Girls Run Wild

Bay to Breakers Pre-Race Carbo Loading Fun!

Posted on: May 13, 2011

I post this with a caveat: below is based on research I’ve done and my own opinions.  I am not a sports nutritionist.  I know some of you will not agree with me.  Feel free to provide your own thoughts in the comments.

As I said yesterday, the running world does not always agree on whether or not it’s completely necessary to eat breakfast before a morning race.  Regardless of your school of thought, it’s a really dumb idea to skip dinner the night before (or 2 nights before, as I will get into soon) your big run.  Bay to Breakers, for San Franciscans living under a rock, is THIS SUNDAY, May 15.  The race covers 7.46 miles, or 12 kilometers, and therefore by many running standards does not really fall into the category of carbohydrate loading necessary.  For runs of less than 10 miles (or exercise of 90 minutes or less), the Mayo Clinic states that carbo loading for this amount of exercise isn’t essential.  When you get into much longer runs – half marathons, marathons, (and if you are truly insane) 50 miles runs+, then you need to consider the effect of this exertion on your body’s ability to maintain its endurance. (When you get into these longer distances too, eating during the race becomes something that is necessary).  Runner’s World Magazine, however, believes in the 75 minute rule – that your body needs carbs after 75 minutes of running.  Again, the running world disagrees on timing here – I say listen to your body and EAT AFTER THE RACE.

Even though the race on Sunday doesn’t fall into the ultra long distance running category, since Bay to Breakers is a fun run, I thought why not enjoy the weekend in its entirety and post something about treating yourself to a big bowl of pasta TONIGHT.  Tonight, not tomorrow night (the night before the race).  Eating a large amount of food the night before a race can put added stress on your system.  If you do want to give yourself that added carb boost to get you through the run (and the rest of the day – there can be a lot of post-race walking going on), enjoy your big bowl of pasta and garlic bread TONIGHT.  For more information on pre-race eating dos and don’ts, check out Runner’s World’s article, “The Right Stuff?

Runners need carbohydrates for energy – but rather than picking up a donut, a soda pop, or a big loaf of white bread, consider the difference between good and bad carbs.  Below is a yummy pasta recipe for your “carbo loading” dinner tonight.  I’ve tried to include as many good carbs as possible.  Just don’t over-do it or your stomach may not thank you 7.46 miles later.

Homemade Pesto Pasta with Oven Roasted Veggies

For the Pesto:

2 cloves garlic

1-2 bunches fresh basil leaves (washed)

¼ cup olive oil

1 cup parmesan cheese

Salt & pepper to taste

The best device to use for this is a Cuisinart.  Don’t have one? Use a blender or a good ol’ mortar and pestle.  Add the whole garlic cloves to the Cuisinart first and let the blades chop away.  Add the basil leaves until you have a very fine consistency.  While the Cuisinart is running, add the olive oil.  ¼ cup is only a suggestion – use more or less based on the consistency you desire.  Add the parmesan and blend.  Taste the pesto and add salt and pepper as needed (you probably won’t want too much salt – parmesan’s got plenty of it).

For the Roasted Veggies:


Bell Peppers





Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper to taste

I purposefully did not give amounts of each vegetable – pick and choose what you like the best.  Don’t like veggies?  You really should get over it.

Turn oven to 450.  In a (high) heat proof dish, scatter your vegetables around.  Cover in olive oil – not too much.  Add a dash of salt and pepper and give the vegetables a good mixing.  Cook for about 45 minutes, stirring every now and again.  You can taste test the vegetables to see if they’ve been cooked to your liking.

For the Pasta:

Choose a whole wheat pasta – depending on the number of people eating, the general rule is about 2 oz of pasta per person.  Cook according to box (I’m not going to tell you how to make pasta, sorry).

Once pasta is drained, add pesto right away so pasta doesn’t stick together.  Add pesto to taste and desired level of garlic breath.  Serve with vegetables mixed in or on the side.


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May 2011
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