OUT NOW: (Features Plenty of Running Anecdotes)
Fat. Not a word one would usually associate with marathoners. In fact most runners struggle to hit the lower end of their BMI range in the run up to a marathon. We call it race weight, normal people call it “God, you look gaunt…you’re getting far too scrawny.”
Which is why the bizarre practice of fat loading for 10 days, from two weeks prior to the big race should be welcomed by the “dedicated” marathoner as an opportunity to ditch the rabbit food and pile into the nice stuff. So why is it that I’m dreading the next one and a half weeks and can’t wait to get into the three-day pre-race carb load. Perhaps this, a picture of my just-arrived weekly shop will shed light on the matter:
For the next 10 days my daily fat loading menu is as follows:
The idea is simple, to increase your fat-burning capacity by fat loading for a race. For the next 10 days I will get 65 per cent of my daily calories from fat. Not cheeseburgers, good fat. The problem with this is three-fold:
Just as you think it can’t get any worse, seven days into your 10-day fat loading, it’s on to the seven-day pre-race caffeine fast. This turns a man already on the edge into someone who it’s dangerous to be around. I’m a three lattes a day man usually, double shot if I can get it, so this really sets the cat among the pigeons.
But come the Thursday before the race it all changes. Last run, on to the carbs and by the time you’ve necked your pre-race beet juice and popped a caffeine pill, you’re standing on the start line on Cloud Nine ready to smile your way round those 26.2 miles.
Standing on the finish line I hope all those anchovies, Greek yoghurt, chicken soup and general irritability will have been worth it. In Kielder we trust.