Miami ING Marathon: Tips for Carb Loading
Eating concentrated carbohydrate sources, like juices, rice, and candy, will minimize the bulk you have to eat to achieve the carb-based calorie account you need to perform well. But carb loading still usually causes temporary water weight gain. Don't freak out --- again, it's just temporary, and if you're following a sensible carbohydrate loading plan, your long-burning energy stores will compensate for the small weight gain during your run.
7. Don't over-do it the night before.
Eat a moderate-sized meal the night before. Yes, a few bowls of white pasta with tomato sauce are a good, if cliche, option. Since Miami's ING starts in the wee hours of the morning, it's a good idea to finish dinner around 7 p.m. or earlier the night before so that you have plenty of time to digest; one of the worst things you can do is start your marathon with a full stomach or colon. Yuck.
8. Race day breakfast: Eat and go back to bed.
It's ideal to eat breakfast about three hours before your endurance race. Since the ING starts at about 6 a.m., you may want to wake up at 3 in the morning, eat your bagel, Clif bar, or cereal, and then go back to bed for an hour and a half.
9. Eat and drink during your run.
When you're running for hours on end, it's important to complement the energy supplied by your glycogen stores with additional easy-access fuel. If you're like me and you typically steer clear of high glycemic index foods, you'll find Gu gels and all-natural, plant-based power gels like Vega Sport's options, to be the equivalent of rocket fuel during your long-ass run. Seriously, these gels are so effective, they feel to me like cheating. The wisdom on when to take these varies; some say to slurp the goo down at mile six, 12, and 18, while others recommend doing so every hour. I think the latter advice sounds excessive. My basic plan is to take one each time I get even a hint of an energy dip.
10. Recover with nutrient-dense foods.
During your days of carb-loading, you've had to skimp on vegetables and other nutrient-dense plant foods, as well as protein. Post-race, you'll want to give your body plenty of the stuff it needs to repair the damage that is inherent to what is essentially a wasting exercise. Many sports nutritionists and scientists recommend drinking tart cherry juice because of its proven and potent anti-inflammatory properties. Dark leafy greens, berries, mushrooms, broccoli, bok choy, beets, carrots, and Brussels sprouts; teas like white, green, and oolong; and spices like ginger, turmeric, and cinnamon are among the anti-inflammatory foods recommended by Dr. Andrew Weil.
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