When it comes to diets, athletes follow different rules than the rest of us. Whether we're looking at Michael Phelps' extra-large pizza dinner or Lolo Jones' 9,000-calories-a-day McDonald's habit, it's pretty clear that it takes a lot of food to fuel our more ambitious athletic pursuits — and marathons are at the top of that list. Even if you're not Allyson Felix, the sheer volume of calories (and those pariahs known as carbs) required for these events would blow your mind.
But, what exactly does it take to fuel a marathon athlete? The experts over at Runner's World have broken down the optimal regimen for proper nutrition while training for the big 26. The rumors are true: There is a lot of pasta involved. The author recommends at least three grams of carbohydrates per each pound of body weight — especially in the three to four days before the race.
The idea is to begin training the body to take in as much fluid and nutrients as possible leading up to the event, so that when you recharge mid-run, your body knows what to do with all the extra calories and liquid. But, it's not just about fuel: Experts suggest cutting out all but simple carbs in the few days ahead of the marathon, as excess fiber can weigh down your intestines. (And, nobody likes an awkward mid-race bathroom break.) Click through to Runner's World for the full rundown — and just in case you need a little carb-spiration for your current (or future) marathon training, we're just going to leave this grilled-cheese-recipe roundup here for you to peruse at your leisure. No pressure. (Runner's World)