Carbo Loading

Unfortunately it doesn't involve drinking beer.

The Australian Institute of Sport provides a fact sheet that summarises the current scientific view and gives some useable examples. This is very similar to how I am approaching. The sample menu is almost identical to my three days of the loading phase. However, there are a few slight differences.

The fact sheet states that a depletion phase is not necessary. All that is required is a reduction in training and a high carbohydrate diet for 3-4 days prior to race day. It doesn't take into account that my training has been reduced for 10 days. There is a difference between simply increasing muscle glycogen stores above normal levels and maximising these stores. I would prefer to have 200mmol/kg ww of stored muscle glycogen, instead of 150mmol/kg ww. Both values are above normal values, but it could mean the difference of performing 3% better instead of 2% better on race day. I'd like to attempt to achieve that benefit.

As a result there are a couple of strategies, which have some, but not absolute evidence they can be beneficial.

Depletion

Recovery from a mild carbohydrate depleted state may allow for that little bit extra of supercompensation. Therefore, today (Tuesday) I have performance a 60min run, with 30min at or slightly above my anaerobic threshold, after an over night fast. This should have caused more reliance on muscle glycogen stores and as a result depleted them somewhat. Then diet-wise I am following a reduced carbohydrate meal plan. With a mild increase in protein, but an overall caloric reduction, I am feeling a bit hungry. Definitely from the feeling of death warmed up, as was common under the more extreme depletion regimens of past.

Exercise

It is well accepted that within 30-90min post exercise, the body better stores ingested carbohydrate as glycogen in the muscles. Further, eating every 30min for another 2hrs may improve storage. I will take advantage of this by ensuring I eat to these guidelines during the 3 days of loading.

Once or Twice Only

A small number of researchers have suggested that the body can nly reach maximal carbohydrate supercompensation levels once or twice a year. Repeatedly trying to carbohydrate load a couple of time per month may reduce the maximum possible. Therefore I have reserved the week's protocol for the marathon only.


EXPECTATIONS

I expect to start Thursday at 62kg and by race morning be sitting at 64-65kg due to the extra storage of water and carbohydrate. The middle day is usually a struggle to have sufficient appetite, but my hunger should skyrocket on Saturday. I expect to feel heavy and flabby on Thursday and Friday, but due to the loading and taper will hopefully look and feel race ready. Previous races there seems to be a switch that flicks over where my muscles appear full, yet I feel lean.

Comments

  1. Good luck on the sub 3 and your continue global marathon domination! Looking for even splits 89 + 89. Will be watching out for results. Cheers!

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  2. I have removed it a question

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