September 27, 2017

Carbo loading – what is it and should we be doing it?

Carbohydrate loading is very popular amongst runners and is a phrase used often. But what does it mean and why do we do it? And actually should we be doing it at all?

Carbohydrate loading is an important part of long distance training

During exercise we use the glycogen stores in our muscles. During endurance training, i.e. marathons and exercise over 90 minutes, we deplete these stores so we need to optimise the stores so they last as long as possible.  During exercise for less than that the stores in our muscles are sufficient.

Carbo loading allows us to increase the glycogen in our muscles by approximately 50% so that we can perform at our optimum rate for longer. Marathoners are often known to ‘hit the wall’ about 10km before the end of the race. This is essentially the glycogen stores running out.

So how do we carbo load? About a week before race day start to eat more carbohydrate rich food then 4 days out eat plenty for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. This is where pasta comes in really useful. At the same time you want to taper off exercise so your body can store the carbohydrates as glycogen and you don’t use it up. In reality this means eating cereal, bananas, bread, pasta and potatoes. So great news – you can eat carbs! No Atkins diet here.

On race day your glycogen stores should be optimised to go into your race so you can perform your best.

Hot tips:

  • Remember to taper your training up to race day otherwise you won’t see the benefit of the carbo loading
  • I find carbo loading can make you feel gluggy and lethargic. If you aren’t used to eating a lot of carbs alter your diet to incorporate more carbs prior to race week. If you are doing long training runs you’ll need to do that anyway.
  • Make sure you have a fuelling plan during the race so you can keep hold on to those glycogen stores.

Good luck!

Ten reasons I run

We all have different passions, hobbies and things we love. I’ve run for 18 years in one way or another and still love it now as much as the day I started. So why do I run?

  • The feeling after a great run; there’s nothing like it. I feel alive and pumped and de-stressed; running is a great time for thinking or zoning out
  • Fitness – no doubt about it; you burn about 600 calories in a 10km run (depending on speed, weight etc.)
  • Strength – after I have done an interval session I feel strong and I am training my heart to work harder
  • The itch/ buzz I feel  edgy if I miss my run; I need to go and smash out some km’s
  • Legs – yes you might have slightly larger calves and quads but boy are they toned! And as for your butt!

chocolate - great running food

  • Metabolism – again interval sessions help with this but you can increase your metabolism for 4 to 6 hours following a run. That means I can eat…chocolate, and experts say it’s good for you (ok dark chocolate and perhaps not a whole 200g bar in one sitting)
  •  Flexibility. I can run when I want and where I want; no gyms needed. Just put on your kit and you’re away
  • Bragging rights – I have pub and dinner party stories from my marathons. Endless stories!
  • Technical stuff. I can spend money on heart rate monitors, download my times and be a little bit geeky
  • Lycra and running kit – running means I get to laze about in my running kit a lot which is wonderfully comfortable
  • Ok so this is my 11th point but it’s a really important one. Races and fun runs. They are brilliant and motivating. You get to see other runners and push yourself; if you’re lucky you also get a goody bag and shiny medal at the end!

What other reasons do people have for running?

Running routes – Plan them, map them, share them!

I tend to run the same route most of the time and extend it/ shorten it as necessary. However sometimes I just want a change or I’m travelling and want to find a good running route. So map my run is a great website and app that helps with this.  The main things I use it for are planning routes and finding new routes in an area I’m not familiar with however there are loads of things you can use it for as below:

  • Planning and measuring your routes in terms of distance and elevation
  • Sharing these routes with your friends via facebook/ twitter
  • Log workouts
  • Download training plans
  • Keep a food diary and record calories and fat consumed
Map my run route

 

 

 

 

 

[Read more...]

Post Run Snacks

Great running foodWhen running you burn up a lot of energy which is exactly what you want. It’s great for the heart, your muscles, metabolism and weight management. However you need to ensure you put enough calories in and the right ones, pre and post running. This blog aims to give you some ideas of things to eat post run.

One of the golden rules Run Rabbit promotes is eating within an hour of finishing your run. This ensures you replace energy into your muscles quickly so they can recover and you can get back out running again and feel fantastic. It’s important to get a good mix of simple carbs and a small amount of protein, typically 4:1, for muscle repair; go easy on the protein, you need good carbs primarily.

Here are some of our suggested yummy post run snacks:

  • Banana and few almonds, i.e. 3 or 4 – great for carbs, fibre and a bit of protein in the nuts
  • Other fruit, e.g. apples, melon, berries but do try to have a few nuts with it. If you don’t like nuts or are allergic to nuts try chia seeds. [Read more...]