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First Race w/ Paleo: Carb-O load alternatives?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created October 12, 2011 at 1:15 AM

I will be running my first race since going Paleo this saturday. It is a 50 mile trail run and I am looking for alternatives to pasta for carb loading the day before the race. I figure sweet potatoes would be good, but wouldn't make for much a of a meal by itself.

What other foods can I eat that will ensure my muscle glycogen stores are fully loaded for race day? Also want to limit my fiber intake to limit potty breaks during the run.

Would rice be an acceptable alternative? How would my stomach react to rice if I haven't eaten it in about 8 months?

Thanks!!

1f9b52f29960095986234231d91e1967

(529)

on August 21, 2013
at 09:45 PM

Nuts and nut butters are commonly like this, especially because of the heavy texture of nut butters. Very interesting and detailed post!

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on October 12, 2011
at 02:03 AM

BTW, if you've been low-carbing up to this point, you could see some wild blood sugar and weight swings if you carbo-load. The blood sugar because you aren't acclimated to lots of carbs, and the weight because all that glycogen requires a lot of water for storage.

220994a1bcff1923ef0388192bdba8d4

on October 12, 2011
at 01:58 AM

I'd hate for you to have an adverse reaction to the gluten during such a long run, though. I'd stay away. White rice is relatively benign and provides lots of starch. Bananas could be good too!

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on October 12, 2011
at 01:20 AM

I'd be worried about the fiber content in sweet potatoes. White rice I don't see a problem with but I'm not a runner. Maybe do the pasta if you've successfully dome it before. Who cares, it's one meal?

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5 Answers

2
510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20888)

on October 12, 2011
at 01:49 PM

I did a 26-hour relay on my normal high-fat Paleo diet plus a little extra jerky and coconut butter.

I've also done some multiday high intensity crossfit style competition on my normal Paleo diet plus mashed sweet potatoes fried in bacon fat to supplement glycogen.

For something like a 50-miler where you don't get to stop and eat (like I did between legs of the relay, or between WODs) I'd say little snack packets of sweet potato, coconut butter, and maybe a little jerky will be great.

I did make a mistake of over carb loading for an event. I figured that since I had converted to a fat burner all those carbs would be lots of bonus energy, but it was too much and I felt sluggish, retained water, and performed poorly. The best bet for you is to stick to your normal diet plus a little extra carb and MCT (coconut oil/butter) for energy but don't over do it.

1
Ec77127d82e0733b2faa70c07c0cee23

on August 21, 2013
at 05:23 PM

Hi there - I did 100 mile race on paleo and getting ready for another one. I'm currently working on an interview with a western states winner who's been paleo for years, so more to come soon on the topic! In the meantime, here's how I do it.

Pre-race nutrition:

Fiber isn't that bad. Perhaps TMI, if you are running more than 12 hours, chances are you might have to visit the rest rooms anyway. If I'm racing out of town, I go with sweet potato fries. This time I'm taking a sweet potato and will microwave it in the hotel room. Eat it with a piece of meat as usual. Don't stress too much about carboloading, 1/2 to 3/4 of a sweet potato are plenty.

In the morning before the race, don't eat anything unusual.

Race nutrition: 1. Eat fruits at the aid stations as much as possible. Melons and cantalopes are very nice for stomach, no nausea for me.

  1. Make some sugar-free strawberry smoothies and fill the hammer gel flasks with them, and throw them in your drop bags.

  2. baby food packets! Although only 70 calories and a lot heavier than gels, they are conveniently packaged and full of needed antioxidants. They don't contain anything risky, and are of low risk of making your stomach sick. Stuff them in your drop bags.

  3. Potatoes with salt: yep, it's not paleo, but often available at the AS. Only eat those when your stomach is still going strong.

  4. Chicken broth later in the race works magic. Very nice for sensitive stomach and helps with cramps and getting enough salt in. Usually available at the AS at night.

  5. Past mile 90 when I absolutely cannot stomach anything whatsoever, Coca Cola it is. Yep - not paleo, and that's ok. You can compensate by eating perfectly after the race.

  6. I do take gels with me as a back-up in case I get bonked and stranded and desperately need a quick energy to make the race cut-offs. I try very hard not to eat them. since I replaced berries and baby food for gels, I have a lot less achy legs during the race.

Now the stuff that DIDN'T work for me that has been suggested to me before: - jerky - avocados - nuts and trail mixes - nut butters

I tried these thinking it would be a smart paleo choice, but in the later stages of the run or race, they don't provide enough energy and they just lie in my stomach making me nauseous.

Nuts and nut butters are especially offensive difficult to digest, at any stage of the race.

1f9b52f29960095986234231d91e1967

(529)

on August 21, 2013
at 09:45 PM

Nuts and nut butters are commonly like this, especially because of the heavy texture of nut butters. Very interesting and detailed post!

1
Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on October 12, 2011
at 01:26 PM

I hope I don't get spanked by some of these suggestions but if you do all organic I think they're going to be your best choices. I used to race and if I were still doing so these would be on my table, in the fridge, and taken to the meet. I would start introducing things now, don't wait, so if you have any adverse reactions you'll be able to adjust:

  • white rice, rice cakes, sprouted corn tortillas
  • cheese (add to the tortillas or on top of the rice cakes)
  • coconut water
  • potato chips, veg chips (salt + carb + fat)
  • almond butter, honey, banana-
  • Lara or Kind bars, just check the labels
  • gluten free waffles with berries
  • 3 hours before racing a yogurt and banana (will give you time to digest and not feel full)
  • sushi/sashimi the night before
  • dried fruit, nuts
  • roast chicken, potatoes, hard boiled eggs, avocado (post race)

If you have time to cook today or tomorrow, might be worth making protein balls as an extra:

Good luck, run fast!

1
E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on October 12, 2011
at 02:08 AM

White potatoes and pulp free OJ are your best bet. White rice is suitable but inferior.

0
7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on October 12, 2011
at 01:59 AM

White rice should be pretty easy on the stomach (it's part of the BRAT recs for dealing with stomach upsets). Why not try some tomorrow and see how you do? If you tolerate it (which I suspect you will), then you should have some confidence on Friday. That said, I'd think potatoes (either sweet or white) would be good as well.

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on October 12, 2011
at 02:03 AM

BTW, if you've been low-carbing up to this point, you could see some wild blood sugar and weight swings if you carbo-load. The blood sugar because you aren't acclimated to lots of carbs, and the weight because all that glycogen requires a lot of water for storage.

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