Carb loading before a multi-day event

I’ve had a search but most posts deal with nutrition during multi-day events (great thread here), but what about carb loading before a multi-day event?

In two weeks time I’ll be undertaking 5 days of roughly 200km/day. I’m pretty lean (currently 180cm @ 70kg). I’m thinking I need more onboard fuel reserves as I haven’t done back-to-back days of these distances before.

Can any of the coaches (@Coach.Neal.H @Coach.Andy.T ?) give some tips on carb loading?

My understanding is increasing the calories a day before an event probably won’t make much of a difference. But I’m two weeks out, and this a 5 day ordeal - should I start increasing my portion sizes and loading up on the nutrition dense whole foods like avocados, quinoa, salmon etc?

Is it a case of finding that sweet spot of ‘max’ glycogen storage before to turns into fat? Or does it not matter because I’ll be dipping into fat reserves (and more) as the days tick over?


There are a couple of things you can do before the event to maximise carbohydrate stores. Firstly, with training in the lead up to the event, really reduce the overall duration of it, then after these sessions make sure you eat a good amount of carbs straight after, that prompts storage of carbohydrates in the muscles. In terms of the actual loading, generally 5ish days of ~8-10g of carbs per kilo of body weight is a good target to aim for, however this may be too much so play it by ear based on your bodies ability to deal with that carbohydrate load. You don’t want to be feeling bloated or sleep badly by eating too many carbs for your body or huge meals before bed.

In terms of your query about it being stored as fat rather than glycogen, that’s why low intensity exercise for an hour or so can help promote it being stored in the muscles as glycogen rather than going to fat stores. Another tip is the evening before the event itself, aim for more fructose as that will top up the liver stores as well, giving you that extra bit.

Good luck and let us know how it goes!


Amazing, thank-you.

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Hi Sir @Imminent, do you know what sort of pace you’ll be riding in the event, do you think it’ll be largely fat burn or will it including hills and surges that will be burning more glycogen?
Enjoy eating 5000+ Cals per day :slight_smile:

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Definitely mid-zone 2. I’m thinking to overall negatively split the 5 days, but also each day. My plan is to keep the heart rate between 120-130bpm.

My issue is the muscles just give out at a point, which I figure is more of a fuelling problem, so filling the calories will be the obsession…

Any other tips or things to think about, please let me know. Most of the info out there is more on ultra runners. They seem to be a chatty bunch. Cyclists less so.

This is what I did recently, I’m not saying it’s optimal :smiley:

I did 5 days, recovery day, then another 4 days when I was in Majorca in September. It was shorter distances than you, but still included five 100+ milers and every day included pushing myself on the hills.
Fuelling went well:

  • A fair sized breakfast including eggs and pastries;
  • On the bike, 2 ltrs of High5 sugar mix, water and coffee and cake stops plus a few gels;
  • A few platefuls of food in the evening with plenty of protein and carbs and lots of desserts.

I’d dropped my weight a bit before the holiday for the hill climbs and it stayed fairly steady (I think) during the holiday.

Muscle fatigue and heat were the biggest issues. Early on the heat and subsequently hitting high HR on the climbs was the limiting factor.
By the last day I really didn’t want to ride and I don’t know how I got through 103 miles with 11,500 feet of elevation. Stubbornness I think :slight_smile:

It’s definitely too easy to go to hard on day 1 when you’re feeling fresh and watch it go downhill from there. I like your idea of aiming to ramp it up as the days progress.

Mentally I always break down big activities into chunks and focus on the current chunk and also try to enjoy it. A smile always makes the miles easier :slight_smile:

I also bought a couple of new pairs of bib shorts. Not the sort of area you want to be having problems with :face_with_peeking_eye:

Good luck and have fun.