Race Day Is Around The Corner


Is This You On Race Eve?

I wisely  stupidly put a half-marathon on my schedule just two weeks after 70.3 Austin and I’m sitting here on Tuesday in complete confusion of whether or not I want to race or want to run.  My focus is the Rock N Roll Las Vegas Marathon on December 4th.  I am gunning for a Boston qualifying time.  I have to run 3:10 (7:15/mi pace) in Vegas just to have a chance to register.  That is fast.  My last marathon, Dallas White Rock, was a 3:39.  I have to take 29 minutes off of my PR which is more than 1 minute per mile.  Lofty goals.

So as I sit here contemplating whether to run or race on Sunday I want to give you some background on my thought process and then what I need to do in terms of eating for the race.  6 days after the Half-Ironman in Austin I ran 18 miles at a pace of 7:51/mile.  I desperately needed a good run after I put up an 8:40/mi pace in the half-marathon portion of the race in Austin.  I was disappointed in my run and needed a confidence boost.  That 18 miler did it.  My legs were sore but the next day I headed out on a 2 hour ride.  I managed to ride at nearly 18mph and cover 36 miles.  The next morning my legs were really feeling it.

This morning I headed out on a 13 mile run.  I was scheduled to run aerobic which for me is 155 bpm, give or take.  As I started running I noticed a pace of about 7:45/mi for the first mile and my HR was low so I picked it up.  I pushed through the pain, not injury, in my legs.  They are exhausted at about mile 4 but I continued on and soon enough was in cruise control.  I finished by running 13.1 miles at a pace of 7:36/mile.  I was super excited about this.

So now the decision to race this half-marathon at a 7:15/mile pace looms.  Do I try to race at that speed to prove I can hold it for 13.1 miles or do I just run in aero and if that gets me down to 7:15/mi great but if not it is still a training run and nothing to worry myself about.

This leads me to eating for this half-marathon.  We have all heard the term carb-loading.  I think it’s hogwash.  If you are following an endurance athlete’s diet then you are constantly getting carbs into your system.  We need carbs (energy) to keep doing what we are doing.  I consume approximately 55%-60% of my calories in carbs so when somebody asks me about carb loading I kinda lose my mind.  I don’t believe that you need to go out the night before and eat a mountain of pasta to be ready for the race.

As a matter of fact I believe that you should consume your carbs two days prior to race day.  Then the day before the race eat a large breakfast and taper your consumption throughout the day so that you are nearly hungry when you go to bed.  The next morning put a GU or Gel or 1/4 bottle of EFS Liquid shot into a bottle of water and sip on it until it is time to race.  Of course you should eat a good breakfast the morning of the race as well but again it doesn’t need to be over the top.  Your body has all the carbs it can handle at that time.

It was approximately two weeks ago that I received a newsletter from Food Trainers.  Don’t know Food Trainers?  Well, click [HERE] and head on over because it is a great site run by Lauren Slayton.  There is so much information and it is all useful.  This is not a fluff site/blog but one that is well written and provides in-depth analysis.

So on this day the newsletter referred to carb-loading.  Lauren’s take on carb-loading is in lock step with mine.  She goes into the concept of macronutrients and what is needed.  She discusses the number of calories and adjusting your percentage from each of these macronutrients but there is one part that made me laugh out loud.  It made me smile from ear to ear so much that I reached out to Lauren to ask if she minded if I used her article in a post her on my blog.  She happily (my word not hers because I can’t see why somebody would not want to be featured here) agreed to allow me to reference her post.

Here is my favorite section of her post:

To me, “carbo loading” (would someone explain what a “carbo” is?) happens naturally as you store more carbs (in the new millennium we dropped the “o”) when you’re burning fewer. Another good point made is that you don’t need to increase your calories, just the proportion of carbs, leading up to the race. But there’s an adjacent “good eats” sample day suggesting far from good foods such as bagels, sweetened yogurt, Gatorade, cookies, orange juice, Swedish Fish, chocolate milk oh and for some “easy to digest” fiber black beans and salsa. Now this day may put you in a diabetic coma or nauseate you but it will not make you perform better.

Please click [HERE] to read the entire article.

As the week continues I will make a determination of what I want to do at this race although I have an idea already.  I will say that regardless of what I choose I will not be carbo-loading but instead making sure that I stick to my ‘diet’ which has gotten me into a position for peak performance.

Do You Carb Load?  If so, the day before or two days before?

What Do You Think I Should Do At This Race?  Race or Train?

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  1. BDD says:

    Carb loading has so much conflicting information, some say the day before, some say 2 days before, some say its useless as it takes weeks of eating carbs to get the body use to it. I see it as more of a social event. If I am racing with friends, I do it the day before, not with friends, 2 days before

    PS I am going say this because you are my dear friend, I know you have a coach, but take it from someone who has over trained and knows how much it sucked. It sounds like your really tired and need a break or recovery week
    BDD recently posted..The Dumbest Product of the Month – The Speedfit Mobile TreadmillMy Profile

    • CTER says:

      You are correct in that there is a lot of information out there and really people need to do what is right for them.

      I do believe that eating carbs throughout the day two days prior and then tapering the day prior not only gets you the carbs you need but allows you to flush your system in time for the race.

