On November 2, 2014 at 7 A.M. over 3,000 participants will take off running at the Marshall University-St. Mary’s Marathon and Half Marathon! This year is kicks off the 11th year of the marathon and there a multiple reasons why thousands have decided to take on this incredible challenge. Did you know this is the largest marathon in West Virginia? Did you know donations can be made to the Wounded Warrior Project as well as awards? Many have prepared tirelessly for months and months to make this event a success. I want to commend all of those who have worked to make this event possible and those who are participating.
To prepare for a marathon is no easy task. Many have conditioned for months and years to be able to physically endure the course they will run. Participants have prepared for the marathon by running, stretching and core conditioning in order to achieve optimal performance during the race. While many have taken physical activity as a measure to reach high performance levels, a lot will also take their diets into consideration during the final hours before the main event. Some will partake in glycogen loading, also known as carb loading. This is a hot topic that many runners are familiar with.
What is carb loading and why do runners do this? Let us first start off with what carbohydrates are and how carb loading works. Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy and are converted to sugar in the body. When carbs turn into sugar, the sugar is allowed to be stored in the liver and muscles as glycogen; hence “glycogen loading.” The thought behind carb loading can be broken down like this…more carbs=more sugar=more glycogen= more energy for running!
Carb loading could be considered a type of diet for runners. If you are a person that works out and runs for 30 minutes or so, you would not really need to worry about your glycogen stores. This type of diet is for athletes that are performing for more than 90 minutes. So what is the correct way to carb load? Carb loading is a little complex. I have heard many times from people to eat a bowl of spaghetti the night before, but it is not as simple as that. Carb loading should begin about a week before the big event. Typically in a normal diet, 45-65% of the diet is carbohydrates. In carb loading it is suggested that about 50-55% of your diet be carbohydrates a week prior to the race and then increase to about 70% 3-4 days before the race. It is also suggested to reduce your workouts 3-4 days before the race and to not workout at all the day before the main event. This is the overall outlook of what carb loading is.
It is important to stay hydrated and to keep your body fueled during distance sports. Breakfast is also a vital component to maintaining energy. Typically I suggest eating whole grains, however on race day, these are not your friends! On the day of the big event, avoid whole grain products. Otherwise you might be running to the restroom instead of running the race. Other good sources of fuel during the race can be chia seed bars, sport beans, Powerbars, honey packs, Gatorade, and gel packs.
Whether you are running the full marathon or the half marathon, give yourself a huge pat on the back! In your final days of preparation remember to eat nutrient dense foods and be gentle on your body. On the big day, keep in mind the importance of staying hydrated and fueling your body during the race. To all, good luck and congratulations on completing the 11th Annual Marshall University- St. Mary’s Marathon and Half Marathon!!! For more information please visit http://marshalluniversitymarathon.com/
How do you stay fueled during a race?