Carb Loading Plan For A Marathon

Carb loading plan for a marathon

This past May was the first time I’ve ever done proper carb loading before a race. I’ve always tried to eat more carbs in the days leading up to a race but I never had an actual plan to follow. This year, I figured if I was going to take 50 minutes off of last year’s marathon time I had to do it right. This year I would come up with a carb loading plan.

Using the Running Endurance Calculator, I figured out that I needed to consume approx. 580-600g of carbs per day beginning Thursday morning and ending Saturday evening. Marathon (Sunday) morning would be my usual pre-race meal. My plan was laid out a week ahead of time because a large grocery trip was required.Be prepared to spend a lot of time looking at food labels.

Now that it’s over, I can honestly say that I didn’t particularly enjoy it. It’s a lot of food if you’re not used to it (which I’m not), and I found myself feeling uncomfortably full all day long. However, during the marathon I did feel like I had more energy than usual – at least for the first 30k – so I guess it was worth it in the end.

Below is the carb loading food log that I kept in the days leading up to the 2013 Toronto Marathon. I hope it gives you some ideas and helps you to create your own carb loading plan.

Carb Loading – Day 1 – Thursday

Breakfast

1 Cup Nature’s Path pumpkin flax granola w/Almond milk
1 Banana
2 Halves toasted whole wheat english muffin w/Strawberry jam
8oz Orange Juice
2 Cups Coffee

Morning Snack

16oz Nutri-blast (spinach, pineapple, apple, mango, blueberry, sesame seeds, almonds, water)
1 Nature Valley granola bar

Lunch

1 Clubhouse sandwich on whole wheat toast w/fries
8oz Diet Pepsi

Afternoon Snack

8oz Cranberry juice
1 Clif bar

Dinner

Stir fry noodles w/chicken and mixed vegetables
1 Pint beer (no alcohol 48hrs before race)

After Dinner Snack

1 SunRype fruit bar
1 Cup fruit salad

Day 2 – Friday

Breakfast

1/2 Cup Nature’s Path pumpkin flax granola w/Almond milk
1 Banana
1/2 Cup steel cut oats with raisins
8oz Orange Juice
2 Cups Coffee

Morning Snack

8oz Cranberry juice
1 Nature Valley granola bar
1 Cup fruit salad

Lunch

Leftover stir fry noodles w/chicken and mixed vegetables
8oz Chocolate milk

Afternoon Snack

8oz Apple juice
1 Clif Bar

Dinner

Tortellini w/mixed green salad & 2 pieces garlic toast
8oz Chocolate Milk

After Dinner Snack

1 SunRype Fruit bar
1 Small package of Teddy Grahams

Day 3 – Saturday

Breakfast

8oz Water
2 pieces french toast
16oz Nutri-blast (spinach, pineapple, apple, mango, blueberry, sesame seeds, almonds)
8oz Chocolate milk
Espresso

Morning Snack

Race expo samples (PowerBar, coconut water, Milk2Go energy)

Lunch

2 Medium chicken wraps w/lettuce, tomato, cucumber & mayo
16oz Apple juice

Afternoon Snack

8oz Cranberry juice
Guacamole and tortilla chips

Dinner

Garlic shrimp on couscous w/mixed green salad
8oz Sparkling water

Evening Snack

8oz Chocolate milk
1 Piece leftover french toast w/Nutella

Race Morning – Sunday

2 halves toasted sesame bagel w/peanut butter
1 Banana
8oz Water
Espresso

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