I’m currently training for a half marathon with a local running group, and we’re about a week away from starting our “taper” phase, which means we will slowly start to decrease mileage and intensity of our runs leading up to the race we are training for.
I’m bracing for the nutrition plan our coach is going to recommend during this phase. Last time around, it was carbs galore, and when you think you’ve eaten enough carbs, eat more! Bagels, cereal, bread, and pasta are all recommended as good foods that your muscles need to start storing fuel for your race. This would be bad enough when we are running 10-12 miles in training, but as we are resting, our bodies are even more likely to hold onto these calories and store them as fat! Not exactly the result of training for a race that most people are shooting for.
In the old days, when I used to compete in swimming, I followed the “common wisdom” of pumping in the carbs in the week leading up to my big meet. I distinctly remember one year going out to breakfast with the team the morning of our sectionals meet, and ordering up a big stack of pancakes with extra maple syrup. I was absolutely shocked that I felt sluggish later than day in the water! I actually FELT like the pancake breakfast screwed me up, but thought that would be impossible since carbs were the best source of energy possible!
Instead of listening to “common wisdom”, this year leading up to my race, I plan to eat a balanced diet and continue my fat intake of about 35-40% of my total calories. I will not go on a carb binge nor will I gain or lose weight, and I should be good to go for my race.