Any ultrarunners?


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Great job!  It took major courage to head out there with an untested nutrition strategy, especially after the troubles you'd had on your long runs.  I wonder how much of your success is due to increased metabolic flexibility after acclimating to the diet and how much is due to the Vespa.  Have you been maintaining the diet since you started? (seems like mid-March from your Red Bull race report ...?)

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Thank you!

 

Switchblade805 - I was Whole30 compliant (100%) from mid March til mid April (33 days, then only small deviations like a single piece of bacon). Since then, I have had the occasional alcoholic drink, bit of cheese when out to dinner, a single chocolate chip cookie about 3 times (homemade --  I used to eat several) stuff like that.

 

And I'm more relaxed going out to dinner. I still specify the foods I don't eat, but I have come to accept that all but higher end restaurants use canola oil, and the servers/staff may just not know or admit it.

 

I still cook completely Whole30 and eat that way except for the occasional things I mention above. And I don't do cheat days.

 

 

Bethany -- I did consume a little Nuun during my 70 miler, it contains sorbitol (a sweetener). 

 

I don't plan to use VESPA for every long run or race, in part due to the cost, but more because I think I should be able to find a way to fuel on the coconut milk-sweetpotato-applesauce blend or even VFuel. Still experimenting. 

 

I do think that my success at the LH70miler could very well have been that it just took me 2 1/2 months to truly adapt to fat burning. We shall see going forward! 

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Ultrarunnergirl - I have had good luck so far with the homemade concoction similar to yours. I mashed a sweet potato, mixed in some coconut butter, coconut milk, and a couple compliant applesauce pouches. It made a huge batch but I froze them into cubes in my silicone ice cube tray and just use them as I need them. So far I've had good luck with it! I've only used it on a 12 & 14-miler so far, but I noticed improvements on how I felt after consuming it. This weekend I have a 15-miler. Going to have my homemade mixture and also going to test the waters with dates stuffed with homemade cashew/almond butter. I'm going to make them probably tomorrow, stick them into the freezer and then wrap them individually in wax paper, similar to how caramels are wrapped. We'll see how those work for me.

Question for you... How long did it take you to start feeling less need to eat during your runs & to start feeling strong on long runs not fueled with carbs prior? I'm imagining that my 15-miler might feel craptastic (along with my next few long runs) by not having carbs pre-long run, similar to how my 12 felt (I had 1/2 sweet potato before my 14-miler). I'm hoping they'll start feeling stronger sans carbs here soon... Or at least before my marathon at the end of September.

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So, the interesting thing about being fat adapted (and the way Vespa Power tells you to use their product) ... you should eat your protein+fat pre-workout meal, no carbs, then you should be able to run for 2-3 hours minimum with no additional calories. After that, the theory is to take in carbohydrate and fat. I found that eating in smaller amounts worked well (1/3 of a LARABAR at a time instead of half).

 

Fructose (found in dates and all fruit) did not help me. I ate dates at my 50 miler (fail) and bananas and dried apricots at my (very lackluster, walked it in the last few miles) 50K. Fructose is slower to digest (it must be converted to glucose by the liver) and can cause stomach issues. DURING exercise, it's better to stick with glucose or maltodextrin sources (those are not Whole30, though ...)

 

Honestly, the only run I've had that long that I felt that way was my 70 miler. (That was my "A" race for the year, and I always run low mileage for a month or so following).

 

It was kind of wild. I felt great energy-wise, and not like I needed any fuel, but finally ate some about 3 hours in because MY STOMACH STARTED GROWLING!

 

The Paleo Diet For Athletes by Loren Cordain was really helpful for me to understand what to eat pre, during, and post-run. I don't agree with every point he makes, but there is a lot of information to be gleaned from his book.

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I got the idea from another (very successful) ultrarunner. I broke off really tiny pieces at a time. It's kind of like eating "Pop Rocks" - very intense on the tongue!

 

Because I hadn't tried Nuun since going Whole30, I wasn't sure how the sorbitol (ie sugars) in it might affect me, so the main reason I ate little bits instead of drinking it was I didn't want to be stuck with a hydration pack full of it if I felt it wasn't going well. I wanted to stick with plain water.

 

I only used the Nuun as extra insurance against the cramping I experienced in my 50 miler, and the lethargy I felt in my 50k the month before. I hoped the magnesium & calcium would prevent it. While I can't say with certainty whether that was THE THING that prevented it, I plan to continue to use it going forward in races.

