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Pre-race "carbo Loading"?
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Hello all!

I've been gluten free since being diagnosed in January and am running my first marathon on May 4 - for which I've been training forever! As a long time runner, I never really did the serious carbo loading before a big race but I did tend to have a decent pasta meal the night before - little did I know!

So as my first post-diagnoses race approaches - and it's a biggie! - I'm looking for suggestions for pre-race meals. I'm not sure if rice pasta and marianara sauce will quite cut it! I'll likely be eating out somewhere since I'll be staying in a hotel the night before.

Any gluten-free marathoners out there with words of wisdom for me?

Thanks!

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I haven't got a clue who ever came up with the idea of carb loading and that it improves performance. It is a complete myth. It has long been proven that eating lots of carbs will make you sluggish and tired!

It makes a lot more sense to load up on protein and fat, because those are the main muscle fuels. So, instead of eating carbs the night before, eat a meal with a nice, big, juicy steak. I believe that will be tons more beneficial.

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Be very careful where you eat the night before the race. You would not be at your best if you were accidently glutened. You might consider bringing your own food to eat the night before and the morning of the race.

Hope everything goes well.

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I have done several marathons and long bike events, but honestly have never carbo loaded. I am not an elite athlete... just want to maintain a significantly better than average fitness level and lower body weight. Anyway... Couldn't you do your normal but have rice pasta, or rice, or spaghetti squash, baked potatos, gluten free pancakes? I have a half ironman coming up, and I am a lot more concerned with my prerace meals not giving me the runs and the fuel during the race. You are probably a lot faster than I am, so the prerace maybe makes more of a difference. Also, I usually try to eat the same before the race as before my last 20+ mile training run. Not sure that helps at all.

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Here is a link to an article that explains why carbo-loading is a bad idea. http://www.second-opinions.co.uk/athletic_diet.html

The first page give the conventional 'wisdom'. The second page gives what really is the truth, and the third page substantiates it.

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I have run 1 marathon, several half marathons, and just finished a half ironman last month, since being diagnosed with Celiac. The night before the half ironman, I ate rice pasta and some gluten free bread. I felt amazing during the race. I think you are able to get enough carbs this way. I have also used rice to carbo load. I don;t think there is anything wrong with carbo loading. Too much protein and fat the night before a race can leave you with "icky tummy" the next morning because it does not digest as easily.

I do agree that if there is any way you can prepare your own meal the day before, you should. If you accidentally have some gluten contamination, it can ruin your race.

Good luck with the marathon. Once you've run one marathon, you'll be hooked. It is such an amazing feeling crossing the finish line after all the training you put in. Make sure you enjoy the race, it will be over before you know it!

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rice, beans, sweet potatoes - all the regular carbohydrate sources on a gluten-free diet will get you the carbs you need. you should be replenishing your glycogen stores after your run anyway, to 'train' your body to build larger stores, and shouldn't need to do truly significant carb loading anyway.

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Thanks for all the advice! I've never done the serious carbo loading stuff but it did make sense to me to eat carbs the night before a race.

I'll see what I can do about making my own pre-race meal but if I can't work something out, I think there's an Outback nearby that would hopefully be a fairly safe choice. Love those sweet potatoes!

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Being in the military, whenever we are going to be running, they tell us to drink a cup of coffee, because the caffeine gives you that extra boost while you are running.

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Any gluten-free marathoners out there with words of wisdom for me?

Thanks!

Just saw this post and maybe I can help. I'm a decent marathoner (sub-3 hours at 50 years old), and am in the process of getting tested for celiac. I ran one in Austin, TX in Feb while eating gluten-free. I called and found a local place that served both white and sweet potatoes (as you already know, Outback has them, too). I bought a couple extra with my meal and took to the hotel to heat in microwave as my pre-race meal. Ended up 2/261 in my AG, so I guess it worked. I also make my own version of rice-krispy treats to take with me when I travel to a race. I use gluten-free cereal, and add raisins, chocolate chips, walnuts, almonds, etc.

BTW, how did you make out in your race, I see it was in early May?

