The Carb Loading Dress Rehearsal

There is one tried and true motto that holds true for any endurance race. That rule is nothing new. That means you eat nothing new, you wear nothing new, and you do nothing new. Now you won't turn to stone if you do/eat/or wear something new but there can be some pretty uncomfortable outcomes if you do something new. From chafing to spending some quality race time in a porter potty, like Smokey the Bear always says, "Only you can prevent some race day disasters." 

Sunday is my very last 21 mile run before the dreaded taper so this is my final carb load/long run dress rehearsal before the New York City Marathon. Carb loading for a marathon isn't just a day long event. I start carb loading 3 days before my event. (In this case we will go with my 21 miler on Sunday.) On the regular I eat about 2500 calories and I try to get 60% of those calories from carbs. When I carb load I go from 60% to 80%! The biggest carb loading misconception is that you eat like a guppy until you explode. Getting 2500 calories isn't necessarily easy but focusing on getting 80% of those calories from complex carbohydrates takes some planning.


I don't eat 3 large meals a day. I eat your normal breakfast, lunch, and dinner but I try to eat a smaller meal or large snack every 2-3 hours. Runger is real you guys and constantly munching helps me hit that 2500 calories and keep me fueled. Here is a list of the foods I reach for when I am carb loading:


Whole Wheat Bagel or Whole Wheat English Muffin, with peanut butter or 2 scrambled eggs or jelly.


Energy bar (My favorite energy bar is a Lara Bar but Cliff Bars and Power Bars are delicious as well.

Other breakfast items you may enjoy


Low Fat Yogurt


Smoothie with protein powder


Pretzels with peanut butter or hummus

Veggies (carrots, celery, cucumber and peppers) with hummus

Pretzels and guacamole

Plain Greek yogurt with peanuts or pistachios, orange slices, mint, and dark chocolate chips. (MY FAVORITE)

Energy bars

Popcorn with pepper (without butter or salt)


Lunch and Dinner

Burrito: Filled with brown rice, black beans, pico de gallo, guacamole, lettuce, chicken, peppers and onions.

Chicken Fajitas or Tacos: Corn tortillas, black beans, peppers and onions, chicken, and guacamole.

Whole wheat spaghetti with turkey meat sauce: Tomato sauce and whole wheat pasta are two EXCELLENT ways to get some carbohydrates. I eat it with ground turkey to make it heartier.

Chicken Caesar or balsamic wrap: Whole wheat tortilla, chicken, spinach, cheese, tomato, and Caesar or balsamic dressing. (So easy, so delicious)

Turkey or chicken sandwich: Whole wheat bread, chicken or turkey, cheddar cheese, lettuce, and mustard.

Turkey Burger with baked sweet potato fries: Whole Wheat bun, cheddar cheese, ground turkey burger [made with ground turkey, whole wheat bread crumbs, ranch dressing, and minced onion], lettuce, and caramelized onions.

Steak salad: Arugula, spinach, pistachios, Parmesan cheese, steak, and balsamic dressing.

Turkey Chili with cornbread: 1 can of black beans, 1 can of tomatoes, 1 package of ground turkey, 1 can of green chiles, 1 packet of chili seasoning. (SO yummy and so filling. AND CORNBREAD! ALL THE CORNBREAD.)

Greek salad with chicken: Greens, feta, chicken, delicious.

Roast chicken with lemon broccoli, asparagus, and brown rice: Boil some broccoli, add some lemon juice and parsley, roast asparagus in olive oil, and roast a chicken in the oven. 


I run to eat. I know you aren't supposed to say that but I love food ESPECIALLY sweets! You best believe if I am marathon training I am going to have a cupcake or a chocolate bar guilt free. Just treat yourself AFTER your run, not the day (or morning) before.

So those are a few of my favorite meals. Want some more examples of carb-a-licious foods? Here's an EXTREMELY comprehensive list courtesy of choose my plate.

