Triathlon Coach on Carb Loading

Carb Loading is required only for any race that will be greater than 2hrs in duration. It takes a full 48hrs to maximize the storage of glycogen in the muscles and liver, so you need to start your deliberate carb load from breakfast 2 days prior to your race morning.

Carb Sources

CHO comes from starchy, high sugar content foods. Foods high in CHO include cereals, white bread, white rice, white pasta and any baked good made from preferably refined white flour, starchy vegetables (i.e. potato, sweet potato, corn), fruit, juice, and highly refined foods such as biscuits, lollies, pancakes, muesli bars, sports bars, gels and soft drinks.

Carb Levels

You should be aiming for between 10-12g CHO per kg bodyweight per day for the 48hrs leading up to race morning.

Golden Rules for Carb Loading

  1. Don’t try new foods that you aren’t used to eating or that you have never tried.
  2. Avoid foods high in fat.
  3. Avoid too many high fiber foods.
  4. Maintain protein levels for the first 36hr to aid in muscle recovery.
  5. Avoid protein, or have only a very small amount of easily digestible protein such as fish or tofu, in your dinner the night before race morning.
  6. Taper your training output correctly.

Hydration Levels

To maintain good hydration during a carb load, make sure that you include high sugar electrolyte drinks in your calculated CHO intake. This will also ensure that your sodium levels are adequate to help fluid uptake into the bloodstream.

Drink as much fluid as you would normally drink & trust your body. If you are thirsty, drink. If your urine is yellowish or dark coloured, drink some more. If your urine is a light straw colour, maintain your current regime.

On race morning, drink 500-800mL, 1-2hrs before the race starts. Please note that hydration levels and fluid requirements vary hugely between individuals based on body composition and sweat rates etc. If you would like more information on how to determine what your exact requirements are, please feel free to contact Head Coach Steve Davis for a chat.

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