Carb Loading For A Marathon Run?

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Carb Loading For A Marathon Run?

by Shirley
(New Zealand)

Shirley's Question

Hi there!

I am interested in going 100% raw, but, like you, I train for a marathons.

I never eat bread etc, but when it comes to carbo-loading, it's really the only time I will. I don't really want to though! I know there are alternatives but I'm a bit hesitant to try them out, just in case they affect my performance. I was wondering how you remedy carbo-loading and a raw food lifestyle before races?

Andrew's Answer:

Hi Shirley

Several studies have really made the concept of carb loading through starches (complex carbs) questionable in the eyes of science. In professional athletic circles, it's not held in as high esteem in as it was several decades ago.

Starches are promoted for athletes because of their supposed slow release of energy, but when we actually watch their digestion, we find they take considerable time and energy to digest, and when they hit the blood stream, their entire load of fuel becomes available over a relatively short period of time.

When digestion is complete - say, by 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. -people often complain of a lull in their energy levels and go looking for a stimulant or snack. This is the complex carbs calling it quits.

A better choice is the simple sugars in fruit, and I've never been more energetic on a run than when I'm being fueled by them.

All the calories we consume - fat, complex carbs, etc - have to be converted into simple sugars to be used by the body, so why not go ahead and take them in up front?

Athletes need an quick release of energy, and simple sugars give us this.

Regardless of the fuel you use, it takes roughly two hours of operating at 80% V02 max to use up your available muscle glycogen.

At about this time your body will start feeding off your blood sugar. Within an hour or so, if you haven't replenished your supply of simple sugars you're going to start flagging badly.

What do you do? Simple sugars once again. Fruit will quickly recharge your blood sugar levels.

I suggest you don't try to do something crazy and new on the day of the marathon. Instead, now that you're training, try running your body off a low-fat diet of fruit.

I've found the Raw foodists who contact me about not exceling in athletics are universally doing one of two things:

1) They eat way too much fat.
2) They're not eating nearly enough fruit.

Both can ruin your athletic performance.

For more info on a healthy diet, read this article.

For info on why it's best to keep your fat intake low, read this.

Good luck on race day,


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