Marathoners Need Carbohydrates

Marathoners don't think carbohydrates are evil---they need large amounts of carbs during training, before events and even some carbs during the grueling event...

Yesterday, I talked about my friend Janet who is running in the Boston Marathon on Monday. Marathoners and triathletes run the risk of not eating enough and actually losing too much weight!

If you are training for a marathon primarily to lose weight, you need to be careful to eat enough to maintain energy and a healthy body. Eating enough carbs is a big part of your nutrition. It is possible to have a toned body and regularly run in marathons. So, focus on health and not weight loss.

Some runners use carbohydrate loading to help performance. Carbohydrate loading can remedy the problem of running out of energy (glycogen) during the marathon. You should start loading carbohydrates the week before the marathon. To make room for carbohydrate loading, you need to first deplete your carbohydrate stores. You do this by increasing daily protein and fat intake to make up for the decrease in carbohydrate intake (decrease carbs to 40%-50% of total calories). You will continue to do your normal training routine.

About 4 days before the marathon, you should increase carbohydrate intake to about 4.5 grams of carbs per pound of body weight. Avoid foods high in fat and taper off on your training to avoid depleting your glycogen stores. You should not train a day or two before the event.

Get your doctor's clearance before beginning a carbohydrate loading program.

Follow Janet's progress in Monday's Boston Marathon on Her Fitness Hut!

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Mark Dilworth, BA, PES
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About Mark


Mark Dilworth is a Lifestyle and Weight Management Specialist and since 2006 he has owned Your Fitness University, Her Fitness Hut, My Fitness Hut, Sports Fitness Hut.

Mark has helped thousands of clients and readers make lifestyle changes that lead to better long-term health, which includes acceptable body fat and ideal body weight.He does not recommend fad diets, quick weight loss gimmicks, starvation diets, weight loss pills, fat burner supplements and the like.