Thursday, October 3, 2013

Carbo-loading and Burrito Bowl Recipe

The Chicago Marathon is next weekend...which means I'm starting to carbo-load! Runners traditionally think of carbo-loading as a large plate of pasta the night before the race. But really, you should be eating slightly more carbs than normal the 1-2 weeks leading up to an endurance race. This does not mean over-indulging on multiple pieces of lasagna every night. Simply, add slightly more carbs to each meal than you would normally eat. Now, if you've been training for the marathon, than your diet should already have a lot of carbs to sustain the amount of training and long runs. So, you really don't need to add that much to your diet. 

The main difference for me has been adding more carbs to my lunches. I usually have a salad for lunch and don't include rice or bread. For the past week, I've been making an effort to add more carbs to my lunch and making sure I eat some at dinner too. In other words, the 1-2 weeks before the race is not the time to go on a diet or watch your caloric intake. Think of it as eating 10% more than your daily calorie needs in order to stock up for race day. Again, don't go overboard!

In addition, there are plenty of other carbs out there besides pasta. I prefer white rice because it is easy to digest and goes with anything. Other foods that will help you store glycogen include sweet potatoes, fruits, oatmeal, and maple syrup or agave nectar. If you're on the Paleo diet, don't be afraid to eat some white rice, even my crossfit coach says it's ok!

The 2-3 days before the race should be the heaviest on carbs. Don't necessarily each more than usual, just replace things you would usually eat (like protein) with carbs. Also, do not eat a huge meal the night before the race because you will be unable to sleep from digestion issues and will feel sluggish in the morning. It's best to eat your heaviest carbo-loading meal in the early afternoon before race day to give you plenty of time to digest. Then, eat a smaller meal, like leftovers from the big meal, around dinner time. You want to wake up feeling hungry so you can eat your breakfast and head to the race!

Recipe: Vegan Burrito Bowl

Cooked white rice
Black beans
Romaine lettuce
Fresh tomato salsa
Guacamole or chopped avocado
Chopped red pepper
Lime juice
Chopped jalapenos (optional)
Hot sauce (optional)

Use all ingredients to your own taste. 
Add everything in a bowl and mix! 
This burrito bowl is an easy and healthy way to carbo-load!

P.S. Don't forget about hydration! Make sure you're drinking enough water the week before the race. Slightly more than your recommended daily value but again, don't overdo it. Drinking something with electrolytes, like coconut water, is a good idea too.

How do you carbo-load before race day?

Don't forget to enter the Vega One Starter Kit GIVEAWAY!!

Also check out my chia energy gel recipe for race day.


  1. I'm trying to follow my books outline, 70% of diet needs to be carbs, complex carbs and starches. Remember, every gram of carb is stored with 3 grams of water, so you will gain some weight. The day before- Drink healthy beverages with every meals and snack, not just water. Avoid foods that cause gas or GI disruption, avoid high fiber foods, avoid sugar substitutes, limit booze, and have a healthy bedtime snack!

    Now let's see how good I follow this...
    Happy Friday!

  2. That's all great advice! And yes, gaining weight is normal.

  3. Sonia the MexigarianOctober 4, 2013 at 11:03 AM

    really good advice :) i have been allowing myself to submit to cravings of what my body desires, in the most healthy way possible (okay finishing the ice cream wasn't too healthy, but my mind liked it). I've been taking cues from my cravings realizing what I need to have more in my diet as I train and how I prepare for races.

  4. Submitting to cravings can be dangerous...I ate a whole box of double stuffed blonde Oreos last week, oops!


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