Author Topic: Marathon Runner and new to Paleo Help! (a bit long..sorry)  (Read 13548 times)

Offline smiles

  • Private
  • *
  • Posts: 14
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
    • Email
Marathon Runner and new to Paleo Help! (a bit long..sorry)
« on: January 21, 2012, 04:02:30 PM »
I just started Paleo a week ago and although I love it I have a few questions. I am training for my 5th marathon and a week into paleo I am finding my long runs to be a bit exhausting. I run  3:17 marathon and I want to get down to 3:10. I started paleo because I was developing allergies and I figured I'd change my diet. Seven days ago I cut out all grains, all dairy, and the only sugar I eat is from fruit. I also stopped drinking alcohol January 1st and plan on sticking to it at least through the next 3 months. I run anywhere between 45-55 miles per week and after starting paleo I'm still trying to keep my mileage up. Maybe it's just a shock to my system. The marathon is 2 months away. Will this exhaustion go away? I'm not tired during the day.

I went through a couple of days of headaches but they have gone away. I eat fatty meats (bison, beef, bacon, and chicken with the skin), eat tons of eggs, cook with coconut oil and ghee, eat green leafy vegetables, snack on Macadamian and Brazilian nuts, and eat fruit (cherries, blueberry's, blackberry's, strawberries, bananas, pears, and watermelon).

My concern is since I started paleo my long runs have been a lot harder than when I wasn't on paleo. I have read through this forum the past week to get some answers and learn more but I wanted to ask you all what you thought of my situation. I have always been healthy and fit. I'm  a female, 5'9, and 125lbs. I went on a 10 mile run this afternoon and by mile 7 I was really tired. my questions are:

1. Should I eat more fatty meats at meal time? I try eat 2 meals a day.  I'm just not hungry after breakfast til dinner. And I snack on nuts and fruit throughout the day. I eat about a pound of meat a day total.

2. What should I be drinking to replace all the Gatorade I use to consume? I LOVED G2 (Gatorade with 1/2/ the sugar) but I stopped cold turkey and started drinking coconut water. It helps but I sometimes feel I need something else. I drink tons of water.

3. What other types of Paleo foods should I be eating? I know the book Paleo for the Athlete recommends a few carbs but I really DON'T want to go back to eating any types of starchy foods, dairy, grains, NOTHING!

4. Is this feeling just temporary?

I love how I feel without all the crap I use to put in my body but I don't want my running to suffer. There has to be a way!

Thoughts anyone?

Thank you so much for reading!!! I love this forum!

Offline Warren Dew

  • Global Moderator
  • General
  • ****
  • Posts: 5799
  • Karma: 371
    • View Profile
Re: Marathon Runner and new to Paleo Help! (a bit long..sorry)
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2012, 04:34:12 PM »
It's known that in ketosis, you initially lose some of your aerobic ability, but if you continue training you recover it after a month.  I can probably find the link to the study if you want.

I'd recommend getting some ketostix and seeing if you are in ketosis.  If you are, you may want to up the fats even more, and perhaps skip the sweet snacks, which can cause enough of an insulin release to drive fats out of the bloodstream.  At mealtimes, get meats that have even more fat content, since you are probably getting plenty of protein.  While actually running, drink water but nothing with any form of sugar to avoid interrupting your fat metabolism; you could bring some pemmican to snack on if you want calories during the run.

If you are not in ketosis, you should still be burning some fat in place of carbohydrate, but your muscle glycogen will be lower; I don't know how that works for distance running.





Offline smiles

  • Private
  • *
  • Posts: 14
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Marathon Runner and new to Paleo Help! (a bit long..sorry)
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2012, 04:41:48 PM »
Thank you Warren! I'll go get some ketostix and see! So, when I crave something sweet don't eat fruit? I crave something sweet after my runs and since i don't do sports drinks anymore is coconut water still ok? I can drink water during my runs and throughout the day but what do I do about these crazy sugar cravings?

Thanks :D

Offline smiles

  • Private
  • *
  • Posts: 14
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Marathon Runner and new to Paleo Help! (a bit long..sorry)
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2012, 06:23:19 PM »
Ok! So, I  got the ketostix and it says i'm 15mg (small). I'll definitely cut the fruit out..may 1 piece a day if that.

I just ate 3 grass fed beef hamburger patties with 3 eggs and a huge green leafy salad. For the first time I had a hard time finishing but I did it! I am 100% satisfied and full!  No sugar cravings at all!

I live next door to a Co Op store where everything is true to the paleo diet...(much better than whole foods). So, I have no excuse to not have quality food at all times (although it's a bit pricey). This diet isn't cheap!

I just hope this transition will only last about a month like Warren said. I really want to train AND live on this diet!

 :D

Offline Il Capo

  • General
  • ****
  • Posts: 1169
  • Karma: 56
    • View Profile
Re: Marathon Runner and new to Paleo Help! (a bit long..sorry)
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2012, 09:08:51 PM »
I really want to train AND live on this diet!

