By the time taper week comes along... the work is done. Taper week is not the time for hard runs, track workouts or building new muscle. Taper week is about honing in on the skills and training you accumulated during training. Taper week is about opening up your stride, practicing your form, resting, stretching and foam rolling.
BUT TAPER WEEK MAKES US NUTS!
Right? After all those weeks of running hard, running consistently, running high mileage... it feels so weird to chill. So let me give you a new game-day-strategy to obsess over: carbohydrate loading.
Does it work?!
According to the science, yes, carbohydrate loading works. And while it works better for men than women, yes, it totally works for women too. That's awesome news for me because I've been a fan of carb loading since highschool pasta party days.
How does it work?
Carbohydrate loading works by saturating the amount of stored sugar in the muscles. As such, our body can more readily tap into fuel on race day so we can push harder! Studies show it can improve performance by 2-3%... which isn't much, but I know I've cried legit tears of joy when I PR by even ONE SECOND, so gimme some o' dat 2-3%!!!
How do I do it?
Okay, so ya kinda need to know your lean body mass in kilograms to apply the exact formula. Which is cool if you know exactly how many kilograms of your body weight are from muscle but most of us have no clue. Don't worry. That doesn't mean you can't carb load. I got a trick for you.
So first...If you know the weight of your lean body mass in kilograms....
If you are running a race <90 minutes:
Carb load for 24 hours before the race by consuming 6-10 grams carbohydrate per kilogram of lean body mass
If you are running a race for >90 minutes:
Carb load for 24-48 hours before the race with 10-12 grams carbohydrate per kilogram of lean body mass. This has been shown to increase performance a whopping 2-3%!!
and to all the LADIES in the (running) clerbbb:
For a while, the research was iffy if carbohydrate was beneficial for women. Guess what? That's because many scientists avoid doing studies with women due to the added variable of a woman's menstrual cycle. Scientists like for study participants to be as alike as possible. Women be gettin' all hormonal at different times of the month, which can really mess with results. Also... and gosh, this is sad... female athletes tend to UNDEReat in general, and thus carbohydrate loading studies have been skewed because in order for carb loading to WORK, you can't be an underfed athlete.
In fact, research suggests women can benefit from 8 grams carbohydrate per kilogram of lean body mass in the 24-48 hours before a race in order to improve performance on race day.
WHAT ABOUT ME? I DON'T KNOW my lean body mass in kilograms!!
That's cool. Let's talk about what to do.
Remember, you're running less miles this week, right? So if you continue to eat the amount of carbohydrate you were eating during training plus a snack or two... you're good!!!
Since you're running less mileage, you do not need to hit the protein and fat so hard. Meals should be more focused on carbohydrates from LOW FIBER sources.
Set up your meals with half a palm sized portion of protein (like meat, chicken, fish, tofu), go super light on the veggies and fat (like oil or avocado) and pile that plate high with simple carbs like bread, rice, cous cows, pasta. Serve it with a side of juice!
Wait...what kinda carbs?
Yes, I usually am begging you guys to eat more fiber. But not today.
Okay, so fiber makes us poop, right? We do not want to fill up on tons of fibrous carbs the 24-48 hours before race day. 363 days a year, I am ALL about that high fiber life, but the two days before a race, I do a light "fiber fast" where I choose carbs from lower fiber sources.
Now use your noggin when it comes to this one. If you eat white rice four times a day, you may feel all kinds of constipated and bloated before race day... not what we are going for. Its okay to have a little bit of fiber. A few grams in your bread choice, some lettuce or raw veggies, that's cool. But I wouldn't carb load with bean chili, prunes or bowls of bran cereal, ya catch my drift?
Um, if you think I'm going to sing the praises of carb loading and then leave you high and dry with zero recipes... you cray.
My greatest passion in life is to show runners the POWER of good nutrition. This is like the coolest, best opportunity ever to do so! So click here and grab your FREE 48 HOUR MEAL PLAN for carbo loading.
Don't forget. You can grab your FREE TWO DAY MEAL PLAN by clicking here!
Please don't forget to DM me on Insta and LMK alll about your upcoming race. I'm a runner too ya know... all I wana do is talk running (LOL).