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Carb Load and Hydration Week is here! from Average_Jbob's blog

It's now just under 1 week until the Spartan Super in Asheville, N.C. so you know what that means . . . (or maybe you don't)  . . . it's Carb Load and Hydration Week!


(you:) What is Carb Load and Hydration Week?


Good question!  It's the BEST part of any training schedule!  It's the 6 days leading up to an event where you TAKE A BREAK from any training you have been doing, take it easy, and allow your body to RECOVER so you are well rested for your event!


(you:) But why is it called Carb Load and Hydration Week instead of Be Lazy and Rest Week?


Another great question!  Up until this point your emphasis has been on TRAINING. . .but for these 6 glorious days you shift that emphasis to EATING and DRINKING ONLY!  Of course, you need to be smart about what kind of foods you are eating and what liquids you are drinking. . .think of this as the period of time where you ALREADY have your body as physically prepared as it's going to be (if you haven't got it trained up yet, nothing in these 6 days is going to really tip the scales in your favor) and now you need to make sure it's properly fueled and well oiled.  (Food is the fuel and Liquids are the oil).


(you:) Why do you call it a Week when it's only 6 days?


Really?  Come on. . .I think you're getting caught up in the minutia and missing the bigger point here. . .but it stems from most of my events being on a Saturday and it being easier for me to mentally assign Sunday as the start of my training week. . .so the Carb Load and Hydration Week starts on Sunday and ends at the Event. . .I've gotten so used to the 6 days that even when I have a Sunday event I will slide the start of my Carb Load and Hydration Week to Monday so as to stay with 6 days.


(you:) Just how many times are you going to say Carb Load and Hydration Week in this post?


. . .moving on!

During this 6 days I try to make sure that the majority of my food is high in Carbs. . .Pasta, Bread, Nuts. . .balance in a few fruits also (of course). . .but around day 5 I will cut back on anything high in fiber, and on day 6 I will cut it out completely.  The Carb aspect is easy enough to understand. . .if you've been training regularly and pushing yourself up to this point, then your body has become used to the fact that it's going to need to store carbs in your muscle tissue in order to have them readily available for 'quick-burn-energy'. . .so when you eat a lot of carbs during these 6 days your body will continue doing what it's learned to do and store them up. . .do this correctly by taking it easy for these 6 days and your body will not be burning off the carbs like it normally would during your training, essentially creating a large stockpile of fuel ready for easy access come race day!  I cut back on the fiber when I do simply because I've learned that my body reacts better on race day the less my digestive tract has to think about. . .and fiber gives it TOO MUCH to think about, if you know what I mean. . .if you don't. . .just realize that the only MOVEMENT I want on race day is my body moving around the course!


Hydration is also a pretty easy concept to understand. . .you want to make sure that your muscles and joints are properly lubricated so that they slide and move easily without grinding and tearing. . .like oil in a car engine!  It wouldn't matter how much gas you put in your car, if you didn't keep the engine properly lubricated it's going to break down!  Likewise, you can Carb Load properly and have all the energy stores you need. . .but if you don't properly Hydrate then you are going to run a very high risk of injuring your joints or muscles!  Now, simply drinking a lot of water might seem like a good idea. . .and it's honestly NOT BAD. . .but you might actually find that you have MORE muscle cramps if you do.


(you:) Wait a minute. . .you said I should hydrate. . .but now you are saying I'll get muscle cramps?


Simply drinking MORE WATER can cause a greater chance of muscle cramps on your race day BECAUSE it causes you to pee more AND you will be peeing away some very valuable electrolytes that you'll NEED on race day!  You need to be putting electrolytes BACK INTO your body AS you hydrate in order to balance this out!  SO. . .what I have learned works is a basic 2 - 1 mixture of an electrolyte drink to water.  For me, it looks like this:  2 20oz bottles of Gatorade and 1 20oz bottle of water a day.  I'll simply refill one of the 20oz bottles of Gatorade with water after I'm done with it.  That's 60oz of liquid a day with a 2 -1 mixture ration of electrolyte drink and water!  You might drink more or less than that, but the important part is that you replenish your body with electrolytes as you up the liquid amount so that come race day you are well lubricated AND less prone to cramps!


Now, you CAN do SOME exercise during this 6 week period. . .but I highly advise against anything that pushes you at all!  I'll emphasize stretching just to keep loose. . .and maybe around day 4 I'll do a VERY short VERY light jog with full equipment just as a mental shake down so that I know everything feels good in my joints and muscles. . .and to squelch any final nagging issues with gear choices.  But really, the hardest part of this 6 day period should be that you KNOW you are only a few days away from that event you've been training for. . .and there's nothing else left to do from a training standpoint. . .you're either physically ready or you aren't. . .so all you can do at this point is rest, eat, drink, and wish that you could just start already!


For me, I've been checking the weather reports for the Asheville area (black mountains just east of Asheville actually) and so far it shows a high of 83 degrees and scattered thunderstorms!  It can all change quickly in the next few days. . .but I'm mentally prepping myself for constant rain!  I'm running it with my 16 year old son and it will be his 1st Spartan Super (8-10 miles, 24-29 obstacles). . .he's done Spartan Sprints before (3-5 miles, 20-23 obstacles) but this will be his second stop on his first ever Spartan TriFecta (doing all 3 distances in 1 calendar year. . .Sprint, Super, and Beast)!  I'm really looking forward to seeing him accomplish his goal and it's shaping up to be a great event with the possibility of some 'interesting' weather!


My next post will be a little delayed due to traveling. . .but it will be a recap of the event!  Until then, I'm going to get back to my rigorous schedule of eating, drinking and resting!


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By Average_Jbob
Added Jul 30

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