The DOS and DON’TS of Carbo-Loading
Today’s post comes to us from Rock ‘n’ Blog member Nicole, author of NicolevanZanten.com. A native to Vancouver, BC Nicole finds peace and balance in her training, no matter how hard the run. Read her bio here!
Long-distance runner or not, you’ve likely heard of the act known as ‘carbo-loading’. Increasing carbs while decreasing mileage in the days leading up to race day is a common practice for those of us who hit the marathon pavement. As carbs are an essential fuel source to sustain us on those long runs, increasing our intake of carbohydrate-rich foods (think pasta, rice, cereals) before a race helps prepare us to cross that finish line with a smile.
Below are the essential DOS and DON’TS while carbo-loading and planning your nutritional intake for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Oasis Vancouver Half Marathon and Cunningham Seawall 10K.
DO plan ahead. If Vancouver is a destination race for you, it’s never too early to make reservations for your pre-race dinner meal. There is no shortage of great Italian restaurants in this city. Head up to Commercial Drive for some authentic dishes, and ensure that the meal you select is simple with natural ingredients. My go-to meal before a race is whole wheat spaghetti with tomato sauce.
DON’T order a meal you haven’t consumed before. Avoid channeling your inner Jamie Oliver by whipping-up something new in the kitchen. Regardless of how many races you’ve participated in, your nerves are likely kicked into high-gear prior to race day. Stick with something familiar.
DO monitor your nutritional intake 2-3 days leading up to a race. Ensure you are consuming breakfast, lunch and dinner that fall in-line with the calorie intake that is appropriate for your body.
DON’T over-indulge. Carbo-loading doesn’t mean you can eat everything in-sight.
DO hydrate with familiar beverages. Coconut water (no-pulp) is a favourite of mine. Carry a water bottle with you and drink like it’s going out of style, especially if you are visiting Vancouver and exploring our beautiful city.
DON’T drink alcohol in the 2-3 days leading up to the race. Alcohol puts undue stress on your liver – something you don’t need before race day.
DO prepare your pre-race breakfast in advance. When running a destination race, I have a banana, oatmeal and water set on the night table before I fall asleep. Make your race morning as easy as possible.
DON’T eat quick-fix foods, such as processed snacks and fast breakfasts. Saturated fat and salt are a sure-way to decrease your energy – and they won’t satisfy your hunger in the long-run.
Most of all? DO have fun! The Rock ‘n’ Roll Oasis Vancouver Half Marathon and Cunningham Seawall 10K is one that our city won’t forget, and one that I’m very excited to participate in. Keep on training – and don’t forget these nutritional DOS and DON’TS.
Enjoy your pasta, everyone.