Carbo-Loading Tips

It’s always important to get a good meal into your system leading up to your long runs and races, this is a rule that I’ve always followed. Ensuring that your system is topped off with enough carbohydrates can give you that extra edge you need as you tackle your race; 5K to the marathon distance, all the way up to 100 Mile events. I’ve always prescribed to some form of carbo-loading, starting all the way back in high school with pasta parties before cross country and indoor/outdoor track meets. In this blog post, I’m going to walk you through what I had before my latest race and then provide you tips on pre-race carbo-loading and fueling strategies.


Applebee’s (#Sponsored) reached out to me and offered a chance to try out their new Neighborhood Pastas offering to help me carbo-load before my race at the Heart of Duncanville 5K last weekend. I made sure to follow my advice and gave their new menu a try.

  • Applebee’s Neighborhood Pasta menu starts at $11.99 and features five pasta dishes. All pasta items come with a delicious Signature Breadstick, brushed with garlic and parsley:
    • Classic Broccoli Chicken Alfredo
    • Chef Bulgarelli’s Stuffed Rigatoni and Tomato Meat Sauce
    • Creamy Penne Pasta with Sliced Prime Rib
    • Cajun Pasta with Blackened Shrimp
    • Cajun Pasta with Blackened Chicken


I chose the Bulgarelli’s Stuffed Rigatoni and Tomato Meat Sauce as my pre-race meal. If you end up going to eat at Applebee’s I highly recommend this dish. The rigatoni was stuffed with ricotta and romano and topped with melted mozzarella and parmesan and came with a breadstick. The meal was very tasty and filled me up just enough as I’m not a huge fan of overindulging too much the night before a race. No matter what option you end up choosing, these new pasta dishes are sure to fuel you up for whatever life throws your way.


One really cool thing that Applebee’s is doing is that in light of the upcoming New York City Marathon, they are hosting a Pastathon on November 3rd. All registered runners + their guests (up to 6!) can sign up to come to their 205 W. 50th St restaurant for a FREE bowl of their new pastas served with their signature breadstick. To reserve your spot visit If you happen to be running the NYC Marathon this year, don’t miss out on this awesome event!

Now that you’ve seen what a typical pre-race meal for me looks like, here are a few quick tips to think about before your race:

  • When Should I Eat Dinner? Do not over consume. Dinner should be on the lighter side, but carb-heavy. Eat dinner earlier so you that your body has more time to digest. I also recommend eating a heavier lunch and lighter dinner.
  • What Should I Eat For Dinner? What to eat before your race generally comes down to what works best for your body. My general pre-race go to dinner is pasta with either a lot of cheese, chicken or both. I recommend testing out what works for you by doing a test run of your pre-race meal a few times in the lead up to your big race. Choose the food you are planning to eat the night before your race and eat that before the long runs you have planned in your training cycle as a test run for when it matters the most. Practice makes perfect.
  • What to Drink? Again, I’m a firm believer in not changing up your normal routine very much. I usually have a diet soda with dinner just about every day of the week so when it comes to the night before a race I still have my soda. That being said, I do try to limit my intake of any other unnecessary drinks and stick to water for the most part. In the few days leading up to a race I also increase my water intake to help hydrate myself adequately.
  • What Should I Eat For Breakfast? Don’t stop fueling at dinner, on race-day make sure to wake up 2-3 hours before your event. Eat some easily digestible carbs with a mix of fats and protein to prolong hunger (my go to is either oatmeal with peanut butter or a peanut butter jelly sandwich).

Thanks for giving this blog post a read. Let me know what your go-to pre-race dinner and breakfast meals are in the comments below and what your nutrition strategy is going into your goal races!

*This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Applebee’s. The opinions and text are all mine.


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