Carb Loading

13 messages
04/03/2009 at 10:18

Howdy

I've just started to run 2 of my five runs a week over 15 miles and a friend has said carb loading is the way to go ?

Two things:

Why ? what does it help ?

and

what should I eat and when ?

 Thanks in advance guys

04/03/2009 at 11:09
carb loading is not really worth it at those distances if you have a healthy balanced diet which is a good mix of protein and carbohydrates (rice, pasta, spuds etc)

carb loading is an idea that to an extent has gone out of fashion as hardly being worthwhile if your diet is good. the concept is that by taking in more carbs than normal, you load your muscles and liver with glycogen which is your main energy source when running. the problem is that these organs can only take up so much glycogen at any one time and to improve this you need to load progressively rather than in one hit. and often the more carbs you take in, the more passes through without being digested!

so a healthy diet with a good mix of carbs is the way forward

for runs over 15 miles it will be worth taking some protein and carbs quickly after finishing usually within 40 mins - recovery drinks, sandwiches, normal food etc - as the body will replenish the glycogen quicker when stressed
04/03/2009 at 12:27

Hi

I am interested in this, as running my first marathon in April, and not sure how to approach it, food wise.  Is it best to eat normally, with just a few more carbs in the couple of days before?  I have been told that 2 days before is the day to eat the most stuff, and to avoid any embarrassing ahem, mishaps on the day, shall we say!

Has anyone got any opinions, or shall I just eat as normal? (well, as normal as is for me!)

Thanks

04/03/2009 at 13:06
LOL...I'm no veggie...will get myself a nice big steak I think!
04/03/2009 at 13:06
...Thanks for the tips...will remember the ice cream one too!
04/03/2009 at 13:21
Hey, whatever gets you through!
04/03/2009 at 13:27
fat buddha wrote (see)
you load your muscles and liver with glycogen which is your main energy source when running.

Agree that a normal diet should mean that glycogen levels are alraedy topped up and therefore carb-loading is probably pointless. However, I thought that fat should be your main energy source when running, especially an an endurance race ... you need to use some of your glycogen stocks to help to burn the fat. By training your body to burn fat rather than glycogen (by lost of low intensity base training) you gain endurance and avoid glycogen depletion.

04/03/2009 at 13:57

Chips?  Every day?  I wish!!!

nah, I try and be good most of the time, though I did have chips AND noodles last night.  Extra hills for me tonight!

Cheers

04/03/2009 at 13:59
"By training your body to burn fat rather than glycogen (by lost of low intensity base training) you gain endurance and avoid glycogen depletion"

there's an interesting article in this month's 220 triathlon mag about training when you are low on glycogen one week in 4. although you should'nt try to work at the intensity of a normal week, by doing this you apparently become more efficient at burning fat which helps in endurance races like marathon, Ironman etc. Chrissie Wellington, world IM champion uses this method. the reasons behind this are a little unknown and more research is being carried out.

it also seems that the top marathon runners are also now running whilst slightly under-hydrated and this also seems to give better performance but that's something that could be dangerous for a nromal runner to try given their running efficiency
04/03/2009 at 14:26
Cake wrote (see)

 Your metabolic rate which does the hard work in that, is linked to your fitness, so that is true but loading carbs does help alot. It's why some people use gels at races avoid the wall. i.e. no fuel left in the tank and you fell like you've ran into one.

But as FB said, once your glycogen stores are full, what will more carbs achieve? They will just be stored as fat.

If you burn fat with a little glycogen ... instead of just glycogen ... then you should avoid "the wall" (glycogen depletion). You don't run out of fat but you do run out of glycogen ... and apparantly when you have no glycogen, you can't use your fat supplies.

One thing I've wondered about is whether taking a gel during a race just leads to a short term increase in blood glucose ... or whetehr there time for it to actually get re-stored as glycogen?

fat buddha wrote (see)
in this month's 220 triathlon mag about training when you are low on glycogen one week in 4. although you should'nt try to work at the intensity of a normal week, by doing this you apparently become more efficient at burning fat which helps in endurance races like marathon, Ironman etc.

Interesting - not heard of that before. Running at <70% working heart rate is supposed to improve fat-burning ability according to Parker's HMT book.

Edited: 04/03/2009 at 14:27
04/03/2009 at 14:49
the low glycogen week is interesting as a variant on low intensity training - I only skimmed the article briefly so must have a full read sometime. it maybe you do the other 3 weeks at higher intensity to kick the fat burning into higher action - I'll read and post back

as for gels to glycogen - probably not. you'll use what's in the gel almost immediately.

"You don't run out of fat but you do run out of glycogen ... and apparantly when you have no glycogen, you can't use your fat supplies"

well yes and no -you can use your fat supplies to work with if there is no glycogen but it's not an efficient energy producing process by comparison so no way can you work at the same intensity as with glycogen as you just can't produce enough enrgy. you slow down dramatically on just fat so the gels provide you with that boost to make up the difference.

04/03/2009 at 15:03

Be careful Cake, once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny.

fat buddha wrote (see)

well yes and no -you can use your fat supplies to work with if there is no glycogen but it's not an efficient energy producing process by comparison so no way can you work at the same intensity as with glycogen as you just can't produce enough enrgy. you slow down dramatically on just fat so the gels provide you with that boost to make up the difference.

no glycogen left = "the wall" - right?

04/03/2009 at 15:13
yep - so you need the gels before you hit it..........a good indicator is HR suddenly going all over the place. that happened to me at IM Florida - as I started to slow on the run I noticed my HR had plummeted so whacked a caffeine gel down, made the aid station and loaded with some Gatorade and coke and bingo - the legs started working again..........

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