Whole Grains

  • amaranth
  • brown rice
  • bulgur (cracked wheat)
  • oatmeal
  • popcorn
  • rolled oats
  • quinoa
  • whole grain barley
  • whole grain cornmeal
  • whole rye
  • whole wheat bread
  • whole wheat crackers
  • whole wheat pasta
  • whole wheat sandwich buns and rolls
  • whole wheat tortillas
  • wild rice

Ready-to-eat breakfast cereals

  • whole wheat cereal flakes

Refined Grains

  • cornbread
  • corn tortillas
  • couscous
  • crackers
  • flour tortillas
  • grits
  • noodles
  • pitas
  • pretzels
  • white bread
  • white sandwich buns and rolls
  • white rice
  • Pastas
  • spaghetti
  • macaroni


Dark Green Vegetables

  • bok choy
  • broccoli
  • collard greens
  • dark green leafy lettuce
  • kale
  • mesclun
  • mustard greens
  • romaine lettuce
  • spinach
  • turnip greens
  • watercress

Starchy vegetables

  • corn
  • green bananas
  • green peas
  • green lima beans
  • plantains
  • potatoes
  • taro
  • water chestnuts

Red & orange vegetables

  • acorn squash
  • butternut squash
  • carrots
  • hubbard squash
  • pumpkin
  • red peppers
  • sweet potatoes
  • tomatoes
  • tomato juice

 Beans and peas

  • black beans
  • black-eyed peas (mature, dry)
  • garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
  • kidney beans
  • lentils
  • navy beans
  • pinto beans
  • soy beans
  • split peas
  • white beans

Other vegetables

  • artichokes
  • asparagus
  • avocado
  • bean sprouts
  • beets
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • cauliflower
  • celery
  • cucumbers
  • eggplant
  • green beans
  • green peppers
  • iceberg (head) lettuce
  • mushrooms
  • okra
  • onions
  • turnips
  • wax beans
  • zucchini

Protein (Go lean or go home)

  • beef
  • ham
  • lamb
  • pork
  • veal
  • bison
  • venison
  • beef
  • pork
  • lamb
  • chicken
  • duck
  • goose
  • turkey
  • ground chicken and turkey


  • chicken eggs

Beans and Peas

  • bean burgers
  • black beans
  • black-eyed peas
  • chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • falafel
  • kidney beans
  • lentils
  • lima beans (mature)
  • navy beans
  • pinto beans
  • soy beans
  • split peas
  • white beans

Processed Soy Products

  • tofu (bean curd made from soybeans)
  • veggie burgers
  • tempeh
  • texturized vegetable protein (TVP)

Nuts and Seeds

  • almonds
  • cashews
  • hazelnuts (filberts)
  • mixed nuts
  • peanuts
  • peanut butter
  • pecans
  • pistachios
  • pumpkin seeds
  • sesame seeds
  • sunflower seeds
  • walnuts


  • catfish
  • cod
  • flounder
  • haddock
  • halibut
  • herring
  • mackerel
  • pollock
  • porgy
  • salmon
  • sea bass
  • snapper
  • swordfish
  • trout
  • tuna
  • clams
  • crab
  • crayfish
  • lobster
  • mussels
  • octopus
  • oysters
  • scallops
  • squid (calamari)
  • shrimp
  • Canned fish such as:
  • anchovies
  • clams
  • tuna
  • sardines

Fats (Good for your heart, cholesterol, and health) Note that non of these are saturated fats, which are bad.

Monounsaturated fat

  • Olive oil
  • Canola oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Avocados
  • Olives
  • Nuts (almonds, peanuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, cashews)
  • Peanut butter

Polyunsaturated fat

  • Soybean oil
  • Corn oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Walnuts
  • Sunflower, sesame, and pumpkin seeds
  • Flaxseed
  • Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, trout, sardines)
  • Soymilk
  • Tofu

So there you have it! Don't wait until marathon weekend to figure out what foods agree with your body. Do a carb loading dress rehearsal with a long run. Happy carbloading boys and girls! 

Until Monday, #RunSelfieRepeat