Let me be honest here: I know there’s no need for me to carbo-load.
For those running 26.2 miles, loading up on carbohydrates leading up to race day is a necessary step to ensure they’ve got enough glycogen stored for the long haul. For half-marathoners, we’re not really on the road for long enough to merit that kind of pre-race gluttony, at least in the name of glycogen-storing.
So I try to bridge the gap between the carby foods my body craves and the wholesome stuff that lets me remain a healthy runner (and a healthy human). I give you my two favorite pre-race meals.
Pumpkin chocolate-chip bread
One 15-oz. can pure pumpkin (or the roasted, pureed flesh of half of a small sugar pumpkin)
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
Two eggs (or 1/2 cup egg substitute)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ea.cinnamon, nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. dark chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine dry ingredients in one bowl, wet in another. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until just blended. Spoon batter into a loaf pan. Bake for about 50 minutes, until the top of the loaf is firm to the touch.
I can’t really claim this next one as my own, but the good people at Weight Watchers (seriously) found a winner with this roasted vegetable lasagna. Works with a wide variety of veggies!
3 medium raw eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 medium sweet red pepper(s), chopped
4 small tomatoes, plum, seeded and chopped
4 medium garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp table salt, or more to taste
1/4 tsp black pepper, or more to taste
9 lasagna noodles, cooked and drained
1/4 cup(s) grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup(s) part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
Preheat oven to 425°F. Roast vegetables and garlic with olive oil until tender — about 20 to 25 minutes. Puree half of vegetables, salt and pepper in food processor until smooth. Spoon 1/2 cup of vegetable purée into bottom of a 9 X 13-inch baking dish. Place three noodles over purée. Top with 1/2 cup of purée, 1/2 of remaining vegetables, 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese and 1/4 cup of mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers and then top with remaining 3 noodles, purée and cheese. Bake until bubbly, about 40 to 45 minutes. Slice into 6 pieces and serve.