Carbo Loading Without Exploding

What do you eat to compete? Plenty has been written on the technique of carbo loading, but this is no one-size-fits-all science.

If you’re racing shorter distances (5Ks or 10Ks) you don’t need to make any changes to your carb intake in preparation for race day. Your daily diet will provide adequate carb-related fuel to help you complete the distance. If you indulge in a pasta party or feel compelled to eat a vat of rice the night before your 5K, odds are you’ll feel stuffed, bloated and uncomfortable on your run.

When covering longer distances, your body will reach that “empty” point and look for energy in reserves. That said, here’s some food for thought:

The body has limited stores of carbohydrates, so more intake doesn’t always translate to more stored. If you regularly consume a diet with adequate carbohydrates, a little bit more in the days leading up to the race may work better and make you feel better too.

To do this, start with carb add ins three days before the race. An extra serving of carbs at every meal should do just fine. Eat extra cereal in the morning, drink a taller glass of juice, eat your sandwich on a bun instead of bread or have two extra spoonfuls of rice or pasta at dinner.

This will help you to supersaturate your muscle and liver glycogen stores, without making you feel too full and uncomfortable to pick up your legs on race day. – LESLIE

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