 :D

You probably won't like to hear this, but if you want to be healthy, get rid of the Marathons.

If you still want to run Marathons, against what's best for your health, then here are some fueling guidelines (not 100% paleo, but close enough) and training advice
 


Offline smiles

  • Private
  • *
  • Posts: 14
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Marathon Runner and new to Paleo Help! (a bit long..sorry)
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2012, 09:19:20 PM »
I really appreciate your comment Il Capo! But i've been a serious athlete for the past 25 years. Competitive swimmer for 15 and a serious runner for 10. I've trained with some of the best coaches in both sports and have seen people run and swim well into there 80's. This isn't something I do for kicks!  I know olympians in both sports who are retired and still run and are in the BEST of health. I know women well into their 40's who have had children and their marathon times are only getting better! I've never been injured and I definitely know a thing or 2 about health and fitness since from an early age. Paleo is something new to me and I love it too! I don't look at all the negative things people say about certain sports.

So, all that being said I love my marathons and I love the fantastic shape I'm in! Paleo is the way to go!

Offline smiles

  • Private
  • *
  • Posts: 14
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Marathon Runner and new to Paleo Help! (a bit long..sorry)
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2012, 09:22:19 PM »
I read mark's article. I think maybe he's a little bitter he can't run as much as he use to. happens a lot with serious athletes. I respect what he says but not everyone is built the same.

Offline smiles

  • Private
  • *
  • Posts: 14
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Marathon Runner and new to Paleo Help! (a bit long..sorry)
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2012, 09:29:15 PM »
Mark even says: "Not sure you got the message here. Of course I overtrained. Thatís what many many marathoners and triathletes do. Thatís the point. Any exercise IS good provided you do the right amount and allow the proper rest. Most who compete do not allow proper rest.

The necessary high carb diet is what promotes hyperinsulinemia Ė not the actual training. No sources necessary for that."

Read more: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/case-against-cardio/#ixzz1kA5xWsFf


He's right! You need proper rest which most serious high level athletes DON"T do. I learned that from years of swimming with hardly any rest. The only down side was I ended up hating the sport but my body thanks me everyday for doing it.

Offline Warren Dew

  • Global Moderator
  • General
  • ****
  • Posts: 5799
  • Karma: 371
    • View Profile
Re: Marathon Runner and new to Paleo Help! (a bit long..sorry)
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2012, 01:03:52 AM »
Ok! So, I  got the ketostix and it says i'm 15mg (small). I'll definitely cut the fruit out..may 1 piece a day if that.

Cutting back to one piece of fruit a day may be good, but I've found that once I'm in ketosis, eating more fat is the real key to increasing the ketone and energy level.

Getting it up to medium may be good for your training.  You may not be able to get it beyond that with a normal metabolism.  The large levels are really designed to warn people with type 1 diabetes when they might need insulin.

Quote
I just ate 3 grass fed beef hamburger patties with 3 eggs and a huge green leafy salad. For the first time I had a hard time finishing but I did it! I am 100% satisfied and full!  No sugar cravings at all!

That's the right idea!  How fatty is the hamburger you're using?  If you get 75% lean hamburger, you might be able to get the same energy while eating less lean - which could save a bit on expense.

If you still want to run Marathons, against what's best for your health, then here are some fueling guidelines (not 100% paleo, but close enough)

Bad guidelines for someone who trains in ketosis, in my opinion.  While it's true that muscle glycogen stores would be lower without Mark's recommended carb loading, it's also true that in ketosis, one uses up less than a fourth as much muscle glycogen:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6865776

Carb loading as Mark suggests would increase glycogen stores somewhat, but would also throw the athelete out of ketosis, so that glycogen would be used much faster.

In addition, it's been shown that cardiac muscle operates 28% more efficiently on ketones.  If that applies to skeletal muscle - which, granted, has not been proven - there could be a noticeable performance advantage to staying in ketosis for races as well as training.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2012, 03:23:54 PM by Warren Dew »

Offline smiles

  • Private
  • *
  • Posts: 14
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Marathon Runner and new to Paleo Help! (a bit long..sorry)
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2012, 11:00:11 AM »
Thanks Warren you really are helping me! The meat i'm getting is 80% lean. I thought that was a lot seeing that it had 23g of fat. I see now that it's not nearly enough (coming from a non fat diet I thought 23 was high!). Looking at some of the meat photos on the forum I see that I'm not getting nearly as much fat as I thought. I will stock up on more fatty meats for sure and yes it's much cheaper!

As far as ketostix, how often should I be testing myself? I tested again this morning and it had gone down to trace amount. But like you said more fat is key! I drink tons of water and this may be tmi but I'm getting my menstrual cycle this week (does that affect ketosis?).

Also, I read this from the forum is this true: "Just because the ketostix say 'very low' doesn't mean you're not in ketosis.  They only pick up excess ketones that spill into the urine - in some people this happens more than others.  Also, if you're burning the ketones for fuel then you're not going to have that much excess in the urine.  Ditto if you're well-hydrated, as this dilutes the ketones.

