Is It Wise To Carbo Load Before A Race?

  • By Duncan Larkin
  • Published May. 31, 2013
  • Updated May. 31, 2013 at 10:10 AM UTC
Carbo loading is no longer in style. Photo:

One nutritionist and ultra runner doesn’t think so.

There’s an ongoing debate amongst runners as to the efficacy of loading up on carbohydrates the day before  a long race such as a marathon or half-marathon.

Men’s Fitness asked Abby McQueeney Penamonte, a registered dietitian and nutrition coach, who equates pre-race nutrition to academics.

“Nutrition and training are a lot like school,” she said. “You have to put in the work and make good choices day after day. Unfortunately you can’t cram for a test and be successful. Likewise, don’t expect to eat well only the day before and notice improvements.”

She went on to point out that the big pasta meal the night before is no longer popular amongst running nutritionists.

So what should runners eat?

“Eat what you normally have used in training,” she says. “Instead of paying attention to what you’re eating only the night before, make changes to your diet a few months out to improve performance.

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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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