A Smarter Way to Carbo-Load

Good Eats

A day of carbo-loading for a 150-pound runner


1 bagel with 2 tablespoons strawberry jam (71 g)

1 medium banana (27 g)

8 ounces fruit yogurt (41 g)

8 ounces orange juice (26 g)

Morning Snack

2 Nature Valley Oats 'n Honey

Granola Bars (29 g)

8 ounces Gatorade (14 g)


1 large baked potato with 1/4 cup salsa (69 g)

1 sourdough roll (40 g)

8 ounces chocolate milk (26 g)

1 large oatmeal cookie (56 g)

Afternoon Snack

1 Clif Bar (42 g)

8 ounces Gatorade (14 g)


1 chicken burrito with rice, corn salsa, and black beans (105 g)

1 2-ounce bag Swedish Fish (51 g)

Carb Total 611 g

Perfect Timing

What to do before race day to ensure your tank is full

6 Weeks Before

Practice loading

Two or three days prior to your longest run, start eating more carbs and less fat and protein. "You'll get a sense of what foods agree and disagree with your stomach," says Katz.

1 Week Before

Make a plan

"A plan is especially important if you're traveling to a race," says Ryan. Pack plenty of snacks, like sports bars, pretzels, and crackers. Check menus online and make restaurant reservations.

2 or 3 Days Before

Switch to carbs

From now through your race, 85 to 95 percent of your diet should be carbs. Eat after taper runs. "That is when muscles are primed to store glycogen," says Rapoport.

Night Before

Don't stuff yourself

Dinner should be relatively small but carb-heavy. Eat on the early side so you have lots of time to digest.

"You want to wake up race day hungry--not full from the night before," says Ryan.

Race Morning

Have breakfast

Three hours before the start, eat 150 grams of carbs, like a bagel and yogurt or sports drink and oatmeal, says Ryan. Early race? "Get up at 3 a.m., eat, and go back to bed," she says.

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