When an event lasts longer than an hour and a half to two hours, the concept of carb-loading becomes very important. For shorter events, the carbohydrate store is sufficient to provide the body with the appropriate, good energy for the duration of the exercise.
In the run-up to the event, however, training is scaled back and the quantities of carbohydrates are increased for three days prior to the competition, from 10 to 12g per kilogram of bodyweight.
During these days, the aim is to build up a stock of energy in order to combat and delay the onset of tiredness during the event.
Your body will store these carbohydrates in the liver and muscles and will burn them when you are exerting yourself. The idea is to retain this stock until the end of the event, and initially use up the food and drink you consume during the event.
- Plan regular carb-heavy snacks
- Choose concentrated sugar sources such as sports drinks, fruit juice and or even squash. It shouldn’t involve kilos of pasta.
- Eat as little fat as possible
Carb-loading will cause you to put on around 2kg. This is due to each gram of carbohydrate retaining a little moisture. This rapid weight gain is not permanent and will be reversed when the event has led to the reserves being used up. The weight gain may surprise athletes but there’s no need to worry. It is actually a sign that your carb-loading is a success.