Ahlborg then devised a 7 day carb-loading plan: an exhaustive workout followed by 3-4 days of extremely low carbohydrate intake (10% or less of intake), then 3-4 days of extremely high carbohydrate intake (90% of intake). Per his research, athletes following this were able to nearly double their glycogen stores and exhibited significantly greater endurance in exercise lasting longer than 90 minutes.
There are drawbacks, definitely: first, it takes a lot of planning to get in your caloric needs for the day based on protein and fats! If my athletes are trying this, I always ask that they weigh themselves daily - any more than a 1-1.5 pound weight loss during these days is too much (eat another chicken breast :)). A lot of the weight loss comes from water, so don't be alarmed.
Second, there are side effects: you might become more irritable and have a harder time concentrating (especially during the last day of depletion).
There is research out there that shows that just doing the 3-4 carbo-load portion of the diet will result in high glycogen stores as well (just not quite as high as the depletion/load diet). I've tried both, and personally feel there is a huge difference between the two. I personally will always do the depletion/load schedule.
|I always look forward to the carb-loading portion of the cycle :). Yumm, bagels, oatmeal, fruit, and plain pasta!|
What are your feelings about overdistance training for the marathon (ie, training runs of more than 26 miles)?