problems with carbohydrates

I am a bit confused regarding the advice i see everywhere about eating carbohydrates before a marathon,

I read about "carb loading" and things like that.  I am running the Edinburgh marathon in 27 May

I know that it may make sense on paper......................but here is my little problem: I  don't normally eat carbohydrates, they are not part of my diet. They make me feel sickly!

when i run i eat toast or a little bit of cereal before a long run, for energy, and during a long run energy drink/gels, but only when i run. On those moments i feel my body is asking for it, so i follow what it tells me.

Normally i may have a toast for breakfast, but that's the only "carbohydratey thing i have". I do not eat potatoes (I hate them), or pasta or much bread or rice.........and the reason is simply they don't agree with me. I feel bloated and sick, ...........and my idea of hell is a plate of pasta!  I just can't cope with it, i feel sick just looking at it. Potatoes make me gag,

Pizza i  can tolerate only if it is very extra thin pan. I can have a little bit of bread, and i eat lots of yogurt and milk (that contains carbs)

There are some times (occasionaly) when my body is asking me for chocolate or something sweet, so i eat it. But otherwise I a a protein sort of person.  My diet is basically fish, meat, eggs, seafood, poultry,

basically the only carbs i get are from milk and yogurt, and (only on long runs) energy drinks/gel as i feel i need them.

I wonder if I should stick with my way of eating, which works for me. I am athletic and i run. I am following my schedule/training for my marathon and i feel good.

So i reason that would be better for me not to change my diet drastically.  Or should i follow the advice given and try to add carbs? but in that case, what if my body reacts badly?     the few times i tried i suffered from diahrrea, and that'd be embarrasing and inconvenient so close to a marathon.............................

I am confused as if i was to follow tha advice given, i end up bloated, sickly................


  • If you're feeling fine doing what you do then I'd carry on the same way.

    Also you might want to read -

    If you ignore the rather disturbing image of him on the website, Phil Maffetone has some interesting things to say image
  • I agree with Ian - it's all about what works for you.
    A friend of mine ran Brighton Marathon recently using dried fruit for fuel with no carb loading as she really can't tolerate carbs. She did really well.
    I use nuts and low GI foods that supposedly release energy slowly but over a long period of time. I also ran the marathon with a camel back filled with a sports drink containing electrolytes and carbs and that was great.
    Find what works for you, the last thing you want on race day is an upset stomach stopping you enjoying the day!
    Good luck
  • RicFRicF ✭✭✭
    When you think about it, all our carbohydrate foods are; but for human intervention, unnatural. We have become so familiar with them that we forget our evolved diet is actually protein based. Its safe to assume that 100,000 years ago our ancestors didn't jog out of Africa on spuds.
  • I read a book recently called Racing Weight. It gives diet plans for a few top athletes to give you some idea of what different people eat when training/racing. Can't remember his name but there's one guy with something like Crohn's disease who eats minimal carbs yet still performs at elite level.

    If you've been following a training plan, increasing your mileage and getting in the long runs and managing okay on a low carb diet, then I'd say stick with it. Starting to chug back extra carbs now when you already know they don't really agree with you would most likely just make you feel(or actually BE) sick...

  • Thank you for your advice.

    Now after having done the marathon, i must say that it was a good idea not to change the way i eat.

    I managed to complete the marahton in 5.18, and i felt ok,

    Did not do any carb-loading the day before, or anything like that. I just had a dinner as i usually do. Breakfast also, i stuck to my usual, egg, milk, yogurt............

    So yes, i agree with RicF, maybe some of us are not meant to eat so many carbs.

    There is something i must confess............on the day i was talked into having some gels, so i did. Big mistake! they made me sick! wasting minutes visiting the loo........................

    So I've learn my lesson.........i may not need them,


    Something strange happened that night: i felt cravings for fatty and protein food. Even sunday night at dinner the sight of carbs or sugar made me sick..............

    not  even after running a marathon my body aks me for carbohydrates! i think that means something.

    so i treated myself to a traditional Scottish deep fried haggis and a deep fried cheeseburger! 


  • Carbohydrates are an ideal source of energy for the body. This is because they can be converted more readily into glucose, the form of sugar that is transported and used by the body.

    Thanks in advance,

  • Well, if it aint broke, don't fix it. If you find your stamina is a bit shot, it could be worth relooking at the carb issue but if your fine not eating it do what works. The fact your questioning it though makes me wonder whats gone wrong for you to be asking?


    If your eating gels and toast though, you are eating carbs and not just carbs but the worst type, they are refined which means you will feel groggy about 20 mins after taking them and they have poor nutritional value, you may get a few 'added' nutritional bits, say added vitamin C and so on but its just manufacturers adding it in, you can get the exact same thing from a pill.


    Switch to complex carbs (whole rolled oats, multigrain pasta, wholegrain rice, grains and so on) these will get you more sustained energy for your running rather then filling your body with what amounts to a lump of refined nutritionless sugar, it may even change how you feel about carbohydrates if you do. I wouldn't advocate eating a carb rich diet to anyone but actually having a small amount of carbs could help and it does seem your already eating them already, switching could be something to try?

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