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Made it through my 15-miler today with only my pre-run meal (2 HB eggs, coconut butter w/macadamia nuts) and coconut water through my run! Had plenty of food with me, but never really felt the need for it. In hindsight, I probably could have eaten something around 10-11 miles and finished my run stronger. Woohoo!! I ate my plantain chips and 3 of my cashew/almond butter-stuffed dates immediately upon finishing (originally designated for mid-run fuel), came home and had some pulled pork and leftover sweet potato fries for post-run. Excited that things are starting to happen and this new lifestyle is starting to show in my running! Thanks ultrarunnergirl for letting me pick your brain (& I think I'm following you on twitter too) & for your tips!

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I'm on day 6 of W30 and am heading out for my first longish run (10 miles) since starting. I'm having a mostly regular breakfast minus all the veggies (2 egg whites, 1 egg 1/2 avocado and coffee with coconut milk) and will have some chicken breast and sweet potato when I get back. I expect to be slow, just hope to get through it. Luckily it's not too hot!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm an ultrarunner, who just took a year off to get both feet fixed surgically, and am back in the saddle. I've been paleo for several years now.

 

I would typically run between 18 and 35 miles on the weekend, of course through trails, then do short crossfit workouts during weeknights, with no additional miles those nights. I am starting that schedule again as I train for 2014's Beast Series/Lynchburg Series here in VA.

 

I trained with Amy Kubal (works for Robb Wolf) last year, and knowing my running/work/school schedule she still prescribed me a strict paleo diet. When I was running alot I had two cheat meals (not cheat days) a week, was allowed two ounces of 85% dark chocolate a week, and only 1-2 cups of coffee a day. I could only eat a larabar, 6-9 oz of sweet potato, or other paleo starch after a workout. I also could only have a protein shake after a long run. She was pretty strict but I felt amazing after doing her protocol while taking on the stress of ultrarunning.

 

She approved my mid-run snack, which at the time was either a larabar or my personal favorite, Paleo Plan's tapioca crepes stuffed with almond butter and sugar free jam. Again, I could only eat this during runs, but this combo gave me tons of energy and was the only "sweet" food I ate during the week, so I looked forward to working out. Post run I ate sweet potatoes, and pre-run was a simple egg and bacon breakfast usually, with my 1 cup of coffee (added coconut milk for good fat). I found this combo to be the best one for me to sustain energy during long runs. In case you're wondering, I always carried salt sticks, and two tapioca crepes in my pack. Additional easy grabs for unexpected long runs were pre-packaged baby food in the foil packs at stores like Target. be careful because sometimes these have alot of added sugars, but the right brand will have pureed sweet potatoes, apples, pears, etc. and that's it. These were life-savers for quick grabs.

 

Hope this helps and good luck!

 

 

 

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trailrunner87 - thanks for all the great info!  I looked up the crepe recipe, I'll have to try that for sure. Sounds like you had a great source of guidance and wisdom with Amy.

 

I'm running 17 miles this weekend... Not training for an ultra currently (possibly next year), but training for  26.2 at the end of September. My current favorite training fuel has been dates stuffed with homemade cashew/almond butter. I made it through a 15-mile run only on coconut water, but know I could have finished stronger & felt better had I eaten something around the 10-11 mile mark, although I still felt pretty decent without food. I've had a rough week of miles this week - a shortened training run on Monday due to being in a hotel and having a major time constraint, and then a craptastic run yesterday and a less-than-stellar run this morning (it felt better today, albeit not much, but was slower overall). I'm adding in walk intervals to my long runs, about a minute of walking every 2ish miles (I go by every 5-6 songs, so I don't have to constantly look at my watch). I'm really really hoping these less-than-stellar runs this week are only making me stronger for my long run on Saturday. Planning on coconut water (I take a swig at every walk break), nut butter dates, and some plantain chips (for the sodium content).  If time allows though, I might try to make up the crepes and try one toward the end of the long run on Saturday.

 

Thanks again for sharing your experience!

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I'm an ultrarunner, who just took a year off to get both feet fixed surgically, and am back in the saddle. I've been paleo for several years now.

 

I would typically run between 18 and 35 miles on the weekend, of course through trails, then do short crossfit workouts during weeknights, with no additional miles those nights. I am starting that schedule again as I train for 2014's Beast Series/Lynchburg Series here in VA.

 

I trained with Amy Kubal (works for Robb Wolf) last year, and knowing my running/work/school schedule she still prescribed me a strict paleo diet. When I was running alot I had two cheat meals (not cheat days) a week, was allowed two ounces of 85% dark chocolate a week, and only 1-2 cups of coffee a day. I could only eat a larabar, 6-9 oz of sweet potato, or other paleo starch after a workout. I also could only have a protein shake after a long run. She was pretty strict but I felt amazing after doing her protocol while taking on the stress of ultrarunning.

