Tara Gidus


Two weeks ago, I shared some of the science and history on how carbo-loading has become such a prominent part of endurance running, and this week I want to share some tips on how to properly carbo-load for race day!

Today more people than ever are participating in endurance events, and carbo-loading has regained serious popularity, hence the pre-race pasta dinner! But times have also changed with the new research that shows it’s not necessary to undergo the super intense depletion phase, but rather resting a few days before your event while maintaining a high carb diet is what allows the muscles to soak up the glycogen.

Tips to Carboloading

  • Begin early! Start carbo-loading 3-4 days before the race.
  • REST! This is essential to encourage glycogen to accumulate in muscles.  Less is more the days prior to a big race.
  • Opt for marinara. Make sure pre-race pasta it’s not loaded down with fat like butter, oil, or Alfredo. Since fat takes longer to digest it can leave you feeling sluggish in the morning.
  • Branch out.  Pasta isn’t the only carb on the planet.  Bread, rice, potatoes, tortillas, fruits, veggies….these are all excellent carbohydrate-rich foods you could opt for in your carbo-loading plan.
  • Along with carbs comes water. Water is stored with glycogen in the muscle, do don’t fret if you are a few pounds heavier with carbo-loading.  No worries--it’s only temporary weight gain and will be off after your race when your glycogen is used for racing.
  • Low fiber. The night before the race, choose easy to digest carbs that are lower in fiber. It’s okay to go for the regular pasta noodles instead of whole grains.
  • Don’t overeat! You don’t want to feel stuffed from last night’s dinner on race morning. 

Comments or questions? Tweet me @DietDivaTara

Known as the "Diet Diva," Tara Gidus is a nationally acclaimed nutrition expert and the official nutritionist of runDisney.