I have carbo-loaded for my last four marathon events, and have found it to be extremely beneficial each time. However, after talking to many different people in the build up to races I find that no-one seems to rate it as an important piece of preparation anymore. Has a better method come along, or do people not know enough about carbo-loading to want to do it?
All opinions invited.....
I have to admit, I don't see the first phase too much in the depletion manner - I look at it as time for the protein to assist in muscle repair, but I can see where you are coming from.
I have a number of theories about the whole thing, but I want to see what others think too.
I musat say that eating a good pasta, bread dish a good 15 ish hours before a race works great for me.
I also have found that giving my Shreddies with milk and a banana a good 2 and half hours to digest before the race works superb.
I think it is a trail and error for everyone.
If you thought that the carbo-loading -done properly of course- was to be beneficial to you and give you a better base to start the actual race with, then do you think you would try it?
Personally, I can't NOT do it now as it has become part of my routine, but most people seem to manage fairly well without it, so i can see why it is dying off, but to me, if the elite runners can still do it, then it's good enough for me....
I've only once NOT carbo-loaded for a marathon, and I had a complete 'mare ... though the failure to carbo-load was probably less important than the 14 weeks without training due to injury
Like you, Vicki, I can't imagine NOT carbo-loading, and take the glycogen-loading theory as an act of faith. I like to have my main eating-day two days before the race, and a relatively light diet (but mainly carbohydrate) the day before. Having said that, I won't turn down the opportunity for a pizza-party the night before a marathon!
I don't bother carbo-loading for shorter races but make a bit of an effort the day before 16+ mile training runs or long leg-mashing sessions out in the fells.
Fell running always sounds fun - is it? I should think that it provides a great fitness base to work from, marathon-wise.
I too will not turn down pizza the night before a race, but I still mix it with some spag bol. It always surprises me how dedicated I am toward the process, and how I just 'snap' right into the 2 different phases that i use - separating protein days from carb days. And as everyone tells me - you are only an average runner - why do you do it? I do it because I firmly believe it stops me from hitting the wall.
Fell-running is for harder nutcases than me. I'm just a hillwalker who wears Inov8s, doesn't carry those ski-stick things, and sometimes runs the easy bits. But 20 miles of Highland undulations certainly feels like a good workout
I've never tried doing a depletion phase, though the idea of living on cheese and fillet steak for a couple of days is quite appealing.
I mean in a more specific term. The way I was taught was a 10 day period - split into a depletion and a replenishment phase, with a training taper cut down to no more than 3 or 4 miles a day at a gentle pace.
When I do the maths, as I am, for want of a better phrase 'Built like a brick s@/thouse', I burn off an average of 4000kcal per race, so I find that the carbo-loading works for me because I can get more fuel into my muscles by carbo-loading, as I am never going to manage eating 4000kcal on the day of the race - either before or after the race.
Does that help?
According to the charts, I burn off well under 2,000 calories during a marathon (I'm built like a scale model of a person, and my running is so efficient that I'd probably use up more calories knitting) and suspect I'd get by quite nicely on a normal diet leading up to the race, a bite of brekky and a bottle of Lucozade Sport. For my last marathon, I didn't take anything during the race apart from a few swigs of the supplied isotonic drink, and was fine.
But that would be no fun at all
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