After last year's cancelation due to Hurricane Sandy, the New York City marathon returns this Sunday, much to the delight of endurance maniacs everywhere. For runners who've been carefully maintaining their diets, the storied "Carbo Load" offers a chance to get a little bit crazy on pastas, potatoes and bread products to fuel the main event. Experts suggest getting your carbs on two nights before the race so you're not stuck feeling bloated on the big day, which means you should seek out these comforting dishes on Friday—perfect for date night! Even if you're not running on Sunday, who needs an excuse to eat deliciously decadent pasta? That's what I thought.

(Courtesy Potatopia's Facebook)

POTATOPIA So long as you avoid the call of cheesy, saucy french fries, this newly opened West Village eatery is an ideal spot to get your carb on. Opt for a baked potato or, better yet, a baked sweet potato for maximum vitamin goodness and then add on lots of veggies and some lean grilled chicken or steak to bulk it up. 378 Sixth Avenue at Waverly Place

Via Yelp

BURRITO BOX Any of our favorite spots will get the job done, but this Hell's Kitchen spot specializes in giant, rice-filled burritos that can satisfy any pre-run craving. Keep it simple with a grilled chicken or grilled steak burrito, or nix the meat completely with hearty grilled portabello or grilled tofu—just make sure you tell them to hold the cheese and sour cream. Regardless of the filling, you'll be satiated and ready to rest up for your 26.2 mile jaunt through the city. 885 9th Avenue between 57th and 58th Streets

(Janna S./Yelp)

RISOTTERIA This Italian rice staple usually comes loaded with enough butter and cheese to kill even the strongest of tickers, but this West Village eatery eschews the dairy and meat in favor of healthful veggie stocks and flavorful seasonings, perfect for carbo loading without the added fat. The Vialone Nano risotti with roasted garlic, arugula and oven dried tomato packs in tons of rich, spicy flavor; the fresh lemon and pine nuts brings brightness to the dish and also a little protein to fuel those muscles. If you simply cannot live without the cheese—or you're a carnivore—they also do a classic parmesan cheese risotto made with chicken stock in addition to versions with calamari, pesto, and even a bolognese sauce. 270 Bleecker Street between 6th and 7th Avenues

CASA NONNA Where better than your grandmother's house to fill up on comforting pasta dishes before you embark on an insanely long run? This Hell's Kitchen restaurant offers a special deal for runners Friday through Sunday: bottomless "Marathon" pasta bowls. They're offering all-you-can-eat Pici alla Toscana, twisted pasta strands in a Tuscan beef-pork ragu for just $22. Vegetarians need not fret, though; there's a vegetarian option as well. 310 W 38th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues

via Karen L. on Yelp

EATALY Of course Batali's ode to Italian cuisine should be included here, if only for the fact that there are multiple restaurants all in one place. The most obvious choice would be La Pizza & La Pasta, where you can get both bready dishes all at one counter. Start with with one of the delicious pizzas, like the Marinara ($11) with zesty tomato sauce and garlic to make up for its lack of cheese or the Verduretta ($18) with meaty eggplant and zucchini. After you've housed a pizza, move to the pasta section, where you'll find dishes like Gnocchi ($19) with braise lamb shank ragu and sweet Ravioli di Zucca ($17) filled with roasted squash and grana padano cheese. You should, of course, wash it all down with an Italian beer or two—for extra carby goodness! Don't worry about all those calories—you're running over 25 miles, after all. 200 5th Avenue at 23rd Street

The Scuttlebutt via Ursula J. on Yelp

SALTIE This diminutive Williamsburg spot assembles some of the greatest sandwiches around, stuffed with all manner of veggies, fish, meats and other fillings, most of which are stuffed between two slices of thick focaccia. We're suckers for the Spanish Armada, which comes with soft, dense and savory potato tortilla and some pimenton aioli for richness and moisture. For the messiest good time ever, opt for the Scuttlebutt: hardboiled egg, feta, capers, black olive, pickled vegetables and pimenton aioli. It's practically a knife-and-fork job and definitely filling on all counts. Since you're already there, you may as well also pick up some of their delicious lavender shortbread, a muffin or maybe and Adult Chip Cookie for a post-run treat. 378 Metropolitan Avenue between Havemeyer and Marcy


THE LEOPARD/IL GATTOPARDO Whether you're looking to bulk up before race day or want to unwind post-run with a plate of delicious pasta, these sister restaurants have got you covered. They're both offering a $24 “Carbo-Combo,” which gives you a sampler plate of three of their pastas. Gorge on Butternut Squash ravioli with thyme-walnut sauce, Spaghetti "Chitarra" with fresh tomato and basil sauce and Semolina Gnocchi "alla Romana" with a creamy Asiago fondue. Unlike some other specials being offered for race day, you don't need to show your bib to get the special, so non-runners can get in on the eats as well. 1 West 67th Street near Central Park West // 13-15 W 54th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues