Alright, fellow runners! For those of you in Orlando this weekend for the Disney World marathon and half-marathon, it’s time to decide where those all-important pre-race carbs are going to be consumed!
Carb Loading Tips: Experts say the best carbs for increasing those super-important glycogen stores come from starchy carbohydrates like pasta, bread, rice, and potatoes. You should also have some protein alongside your carbs. Try to avoid sugary options, such as fruit and baked goods.
So let’s take a look at a few of our favorite carb-tastic treats!
Dinner Carb Loading
When planning for an early morning race, it’s at dinner the night before where you’ll truly pack your energy stores. And when it comes to starchy carbs, everyone knows the king of eats is pasta!
Epcot‘s Italy is THE place to find incredible dishes that will help you distribute your energy throughout the race.
My first pick? Definitely Via Napoli. This place has incredible pizza, but the pasta selection is fresh and delicious as well.
Be warned that the options here are baked and tend toward the heavier side, so you may want to make a few special orders to lighten them up a bit.
Next door to Via Napoli you’ll find the more upscale Tutto Italia. You can’t go wrong with either location when carb-loading.
If you find yourself in the Magic Kingdom the night before your big race, head over to Tony’s Town Square for a traditional dishes like their Chicken Parmigiana or Spaghetti with Meatballs.
The Multigrain Pasta Primavera is a great dish on the lunch menu. If you’re there for dinner and this sounds good, explain the situation to the server; perhaps they’ll be able to make you some!
We were super impressed on our last visit here, when I ordered the guest favorite Penna a la Vodka. My tip? Get the cheese plate for an appetizer and add some cheese into your pasta. Awesome flavor booster!
In addition to protein-packed spit-roasted meats, you’ll also find a good assortment of rice, couscous, and orzo dishes that will easily fill your carb quotient.
No park tickets? There are some spectacular options outside of the standard Disney park restaurants, too. At the Disney World Swan and Dolphin, try Il Mulino New York Trattoria for rustic, authentic Italian eats from the Abruzzi region. One of our favorite parts about this restaurant? They also serve half portions of their meals, so feel free to try two choices!
Looking for a high-end, contemporary approach? Consider the delicious La Luce by Donna Scala at the Hilton Bonnet Creek, within the Disney World gates. The handmade pastas and house sauces here are out of this world!
And don’t forget to follow up with Butterscotch Pudding (yep, I’m totally serious).
Not in the mood for noodles? No problem. We’ve got a couple of other options you might be able to grab on the go!
If it’s a snack you’re after, check out the Liberty Square Market and one of our most favorite snacks: piping hot Baked Potatoes!
We’ve even spotted Baked Sweet Potatoes there as well, which would give you even more nutrition for your glycogen buck!
The Bradley Falls Kiosk in Disney’s Animal Kingdom offers some great options, including a Vegetarian Asian Noodle Salad full of fresh veggies and flavored with a sweet/spicy sauce.
So what are your pre-race eats of choice? For those of you who are runners — or who are aspiring runners — chime in and let us know what your pick would be for Disney World carb-loading before your next big race!
runDisney Events Announced for 2012-2013
Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, January 10-13, 2013, Walt Disney World
Tinker Bell Half Marathon, January 18-20, 2013, Disneyland Resort
Disney’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend, February 22-24, 2012, Walt Disney World
Expedition Everest Challenge, May 4, 2013, Walt Disney World