Photography by Jackie Alpers
Carbohydrate loading is commonly referred to as carbo loading. Carbo loading or Glycogen storage refers to storing carbohydrates in the body to fuel the long run using carbohydrates as opposed to fats.
Foods rich in carbohydrates such as pasta, rice etc. are typically consumed by runners before race day to fuel the body for long runs.
The body uses a proportion of carbohydrates, fats and proteins to burn energy. Carbohydrates are sugar and they perform the function of storing and transporting energy. The body uses protein to repair and rebuild the muscle tissue.
Carbohydrates are the most efficient form of fuel available to burn. As you increase the intensity of your runs, the body uses more and more carbohydrates.
Eating a high carbohydrate diet stores carbohydrates in the body. Research has shown that a high carbohydrate diet will store twice as much glycogen as compared to a high protein diet.
Before the long run
During the long run
Carbohydrate loading is generally performed by runners by having a high carb diet for a few days before an endurance event like a half-marathon or marathon. Glycogen storage prevents runners from hitting the wall during the course of the race.
High intensity effort will use up all the glycogen supply much sooner.
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