 

She approved my mid-run snack, which at the time was either a larabar or my personal favorite, Paleo Plan's tapioca crepes stuffed with almond butter and sugar free jam. Again, I could only eat this during runs, but this combo gave me tons of energy and was the only "sweet" food I ate during the week, so I looked forward to working out. Post run I ate sweet potatoes, and pre-run was a simple egg and bacon breakfast usually, with my 1 cup of coffee (added coconut milk for good fat). I found this combo to be the best one for me to sustain energy during long runs. In case you're wondering, I always carried salt sticks, and two tapioca crepes in my pack. Additional easy grabs for unexpected long runs were pre-packaged baby food in the foil packs at stores like Target. be careful because sometimes these have alot of added sugars, but the right brand will have pureed sweet potatoes, apples, pears, etc. and that's it. These were life-savers for quick grabs.

 

Hope this helps and good luck!

 

Thanks for the ideas on the crepes! Glad to hear you are running well on this fuel. Did you ever have any trouble with cramping or leg pain?

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So I just found this post on MDA last night, wanted to share and see what endurance athletes thought, if anyone has tried it, if it worked, etc...

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/how-to-fuel-a-marathon/#axzz2bKpSDtXJ

It talks about "train low, race high" in regards to carb consumption. It mentions keeping carbs lower during training and then essentially carb loading with the standard carbs like sweet potatoes, including having sweet potato and/or banana the morning of the race.

So, just looking for thoughts out there... Wondering how beneficial it might be to me on race day if I train with lower carb consumption and race having had a couple days of higher carbs and a race-day breakfast that included carbs? Obviously I won't be running my marathon to be a fat-burner, I'll be running it with performance goals in mind.

There's also another article linked at the beginning of this post that discusses a training strategy:

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/how-to-train-for-a-marathon/#axzz2bKpSDtXJ

Any input/advice is appreciated!!

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  • 2 months later...
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Apologies, everyone -- I never posted to this thread about my VESPA experience.

 

Here is my race report: http://www.ultrarunnergirl.blogspot.com/2013/06/laurel-highlands-70-miler-modern-day.html

 

And my more in-depth analysis of my fueling: http://www.ultrarunnergirl.blogspot.com/2013/08/fat-adapted-running-ultra-on-paleo-diet.html

 

Happy running!!

 

Kirstin

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I am really in awe of you guys -- I'm hoping to successfully complete my second full marathon December 1st, but 50+ miles, WOW!!. 

 

Just found the paleo approach in May, just completed a Whole60, but haven't actually gone off-plan for reintro yet.  My runs on Whole30 plan have been a struggle - I don't do well with food + exercise.  But if it can take you younger, fitter folk a couple of months to see the fat adaptation, then I will just keep plugging away at it.  I read Stu Mittleman's "Slow Burn" last year, which is pretty close to paleo and I'm working through the Loren Cordain book now. 

 

Last night after a good short mid-week run (2 miles), I woke up in the night with SEVERE muscle spasms in my groin/inner thigh - think charley horse on the whole leg!  I'm guessing electrolyte issues, so I'll check the elete stuff first, since I have major blood sugar issues.  Any other suggestions would be welcome.

 

Thanks, everyone, for the great ideas and keep on being awe-inspiring!

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Whole60, wow, way to stick to it.

 

I went about 45 days. In hindsight I wish I had done a very careful reintroduction so I would know exactly how which foods affected me. I didn't go hog wild or anything but I didn't do the re-intro protocol as prescribed because I didn't really have a desire to eat much of the non-compliant foods I had given up.

 

It definitely took me several months to become "fat-adapted." I have several blog posts about it all if you haven't read them -- full of lots of details. On the other hand, my friend Katie adapted pretty much immediately. There are links to her experiences in my blog posts as well.

 

Charley horses - I highly recommend taking a magnesium supplement. It's fairly common for people to have a deficiency. I use Natural Calm. Get the plain "flavor" (the raspberry lemon is sweetened).

 

Also, as I wrote here, make sure to eat lots of high carb veggies like sweet potatoes, butternut squash, beets, parsnips in the days leading up to a race or big run.

Good luck in your marathon!

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  • 4 years later...

Following this thread since I am starting training for my first 50 in March and plan to stay as Whole30 as possible. On day 23 of Whole30 now and can see this being a lasting thing, but curious about it in conjunction with training. Many critics say training without grains isn't a good idea but I'm not so sure??

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30 minutes ago, AngiePagan said:

Following this thread since I am starting training for my first 50 in March and plan to stay as Whole30 as possible. On day 23 of Whole30 now and can see this being a lasting thing, but curious about it in conjunction with training. Many critics say training without grains isn't a good idea but I'm not so sure??

Hi AngiePagan,

Nice work! You certainly don't need grains for training. High carb veggies are more nutritious. See my blog for fueling options and ideas and experiences of other ultrarunners who have done Whole30.

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