      Thank you for your concern about my training. My mind is tuned in and that is a huge help. Yesterday I iced all day and stretched properly (not previously done) and my legs feel strong. I have a solid ride today then swimming on Thursday off Friday and essentially off on Saturday as well. The goal/focus is all Vegas.

  2. Karen says:

    I am thinking maybe just treat the race like a training run. If your main goal is Vegas, you don’t want to do anything to take away from the plan.

    Oh carb loading… I may be in the minority but I don’t really load up. For the most part, my main concern the night before is to be careful about what I eat so that it doesn’t come back to haunt me the next day. I had read somewhere recently that if you are going to carb load it needs to be done a couple days before otherwise your body really isn’t gaining an advantage from it.

    • CTER says:

      Not in the minority. I don’t ‘carb-load’ either. I maintain a clean diet all year long and that consists of 55%-60% carbs. I just need to top of glycogen levels and not load….

  3. Jeff Irvin says:

    You are right – Carbo loading is not a factor if you practice clean eating. All I ever do is make sure I top off the glycogen levels in the morning before the race and that is with a good breakfast and then some calories right before the start!

    Jason, my advice (since you asked in the post) would be to take this 1/2 extremely easy. Like Z2 easy. Like 8:30ish pace easy. You are HR training now and sometimes this can become an inaccurate barometer in the midst of a cramped race schedule like yours. Your HR monitor might be saying 155bpm but your body might be feeling a heck of a lot more stress than that right now based on your cumulative training and racing load over the last few months. It is sometimes hard on race day to pull back on the reigns, but this is exactly the time you should do it with LV being the goal.

    Don’t be a meathead!
    Jeff Irvin recently posted..Oh Marathoning …My Profile

    • CTER says:

      I am considering running naked. Leave all the gadgets at home and just run based on feel. This would allow me to enjoy the day and not concern myself with all the data.

  4. Mandy says:

    I don’t really carbo load…I do eat more carbohydrates the week leading to the race. I generally LOVE pasta, but it doesn’t love me, I try to keep my carbs low as a rule…or eat whole wheat type pastas…but IM/marathon race week I will eat more clean carbs for sure…I am afraid of eating complex/whole wheat carbs do to fear of…issues…

    Good luck, you are going to have a blast!

  5. marlene says:

    That was a rocking run. I’d be sooo tempted to see what I (you) can do in a race. I say go for it….
    marlene recently posted.."Off-Season"My Profile

  6. I’m in agreement with the carbloading.. I too think it’s total hogwash!!!!
    Mamarunsbarefoot recently posted..What’s in Your Belly…Part IIMy Profile

  7. KC says:

    OMG, carb loading is so 70’s and 80’s! As long as I have been running marathons (since I was a baby dinosaur in 1997), I have NEVER carb loaded and I have NEVER bonked or hit the wall while running in training or racing.
    A normal meal for me leading up to a race is usually some type of lean protein and a carb/protein type of vegetable, usually spinach. That’s it! And maybe if there is some yummy whole grain bread available and some olive oil to dip it in, I may have a little of that but that’s about all the carb loading i do and have done very well in all of my races if I do say so myself. Fib bars are excellent too, LOL!!
    As for racing or just running that 13.1. I would just go with how you feel that morning. The mary that you want to use as a BQ is far enough out that if you do race the half, you have plenty of recovery time and if you just run it as a training run, then no skin off your back either. The main focus is the BQ race so eyes on that prize, everything in between is fluff.

  8. Jill says:

    I don’t believe you need a HUGE amt of carbs the day before and honestly believe a slight increase in carbs on days 3 and 2 before a marathon are ideal. As you said And this IS carb loading, just not the day before. I’ve always raced my best marathons when I carb depleted the week before the marathon and then loaded up on them on days 3 and 2 before race day.

    I don’t want to say too much about your training because you have a coach you know and trust, and you will be defensive about this, but 155 seems high for easy runs. I know I am older, but I hit the anaerobic stage at that HR. Anyhoo…do what you think best on race day, but remember, recovery takes time – more than a day off sometimes.
    Jill recently posted..Bring on November! I think.My Profile

  9. B.o.B. says:

    I like these points a lot. And some old school folks will still disagree no matter what evidence you put in front of them but since I started as a low-carber I’ve really only incorporated healthier carbs into my diet (for the most part, I still love pizza! lol). Thanks for sharing such great information as usual Jason. Good luck and I am pretty sure you are going to pee pee lightning and poo poo thunder. (I made that quote more my own. What do you think? LOL!)
    B.o.B. recently posted..Wordless WednesdayMy Profile

  10. Good post!
    runnergirl training recently posted..Multiple MarathonsMy Profile

  11. katie says:

    I don’t agree with carb loading, I just try to slightly alter my diet the week of a race leaning that way. I am occasionally succesfull at this. Also, I vote to run by HR and not race your brains out! Recovery is a serious thing.
    katie recently posted..random friday factsMy Profile

  12. lindsay says:

    i also think you should carb-up 2 days before the race and eat a ‘regular’/smaller meal the night before the race. don’t excessive carbs also “clog you up” and mess up your perhaps regularly-scheduled movement? maybe i’m making that up.
    lindsay recently posted..october 2011: finding the podiumMy Profile

    • CTER says:

      Any change to your diet can have an adverse effect on you. This is why I say that if you are eating right all the time then you don’t need to worry about ‘carb-loading’ as it is not necessary.

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