Day 15 - Running still awful


kcwoodhead

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I'm on Day 15 and still struggling big time when it comes to running. I have a marathon in January and it is about time to start ramping up, but I'm going in the opposite direction. My long run through the summer has been 8/9 miles and needs to be closer to 10/12 by the end of the month to be where I want to be in my training. Since starting Whole30, I cannot even run 4 miles now. I keep hearing it might take more time, but I'm not really interested in ending this this thing completely out of running shape, starting from scratch, and killing myself trying to get back on track.

I feel like my body is choosing to use muscle for fuel as opposed to fat. I'm eating carbs with each meal to try to ensure I'm getting as much as I can. I'm not eating carbs before my runs, as prescribed. I run mostly in the morning and for the past year or so had gotten to where I did not eat anything before my run. I'm doing some cashews or some other protein/fat combo right now. I could try carbs before the workouts, but I don't think that is necessarily the answer either as I do believe there is enough glycogen/whatever else to get me through an hour long workout without needing anything else (or at least there should be).

I really want this to work out, but as said above really do not want to lose every ounce of running fitness I worked to maintain through our lovely Texas summer. I feel like I'm on a slippery slope - continuing to head down the path of losing fitness with the small hope it turns around, but worried at the same time I may easily arrive at day 30 not able to even run a mile and having lost more muscle.

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Here's the thing - it will be awful for a period determined by how not whole 30 you were eating before.

But it gets better. Immensely better. Like running those distances feels better.

For me it took a couple of months of cleaning out my diet. But then it came on so much better.

Stick with it. You've only got two weeks to go. What's another two weeks? You're not losing your running fitness if youre still out there -your muscles still know. If you're worried your cardio endurance won't be up for 10 miles try adding something else to keep that up.

Just two more weeks. Then see...

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I'm with bodygeek! You are almost there! Endurance athletes I find have one of the hardest transitions into whole 30 due to decline in energy and performance. If you can stick it through the beginning, the pay off is big in the end!

Keep the protein up and you will maintain all you lean muscle mass.

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The Jamaican olympic running team eat tons of sweet potatoes from what I've heard and they are all fast and have great bodies. Try eating lots of sweet potatoes, they're delish!

Sigh. I'm eating sweet potatoes almost every day, yet am not fast and do not have a great body :-)

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Keep going! Your endurance will return ten-fold once your body adjusts to this new way of living and eating. You have plenty of time to build your base and it will be easier because your recovery times will be shorter. Really, it's true. Be patient with your body. It's working hard to undo the last ???? years of eating the way you used to.

Eat more fat. Eat more carbs. Eat more protein. Don't be afraid to mix it up a little bit and play around with the fat/carb/protein balance till you find what works for you. It was adding more fat in the form of avocados that worked for me. And I eat sweet potatoes almost every day too!

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Ditto, the keep it up posts. I suffered until, oddly, 38 days. What I gained in endurance and recovery is more than worth the 38 days of suffering. Don't get too hung up on your miles right now. You have plenty of time. Focus on shorter and faster runs. Add in lunges, butt kicks, high knees and body weight squats. Your endurance will come back and You'll be super strong. I had amazing results from upping my fat intake. I eat 2 Tbsp of coconut butter before bed. Don't know why this helps but it does. Hang in there!

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I'm wondering if I screwed up. I have an Ultra ragnar in less than 2 weeks and I started my whole 30 yesterday. I couldn't put it off any longer, but now I don't know how my running will be affected...not to mention I'm not much of an runner anyway, but do endurance cycling. Any thoughts or suggestions for the race?

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Jan, how were you eating before? If you're transitioning from a typical American diet, your body will go through hormonal and metabolic changes that take some time to get through. Some people see a performance downturn during the transition, others do not.

I have been eating a paleo diet for about a year now, and have run the Hood to Coast relay the past six years. I haven't done it on an ultra team, but I had no issues with energy or performance while fueling my relay last weekend with canned salmon, coconut butter (ate it straight from the jar), and Larabars. I also had a couple of meals... 3/4 lb of roast beef and 1.5 lbs of sauteed veggies from the New Season's deli the first evening, and some ham and eggs and a couple of bananas for breakfast the next morning.

