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A look at the effects of carbo loading on long distance runners.
By Greg Shepard
Published: Fall 1998
I believe the training principle of Carbo Loading is overrated. With all our improved tracks, running shoes and training methods, we are running distance races slower than ever. Almost all of our American distance records were set 15 to 30 years ago. (See the table on American high school and college distance records). Jim Ryan set the high school record in the mile back in 1965. It was reported that he ate a pregame meal of sauerkraut and wieners. Barry Sears, author of "The Zone", states, "There is enough stored energy in our fat cells to equal eating 1,700 pancakes." Apparently, stored fat is what Jim Ryan used for energy. Our American distance runners are also victims of the Big Gulp Society. In addition, we have been told to eat lots of pasta before an event. True Carbo Loading is a longer term, sophisticated high carbohydrate diet plan. It does not seem to be working very well. Our American distance runners are the poorest in history when compared to the rest of the world. (See chart on our 1997 results). Who are the world's best distance runners and what do they eat? The answer is the Kenyans. They dominate. When the Kenyans came to the United States to race, they learned their lesson the hard way. The Kenyans would eat like Americans and eat their way out of form. "The temptation can be big, "says Simeon Rono, a great Kenyan runner. The Kenyans countered our Big Gulp Society by providing their athletes with their own kitchen when they come to the United States. Kenyans also do not like sweet food. Giving chocolate to a Kenyan would not be welcome. They take no pills or supplements to enhance performance. They believe the secret is hard work. Moses Tanui, a Kenyan, won the 1996 Boston Marathon. He was asked what sport drink he used: Gatorade or Powerade? Tanui replied, "No sports drink, just plain water!" Our sports drinks are loaded with carbohydrates. Many of Kenya's best runners are developed at their Armed Forces Training Camp. Their diet is as follows: Red meat twice a day, cooking oil, fats and salt, dark green cabbage plus other green plants porridge from ground maize with water to drink. Sounds like Eating Like a Tiger. We used to eat steak, potatoes, corn, bread and milk before a football game back before the carbo loading era. Now, I would recommend a small steak, tossed salad and Tiger Water. No bread, milk, corn, or potatoes. Your body will learn how to use its stored energy in the fat cells in one to two weeks on the Tiger Nutrition System. Here is the bottom line. I believe our American coaches and athletes should take another look at the principle of carbo loading with an open mind, prepared to make a Paradigm Shift. Further research should be done. I am just asking the question: Is carbo loading overrated? ____________________________________________ ____________________________________________
American Distance Runners 1997 World Rankings ________________________________________ Men's
1,500: Only One in Top 30 Mile: Only One in Top 30 3,000: Only One in Top 30 Steeple: Nobody in Top 50 5,000: Only One in Top 30 10,000: Nobody in Top 30 Marathon: Nobody in Top 30 ___________ Women's
1,500: Nobody in Top 15 3,000: One in Top 15 5,000: Nobody in Top 15 10,000: Nobody in Top 15 Marathon: One in Top 50 (29th) ____________________________________________ ____________________________________________
American Records ____________________________________________ ________College Men_______College Women ____________________________________________ __________Year Set__________Year Set 1,500:______1981__________1990 Mile:_______1981__________1987 3,000:______1979__________1988 5,000:______1978__________1985 10,000:_____1982__________1992
___High School Men______High School Women __________Year Set__________Year Set 1,500:______1964__________1982 Mile:_______1965__________1982 3,000:______1986__________1975 5,000:______1964__________1979 10,000:_____1976__________1979 Marathon:___1973__________1984