Who Knew Carbo Loading Sucks so Much?


In order to motivate myself to run a marathon, I’ve been reading. I know, but that’s my natural inclination in most circumstances… I’ve a bit of Hermione in me, I guess.

So I finished, Born to Run, which was AWESOME! and then I went down to the library and checked out three more books about running – two non-fic narratives that I haven’t gotten to just yet, and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Marathon Training. So far, it’s a pretty great book for me, but I’ve been running for something like four years now. I suspect the book would be pretty boring and confusing to a complete idiot, but you never know.

Carbo Loading… Did you know that it really only works to carbo load if you deprive your body of carbs for like two days before giving yourself a ton of them? Basically, you have to trick your body into believing that you live in a place where carbs are not always available to you, and therefore, it needs to store any carbs you give it.

Doesn’t that suck?

I really just want to eat normally until the night before the race, when I head to Olive Garden and get myself a Five Cheese Ziti.

Ignorance is bliss, right?

Other thing I’ve learned that blows my mind a little… you must run super slowly at the beginnings of your training because you want to keep your heart rate low. Reasons for this:

  1. Capillaries – Your body will make more of them if you run slower for like 12 weeks.
  2. Mitochondria – Your body will make more of them if you run slower for like 12 weeks.
  3. Fat v. Glycogen – Your body will learn to burn fat for longer if you keep yourself at an aerobic heart rate during the early stages of training, making you less likely to “hit the wall” mid-race. “Hitting the wall” actually occurs after your body has stopped burning fat, and has used all of the glycogen you’ve given it. Therefore, you try to make your body run on fat for as long as possible, so that you don’t have to keep taking Gu shots just to maintain your sanity.
  4. Hormones – Running actually shouldn’t feel terrible (I know, right? Who knew?), because if it does, that’s a sign you are depleting your body of testosterone and human growth hormone… both important for endurance. If you feel like hell the day after a run, you pushed yourself too hard in either distance or intensity.
  5. Waste – You want to teach your body to deal well with your waste (hydrogen and lactic acid). I’m pretty sure this is connected to #s 1 and 2, but the science eludes me a bit here. Basically, you won’t have to rely as much on those compression socks to get the waste out of your calves. You can teach your body to dispose of the waste before you lose the ability to walk normally.

So… lessons: Run slower (I can totally handle this one). And starve your body of carbs for two days before getting your ziti.

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3 thoughts on “Who Knew Carbo Loading Sucks so Much?

  1. Testimony – Mile 23 of 26.2 – I start to see things in the woods to my right. The worlds starts to spin. My headphones feel like they are eating a hole in my head and weigh a 1,000 lbs. I have an insane urge to jump into the woods and rip my clothes off. This is completely true. I have kept the fat/glycogen battle at bay all race and stayed hydrated relatively well. I was on pace that was reasonable and had not veered off my race plan. I had heard of the wall but man I did not know it until I hit it. You WILL KNOW THE WALL – YOU WILL KNOW WHEN YOUR BODY IS OUT OF GLYCOGEN. The last 2.5 miles was a mental and spiritual test plain and simple. Hold the WALL off as long as you can. It lurks where you least expect it.

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