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TOPIC: Low Carb and Running - help!

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October 1, 2013 11:52 AM
Hi All,

I've recently started to get in to running in a heavy way (it lets my A-type tendencies go off like happy fireworks!) and I was wondering if there are any long distance runners low-carbing it with success?

Now that I have a couple of 5 and 10K's under my belt, I've made it my goal to run a half marathon and I do understand that endurance athletics do require different macros/quantities than someone who walks for half an hour a day or goes for a jog a couple of times a week. What I don't agree with (or buy into) is that because I'm training for a half-marathon, I suddenly need to have ridiculous amounts of carbs. (270 grams seems excessive to me and when I have a high-carb day I definitely notice a difference in my running. I'm tired, I get winded quickly and overall feel like garbage)

What I want to know is for you low-carb runners, what are your macros looking like? I'm being careful and making sure I'm eating enough calories overall but I'm not sure about the breakdown between carbs/protein/fat.

What are you using as your carb sources? (quinoa? sweet potatoes/tubers? others?)

(Sidenote- I'm looking to lose weight as I go)

Thanks everyone; happy Tuesday!
October 1, 2013 12:21 PM
You may want to check out "The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance" by Phinney and Volek. They get into this type of info.

I believe you would want to be keto adapted for endurance activities. Which means, being in ketosis for several weeks. If you are carb cycling, you won't ever get there though.

You may want to check out this article - they introduce some of the concepts very well.

And a 2004 article by Phinney: (Summary below)

Both observational and prospectively designed studies support the conclusion that submaximal endurance performance can be sustained despite the virtual exclusion of carbohydrate from the human diet. Clearly this result does not automatically follow the casual implementation of dietary carbohydrate restriction, however, as careful attention to time for keto-adaptation, mineral nutriture, and constraint of the daily protein dose is required. Contradictory results in the scientific literature can be explained by the lack of attention to these lessons learned (and for the most part now forgotten) by the cultures that traditionally lived by hunting. Therapeutic use of ketogenic diets should not require constraint of most forms of physical labor or recreational activity, with the one caveat that anaerobic (ie, weight lifting or sprint) performance is limited by the low muscle glycogen levels induced by a ketogenic diet, and this would strongly discourage its use under most conditions of competitive athletics.
October 1, 2013 12:31 PM
You can also google a guy named Ben Greenfield, who did the Ironman in Kona this year while following a ketogenic diet.
October 1, 2013 1:11 PM
Nice posts, Ms. Kira! Those are excellent resources!

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