Carb load pre-race?

This doesn’t look like something that will help you run a better race, does it?

I am running the 5 miler at the Cherry Creek Sneak next weekend. Anyone who has ran in any race, much less the few I run every year, knows how much email spam these things generate. Yesterday I got an email from the Cherry Creek Sneak that said this:

Eating to win.
Let Maggiano’s Little Italy, Downtown Denver Pavilions help you get ready for the Cherry Creek Sneak. The “carb-load” pre-race dinner is a runners dream with a selection of homemade salads, our most popular pasta dishes and a “CREATE YOUR OWN PASTA BAR.” Dinner menu all inclusive of all food including tax and tip for only $24.95/person. All the tasty details are here.

This made me immediately think of a few things…

  1. Do you really need to carb load for a 5k? Or even a 10 mile run? OK, maybe 10 miles, but most of the folks running a 10 mile race shouldn’t need to either, they have 10 miles easy and probably run longer distances quite often.
  2. More importantly: advocating pasta as your best source, or even a good source of carbohydrates is old news and bad news. Hey, I got an idea! Let’s go load up on overly processed sugar and cheese the night before running a race! Sounds like a gut bomb and the cause for some serious porta-potty hunting before the race.

If you want to load up on carbs before a race why not just eat some sweet potatoes? If you like spaghetti so much, get a spaghetti squash and some good, organic sauce with no junk added in and cook up some meat and, TA-DA! you have a much healthier version of spaghetti and the squash will give you plenty of carbohydrates.

In all reality, your body can handle 60-90 minutes of running without any additional fuel. You don’t need to pre-load fuel to exercise for 60 minutes. Unless you are on some sort of seriously restrictive diet, and if you are you should get off of it anyway, especially before running.

Here is the menu for this pre-race dinner:

  • Italian Tossed Salad and Caesar Salad

  • Rigatoni D, Penne with Meat Sauce and Bowtie Aglio

  • A giant selection of cookies and fruit

  • PLUS – A Chef prepared “Create Your Own Pasta Bar” with over 30 fresh ingredients

  • Vegetarian and Gluten Free options available

  • A great selection of sodas, teas, juices, and other non-alcoholic beverages. All drinks will be cash bar

  • Full bar with tons of delicious beer and wine available for purchase. All drinks will be cash bar

I applaud them for offering gluten free options and wonder if it is gluten free pasta. Finally, I wonder if they have an ingredient list of what is in that gluten free pasta. Paleo bread, Paleo cookies, Paleo pasta and all of that stuff to help fill the void in the foods you are missing in your diet are probably filled with stuff worse for you than if you just ate the regular food item. But why cookies? Sugar loading, too? Or along with that over processed sugar disguised as pasta are they giving you unveiled sugar to help you not sleep the night before a run?

Here’s what I am doing the day before the run: I am participating in Barbells for Boobs. I am not going to do all six of the WODs, but I am doing the first four and eating plenty of sweet potatoes and chicken.

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