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Just to add my experience in here to help anyone who needs to see there is a light at the end of the tunnel - I am 31, a recreational runner/hiker for about the past 4 or 5 years, currently averaging around 15-20 mpw. I am on Day 22 of my Whole30 (ok so it's been a nearly compliant Whole30, technically I probably should've started over after eating some GF pasta at work event a couple weeks ago, but I digress....) I did eat mostly paleo for a couple of weeks leading up to Day 1 so had a bit of a head start as far as getting my body used to not relying on the simple carbs. So there you go, a bit of background info.

Up through last weekend (Day 14), my runs were HORRIBLE. My low point was last Saturday, I attempted 7 miles in about 70F/partly cloudy weather and bonked big time, after about 4 miles I felt like there were lead weights in my limbs and acid coursing through my body. I found myself wondering how could I embrace this style of eating if it made my workouts this awful, even though I could already see other benefits (getting thinner, inflammation decreasing, sleeping better, moods stabilized, etc etc etc etc....).

I've sinced turned a corner. Earlier this week I noticed the shorter distances getting easier again. Yesterday I ran a leisurely 8 miles and didn't experience the fatigue of last weekend. I was uncomfortable because it was hot, but I had energy up through the end! No feelings of acid or lead weights to speak of. Also, I maintained energy through the rest of the day and woke up this morning feeling NOTHING in the way of stiffness in joints or muscles, where usually after a longer run I feel pretty creaky getting up the next morning.

So I hope this continues, I am really encouraged now. Best of luck to all!

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Well, today is day 31. I have lost ~8 lbs overall. Normally, I'd say that is awesome. However, 5 lbs of that was muscle, which would explain my sudden inability to run/workout as I had before the plan. I'm starting reintroduction today. Safe to say my body didn't get the message to burn fat and went after muscle instead. It is possible I need longer on the plan but am not willing to sacrifice any more muscle and have a marathon to train for that I'm now starting from scratch vs. the 8/9 mile long runs I was doing pre-Whole30.

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KC, you never posted what your typical food intake looked like. It's very possible that you were under-eating like whoa and your body couldn't fuel itself with anything BUT muscle.

Congrats on sticking out the full 30 days though, even in light of the decrease in performance. Good luck with the training!

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I ballparked my calories a few times and was usually around 1300-1800 (higher end on workout days) daily. My BMR is just under 1300, so I shouldn't have ever been going too far below what I needed for the day. I was rarely hungry in between meals which was a nice change vs. my previous diet.

I've never been as diligent about looking at body composition at the high and low ends of weight for me, so I'm wondering if in the past when I've lost weight it as also been muscle (ie I seem to always get DEXA done when my weight is high, but never when it is at its low points).

The mysteries of our bodies continues.... :-)

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How tall are you? In my opinion, even if you're 5'0", if you're training for a marathon, that is NOT ENOUGH FOOD!

It's interesting that you aren't hungry between meals, but I think the decrease in performance is really the big indicator in your situation of not having enough fuel. Running is catabolic in nature, so you really do have to make SURE that you're eating enough food so that you DON'T eat away at your muscle mass (which is what seems like happened).

That being said, I don't actually know any of this for sure. Any body comp measurements that aren't DEXA scans are pretty unreliable, so you may have lost more fat that you think you did.

I know you've given it 30 days, but I really would encourage you to add at least a half a palm of protein to each of your meals for a week or so and see what happens. Even if you aren't strictly 100% Whole30 compliant, just using that as a portioning guide while you do your reintroduction, I think would be helpful.

I'm sorry nobody questioned the food quantity earlier in your process!

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I am new here and am enjoying this topic because I am training for a half marathon in Dec. my eating issue is I find it hard to eat enough. I was WAPF for most of my life and switched to paleo/primal back in April. I also do Crossfit 4 days a week. I have to supplement with protein drinks on occasion.

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I've also really enjoyed this thread and have been keeping up with it as my Whole30 has progressed. I am currently in the final weeks of a half-marathon training schedule as well. Race is on October 7th and I'm on my 17th day of my Whole30. Wanted to share my experience to hopefully encourage some runners out there.

