Should I Carbo-Load Before a Long Run?
Over the years, lots of runners have been told to carbo-load the day before a long run. Carbo-loading is supposed to help runners save up as much glycogen in their muscles as possible. This can be rather helpful for a runner running long distances. After all, glycogen is the body’s preferred source of energy.
Although, no one can deny the fact that carbohydrates are needed for running, not everyone can agree with the practice of carbo-loading. Consuming too much food the day prior to running a long run might actually cause more harm than good. Having too much food in the belly can prevent the runner from getting a good night sleep, and that translates to the runner being tired on the morning of the long run. Also, the extra food in the runner’s digestive system might be cause for an upset stomach during the long run.
So does that mean runners should not carbo-load? The answer is both yes and no. Runners shouldn’t load-up on carbohydrates the day before a long run. Instead, they should carbo-load two days prior. Another option for runners hoping to maximize glycogen storage is to increase the amount of carbohydrate in their diet in the days leading up to the long run. That means instead of loading up on carbohydrates on one single day, the runner would spread out the extra carbohydrates over a period of several days. Doing so will allow runners to maximize energy storage without suffering the negative consequences of overeating.