Is Carb-Loading Necessary Before A Marathon?

  • By Duncan Larkin
  • Published Jan. 23, 2012
  • Updated Jan. 23, 2012 at 11:33 AM UTC
Pre-race carb loading is good for you, according to the results of a new study. Photo:

According to one study, the answer is yes.

Anyone who’s run a marathon knows that having as much energy as possible the day of the race is essential. Many marathons go as far as hosting “pasta dinners” the night before the big race. But how effective is pre-race carb loading? The Canadian Web site, The Globe and Mail, seeks to answer this question in a recent article.

According to the results of a 2009 study, researchers who studied the effects of carbo-loading with a group of mid-pack marathoners at the 2009 London Marathon, found that a healthy amount of pasta definitely helps.

To reach their conclusion, the group studied 257 marathoners for five weeks prior to the race, collecting data about their eating patterns. The average age of the runners was 39 and the average finishing time was 4 1/2 hours.

The results: “Runners who ate more than seven grams of carbohydrate for every kilogram of bodyweight  ran 13.4 per cent faster than a comparable group of runners who ate fewer carbohydrates.”

For More: The Globe and Mail


Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin is the news editor at and a freelance journalist who’s been covering the sport of running for over five years. He’s run 2:32 in the marathon and won the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race in 2007. His first running book, RUN SIMPLE, was released last July.

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