How do you Carb Load?

We were watching a fitness related programme on television (How to Get Fit Fast - Channel 4 in the UK) recently and the subject of carb loading came up.

Now I've heard of the term but I don't think I've really been strict about doing it. With a half marathon coming up, I started to think about it more. 

90 minutes of exercise or more

What surprised me was that it was really for exercise of 90 minutes or longer. The reason being is that the body is able to store enough fuel from carbohydrates (glycogen) for exercise around that length of time.

It also only needs to be done the day or two before your run.

That got me thinking back to recent long runs and could explain why I seem to struggle that bit more when I get to around 9 or 10 miles. Sounds like I have basically run out of energy!  

So for my next longer run, I need to think more on fuel for during the run.

So what should you eat during carb-loading?

Carbohydrates. Foods such as bread, bagels, pasta, rice, potatoes are full of carbohydrates and a good source for carb-loading.

So that sounds great, I like a toasted bagel. Love pasta and often do a stir fry with rice. Oh and a baked potato or even sweet potato. All good in my book.

But I'm thinking I would need to be careful that I don't eat too much or I would start to feel bloated and tired. So it really is about getting the balance right.

On reading an article by Nick Harris-Fry over at is to avoid high-fibre carbs as this could lead to tummy issues. Something I would like to avoid for sure!

During the run?

So if I have used up my 90 minutes of fuel, what happens after that?

Need to refuel I guess!

I landed over at an article by Kait Fortunato on, fig biscuits and pretzels is a suggestion. My only concern would be keeping the biscuits dry and not turning to mush so that I could eat them!  

I have used gels that have been available before, but I am not sure that they worked. Maybe because I left it too late to take one after I felt sluggish and not before?

So plenty to think about before my next half marathon. What about you?

What do you eat to carb load and what do you take with you on a long run?

** Neither of us are nutritionists, the above is our thoughts and not to be taken as professional advice. 

Be the first to comment

All comments are moderated before being published