as follows:

6 days out
90 mins of endurance training
Carb intake-4g/kg of body weight

4-5 days out
40 mins of endurance training
Carb intake-4g/kg of body weight

2-3 days out
20 mins of endurance training
Carb intake-10g/kg of body weight

1 day out
Rest
Carb intake-10g/kg of body weight

You’re carbs for that day don’t have to be consumed all in one sitting. Divide them out across 3-6 meals a day. After that marathon or whatever endurance activity you have endured consume 1.5g/kg of carbs within in 30 minutes to replenish glycogen.

Leave your thoughts, comments, questions!

Stay Fit. Stay Healthy.

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