I agree with the other posters - carb loading is not required before a 5k or 10K.
The body holds about 2000 calories of usable energy (it can convert fat to energy only slowly - not enough to keep up the energy required in a race), and as a rough guide, you burn 120-160 calories per mile of running. So while carb-loading to extend that 2000 as much as possible is important for a marathon, and perhaps to a lesser extent a half marathon, for a 5K or 10K, there really isn't any benefit to carb loading
Apart from ensuring you have at least something to eat beforehand (especially for a morning race), you don't need to eat anything special for a 5K or a 10K.
If it's a real short race like a 5- or 10k, then the most you might want is a cup of juice or a medium banana and some water around a half hour before... but that's the kind of nutrition most folks should have before any typical workout to give the body some easy fuel to draw from.
As others said, the longer races - half marathon (13.1 and up) you should consider the carb-loading approach.
Fitness Minutes: (29,299)
847 5/17/13 12:55 P
I've never carbo-loaded for a 5k or 8k. (I haven't run a 10k race yet.) I typically just eat my usual breakfast of a bagel with peanut butter on it (and an ordinary dinner the night before).
Thanks for the great tips. I have never carb loaded in past races so I thougth this seemed strange for only a 5k. I will stick to what I normally do since that has always worked in the past!
Fitness Minutes: (22,220)
1,537 5/17/13 9:49 A
Carb loading before a 5k is probably not necessary. If you feel better doing it, then go for it. I just eat normally the night before, and have a light breakfast that I would normally have, for a 5k event.
I am dabbling at trying to go longer distances. I have a 13.1 coming up, and will possibly carb load slightly over a few-day period before. I have heard that overdoing it the night before the race is self-defeating.
Fitness Minutes: (6,555)
2,360 5/17/13 9:49 A
Carbo-loading is only really useful for long distances (half marathon and up) and is actually best accomplished by increasing carbohydrate intake gradually over the week before a race. runners-resource.com/carbo-loading
For short and middle distance races, your body's glycogen stores are enough. I always make sure that come race day, nothing is new: no new food, no new equipment, and don't change the times when I eat. Have fun!
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