I rarely test above 'trace' - I tested yesterday afternoon after not eating all night, no breakfast and a lunch of bacon, eggs and spinach - still trace.  But I was definitely in ketosis.

I know I'm in ketosis when I'm thirsty (most of the time!)"


I'm always thirsty and drink tons of water. I also drink coconut water. Should I stop drinking that?

Thanks again!!!
« Last Edit: January 22, 2012, 11:02:33 AM by smiles »

Offline Talkurt

  • Sergeant
  • **
  • Posts: 114
  • Karma: 4
    • View Profile
Re: Marathon Runner and new to Paleo Help! (a bit long..sorry)
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2012, 01:18:25 PM »
As far as the keto stix are concerned ketosis will leave you on the low end. Those sticks are made for type 1 diabetics mostly. When they are in ketoacidosis their ketone levels in the urine are triple and quadruple what a ketogenic diet puts out. So low and trace are just fine, you are in ketosis.

What Il Capo said is a hard fact for a lot of runners but its true. Endurance sports are not a healthy thing for the human body. Mark Sisson, Robb Wolf, and Loren Cordain to name a few have said the same stuff. Compare the top spinters to the top marathoners. The spinters look like works of art and the marathoners look like skeletons.

The persistence hunting documentary clip had me convinced. Hook line and sinker, i didnt like learning the real truth after that either. All that said if you like it enough to still want to do it then thats great. Its not like its going to give you cancer or kill you in a few years, but to think its the most healthy way to train is the same as saying whole grains are heart healthy.


Offline Warren Dew

  • Global Moderator
  • General
  • ****
  • Posts: 5799
  • Karma: 371
    • View Profile
Re: Marathon Runner and new to Paleo Help! (a bit long..sorry)
« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2012, 05:18:06 PM »
As far as ketostix, how often should I be testing myself? I tested again this morning and it had gone down to trace amount. But like you said more fat is key! I drink tons of water and this may be tmi but I'm getting my menstrual cycle this week (does that affect ketosis?).

I would test once a day for the first month or so, and perhaps a few times after meals, or before and after a run, to get a feel for how it works with you.  After that, you'll probably only need to test when you're not sure if you're in ketosis or if you're curious about your levels.

I don't know how the menstrual cycle affects things.

Quote
Also, I read this from the forum is this true: "Just because the ketostix say 'very low' doesn't mean you're not in ketosis.  They only pick up excess ketones that spill into the urine - in some people this happens more than others.  Also, if you're burning the ketones for fuel then you're not going to have that much excess in the urine.

This part is pretty much correct.  I'm not so sure that one's degree of hydration affects the test levels, though I do agree that plenty of water is a good idea while in ketosis.

Offline smiles

  • Private
  • *
  • Posts: 14
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Marathon Runner and new to Paleo Help! (a bit long..sorry)
« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2012, 05:46:46 PM »
I wanted to give an update on my training success while keeping strict paleo! The marathon is in less than a month and all I can say is  ;D I have ran 4 marathons in the past on a high carb diet and this is by far the best i've EVER felt! I keep my carbs below 10g and I have increased my fats. I know there was a bit of skepticism about running marathons while being paleo but I have to say I have only seem positive results.

Example: I keep my mileage between 45-55 mile/week and aside from the first few weeks of my body adjusting to my new way of eating my training has dramatically improved! I ran 20 miles this morning with my pace being 8:00 min/mile...45 seconds slower than my marathon pace of 7:15 minutes/mile.

PA lot of people assume you have to carbo load while training for a marathon and you really don't. My meals consist of: Grass fed beef, chicken, and lamb, wild salmon, green leafy vegetables (mainly spinach, collards, swiss chard, kale), eggs (free range, no corn, no soy- from same place I get my grass fed beef), uncured bacon, macadamia nuts, avocados, ghee, almond oil, olive oil, and coconut vinegar.

Paleo has changed my life. I'll let you know how the marathon goes!

Offline Warren Dew

  • Global Moderator
  • General
  • ****
  • Posts: 5799
  • Karma: 371
    • View Profile
Re: Marathon Runner and new to Paleo Help! (a bit long..sorry)
« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2012, 08:42:04 PM »
Good to hear from you.  I'm looking forward to finding out how the marathon goes.

Offline smiles

  • Private
  • *
  • Posts: 14
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Marathon Runner and new to Paleo Help! (a bit long..sorry)
« Reply #14 on: February 24, 2012, 11:18:25 PM »
Thanks Warren! I forgot to add that i've been in Ketosis for the past 2 weeks! I finally got there by eliminating coconut water and all fruit. That was hard but I invested in Mountain Valley Spring water home delivery. It's amazing how much water I have been consuming. I never thought I would break my addiction to my post run gatorade and coconut water but WATER is all I really need!

Running an 8k this weekend and then marathon in 3 weeks. Will keep you updated!

Thanks for all your awesome posts!! I've learned so much from you and everyone!  :D