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You might want to look into the Zone diet for before races. It's about making sure you have 30% fat, 30% protein, and 40% low-GI carbs in each meal. It seems a bit more sensible to have a good mix than just carbs before a race. My brother was a solid JV cross country runner in high school. His senior year he started doing the Zone diet and PRed at every race. His average mile time improved in the range of 1:30-2 minutes in just one season! My dad, who has been a 9-minute miler for as long as I can remember did the Zone diet before our town's yearly fun run, and ran the best time of his life. I tried it because I was always tired and it did help, but in hindsight I can see it's probably because the Zone diet is naturally low in gluten!

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There's a book called The Paleo Diet for Athletes. I don't follow the Paleo Diet very closely, but I think this book is a good reference. There's a section on what to eat before a race. I believe this version of the diet allows for carbs before a race because you'll burn them off.

I had gluten-free banana bread this morning before a 12K run. I make mine with 1/2 almond meal, 1/2 gluten-free flour, so it has a little protein. I would never eat grain for breakfast at all on a normal day because I get the mid-morning crash when I do. (Notice I didn't say carbs- I eat fruit.)

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Hello all!

I've been gluten free since being diagnosed in January and am running my first marathon on May 4 - for which I've been training forever! As a long time runner, I never really did the serious carbo loading before a big race but I did tend to have a decent pasta meal the night before - little did I know!

So as my first post-diagnoses race approaches - and it's a biggie! - I'm looking for suggestions for pre-race meals. I'm not sure if rice pasta and marianara sauce will quite cut it! I'll likely be eating out somewhere since I'll be staying in a hotel the night before.

Any gluten-free marathoners out there with words of wisdom for me?

Thanks!

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...authentic risotto! about 35 carbs per 125g (1/2 cup), 3g protein, 1g fibre

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Thanks for all the hints and advice. Here's an update for the curious:

I ran the marathon and finished! It wasn't in quite the time I had hoped (4:15) but I think it's still respectable for a first try (4:27) especially considering I started getting shooting pains in my right foot around mile 16 and had to pretty much hobble for the last 10 miles. (Subsequently diagnosed as Morton's neuroma - after 3 weeks off, a cortisone shot and new running shoes, I'm just getting back into some real milage!)

As for my pre-race meal, I was intrigued by the "don't carbo load" arguments posted here as well as the pre-race carb suggestions so given that I was away from home, I did rely on Outback for some protein and potatoes. It seemed to work well - I'm pretty sure it didn't cause my foot pain!

The post-race food issue was almost as interesting. My darling spouse forgot to bring my gluten-free bagel from the hotel and I don't do bananas so my immediate post-race food intake was several bags of Utz Cheese Puffs! That was about all they had that I could feel relatively safe about - the words "gluten free" on the package were a joy to behold! I did get to the bagel when I got back to the hotel though.

Not sure I'll do this again - I'm really a 10-miler/half marathoner at heart - but I appreciate the information as I'll be able to use it for the shorter distances as well.

Thanks!

/san/

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I just finished my first 1/2 Ironman this weekend. To load before, I cut back on fiber the couple of days before, and had a baked potato and protein shake for dinner the night before. Then that morning I had a bowl of gluten free cereal with bananas and blueberries and peanuts in it. Right before the swim I had a Hammer almond and raisen bar. During the bike I had Hammer Sustain and Heed, I just alternated every 15 minutes (I had also mixed a little of their electrolyte powder in it as well). Then during transition, I had a couple of quick swigs of more electrolyte replacement (they make capsules as well) and then did the run with just water. I had no stomach issues during the race. The only problem I have had since is getting a sluggish system working again after 70 miles in the hot Kansas sun. I also may have ended up with an accidental glutening after the race when we went to lunch, but the symptoms are kind of the same for me. Anyway... the Hammer products tasted bad, but worked great for me.

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Since I am a creature of habit and HAVE To have the same meal before a long run or a race. What has worked well for me the past few races is going to a Whole Foods the night before the race. There is one in nearly every city and it is usually not packed with athletes from the race. Most people are hitting major restaurants.

I have been able to grab my gluten-free pasta...and eat it there at the store in their cafe area. It has been very pleasant - not rushed. Plus, I am secure in knowing that I am eating something my body is used to and will not make me sick.

Yes..the store is a little pricey. Yes..cab fare can also be pricey - but when it comes to my comfort level during a half marathon (and health) it is well worth it. ;)

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