You are a runner. You wear your favorite running shoes, pound the pavement, and breeze past people. Music, gel packs, hydration belt, keys – you have all of the essentials. But did you remember to eat your carbs to accelerate your running workout? Yes, carbohydrates have gotten a considerable amount of criticism over the years for causing weight gain, yet they can be beneficial for a long distance runner. Beginning a regimen of”carb-loading” is not just about eating large amounts of carbohydrates to run longer distances more efficiently. It is about knowing when and what to eat. Here are my tips on carbohydrates.
Carbs fuel your run!
High carbohydrates, especially glucose, keep your body functioning during a marathon. Glucose is converted into vital energy that helps fuel moving muscles – the quicker and more you run, the more sugar you use up! Here are some key things to Consider glucose:
Glucose is required for one to optimally burn fat throughout your run. During long runs, fat is the other crucial nutrient that turns to fuel. However, your body will only utilize fat once the glucose is depleted. Your intensity starts to slow because its takes your body longer to convert fat.
Glucose levels are tracked through your brain constantly, so the brain detects if the glucose level drops in the blood resulting in needless muscle fatigue. Having enough glucose in your system may keep you from hitting the dreaded”wall”
You have a limitless ability to store fat but not sugar. Your body stores glucose in the liver and in your muscles as glycogen. Also your body can only store enough glycogen for around 90 minutes of strenuous exercise, which explains why seasoned runners believe in”carb-loading” prior to a marathon or half marathon.
“Carb loading” the right way.
When consuming carbohydrate meals before a race, you want your muscles and liver to store the maximum quantity of glycogen to stop poorly fueled muscles. This is only necessary if you’re doing endurance race events. You will discover some weight gain. This is good because it indicates that you’ve fueled up properly and it will help keep you from becoming dehydrated during your run. You should eliminate the 2-3 pounds in just a day or 2. However, if you’re carb-loading each day, you will observe unwanted tightness in your running shorts. To get the most from carb-loading:
Increase your carbs 1 to 3 days prior to a long run. . Most runners load at dinner the night before a big race event. Instead, you might want to eat most of your carbs for breakfast or lunch the day before the event. This earlier meal allows more time for the food to move through your system.
It’s recommended that runners need to eat 4-10 grams of carbs for every pound of body weight (for a 150 pound runner that has 600 g, or 2,400 calories, of carbs each day). Endurance or ultra-marathon athletes consume around 10 grams for every pound of body fat. Reduce the fats and increase the carbohydrates to 85 to 95 percent of those meals before the race.
Prevent anything you aren’t used to eating before longer runs. Limit high-fat foods like butter, creamy sauces, cheese, ice cream, and reduce your protein consumption. Both nutrients will take longer to digest and fill you up faster.
Carbs are crucial before, during, and after a run.
Taking in carbs during a run slows down the pace at which you use your stored glycogen and helps keep you going longer, and that’s why there are sports drinks and gels at channels at long race events. What’s more, when you eat protein and carbohydrates post-run, you set up your body to ideally restock glycogen stores for the next workout and help rebuild muscles. A Few things to remember when fueling your body:
30 minutes prior to running, have a very simple carb snack like a bagel, a banana, dried fruit, applesauce, or sports beans.
During intense training, try to drink 8 ounces of a sports drink or eat 1 to 2 sports gels with water each 45 to 60 minutes.
Within 30 to 60 minutes after your workout, have a snack or food that includes protein and carbohydrates.
By correctly fueling yourself before, during, and after a run, you can smile at the many miles. What carbs do you like? Share your thoughts in the comments below.