How Should You Really Carb Up?

in Race Prep by


Let me ask you a question, when you’re stuffing your face with pasta the night before a big race, what do you tell yourself?

If you’re anything like me, you tell yourself and everyone around you that you’re “carbing up” for tomorrow, right?

What if I told you that the right way to “carb up” wasn’t to eat one huge meal the night before your event (and risk stomach issues before, during and after your race) but to use the 20% rule?

I’m no nutrition expert but if you read this space, you know that I’m pretty experienced in endurance sports. And if I’ve learned one thing in the 10 years I’ve been participating in this world it’s the 20% rule.

So what is it?

The 20% Rule

Every nutrition strategy I’ve read in every magazine agrees that you should add ~20% more carbs per day every day for the two weeks leading up to your race/event.

For me, in practical terms this means I’m eating a grain-based cereal for breakfast (rather than just fruit), sandwich for lunch (rather than salad) and some sort of lean protein and potatoes for dinner.

I know what you’re thinking. Potatoes Eric? Really? Aren’t potatoes just pure fat with no nutritional value?

The short answer is a resounding, No!

Potatoes often get a bad rap in the fitness/health world due to their high carb and calorie count. But that’s exactly what we need when we’re in the final stages of preparation for a race!

Potatoes are packed with carbohydrates, potassium, and the energy you need to perform whether you’re running a 5K, marathon or tri. They’re also fat and sodium free!

And, the best part is they taste great!

I’m simple, I like oven roasted red potatoes with olive oil, salt, pepper and some garlic (garlic powder works if I’m feeling lazy).

Here’s a quick video of me prepping a meal for the family as I start my carb load for a race in a few weeks.

While this is a sponsored post by Potatoes USA, I stand behind everything I’ve said (and really do eat potatoes before races. In fact, they are a regular staple of my diet.)

1 Comment

  1. I’m a fan of fried potatoes, but I try to avoid them as much asa possible. I’m training for a marathon with SportMe running app, which calculates distance, pace, time and calories and adjusts running plans to my progress.

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