I had read all the posts and was really nervous about how this would impact my performance. It definitely impacted it negatively at first. My first long run on Day 2 of my whole30, I could only do 5 miles of a scheduled 9. My legs felt like lead, I had no energy and no motivation. I normally use Cliff Chews, gatorade and load up on pasta the night before. The inability to do that really impacted me. That week I had a few relatively decent runs and then once again bombed my long run. 11 miles scheduled, I completed all of them, but my time slowed significantly and I had to run/walk much more than normal - that was Day 9.

Then a miracle.....On day 16 (yesterday) I just completed 12 miles. It was my longest run of the training schedule and I felt fantastic. Really really fantastic. Plenty of energy, legs felt good, no chews - no gatorade. I had some protein and fat beforehand and following some protein and a starchy carb. I've been pretty diligent on eating sweet potatoes, keeping to about 3 servings of fruit.

Also important to note, I recovered really well. I am normally down and out after a long run and I felt fine all day yesterday. So for all you runners, I do think this can be done and be successful!

I certainly miss my red wine, but I might be a complete convert!!

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I have sat down here tonight to type nearly the same statement into the Forum. I am too bonking on my long runs and I am sluggish through the day. I just cant get it together - I can see what I have to do though - keep going and I'm probably not eating enough. I need to ramp the intake up a little. I do notice though that I am recovering well. Not enough to go out and try and complete my run but I don't have the exhausted feeling - not sure if it's just because I am not running enough but there is definitely a difference.

Everyone is talking about coconut butter. I suffer an anaphylactic reaction to coconut - can anyone suggest a substitute?

Thanks so much for participating in the forum - I was wondering how I was going to sort this issue out but the answers are right in front of me.

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I would try buying or making compliant pemmican, ingnyc. Make sure it's well sourced, and be prepared for it to taste...strong. (I'm not a huge fan, personally, but will pack it anyway of the situation calls for it.

I'd try upping overall intake first, then see what happens before jumping into pemmican and solid fat sources.

What day are you on?

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This probably isn't the news everyone wants to hear, but I've had absolutely fantastic runs this last week post-Whole30. At least my running isn't down the hole for good, but I think perhaps I just work a little different than some of the others and need grains, etc to keep my body going. I am so happy to be running well again, but it isn't utilizing the Whole30 way of eating, so I've declared a hung jury on my Whole30 final verdict.

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KC, I'm very happy that your runs have gone back to normal! I'm sure that's a huge relief for you, especially with your volume ramping up.

I'm not going to sit here and tell you that Whole30/Whole9 is right for everybody and badger you about it, because that's not what this community is about. It is awesome that you gave the Whole30 a fair shot and tried it on like a sweater to see how it fit, and if it's not right for you, then it's not right for you. It's a big experiment.

However (there's always a however), I WILL stress that there is absolutely NO essential nutrient that are found in grains that you cannot get from compliant sources.

The fact that you're doing better on your runs post-W30 just makes me wonder what the caloric and macro differences were in your whole30 meals vs. your post whole30 meals.

Just 1 cup of cooked rice has over 50g of carbs in it. You have to eat 2 medium sweet potatoes to get that close...which is obviously a LOT harder.

Like I said, not brow-beating you here...just asking questions and encouraging you to look at the bottom line here to see where the BIG difference is.

Good luck!

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This probably isn't the news everyone wants to hear, but I've had absolutely fantastic runs this last week post-Whole30. At least my running isn't down the hole for good, but I think perhaps I just work a little different than some of the others and need grains, etc to keep my body going. I am so happy to be running well again, but it isn't utilizing the Whole30 way of eating, so I've declared a hung jury on my Whole30 final verdict.

Thanks for responding with your results post-W30. I'm glad you've recovered the performance you expected from your runs.

It would be interesting to see a food log of your successful week post-W30, dump that in a nutrition calculator like FitDay to gauge caloric intake and macro-nutrient targets, then do the same with your food logs from say week 3 of your W30 to see where they differ. If there's marked difference in caloric intake or macro-nutrient ratios, implement the intake and ratio from the successful week without grains, legumes, or dairy to see if you get the same level of performance. It would be an interesting comparison on a few levels:

  1. Is it the caloric intake, macro-nutrient ratio, or the previously preferred grains/legumes/dairy that fuels the improved performance.
  2. Were you eating a similar amount of calories and macro-nutrient ratio while your performance suffered on the Whole30?
  3. Does implementing a W30 compliant but equal caloric intake and macro-nutrient ratio significantly increase the volume of food eaten? IE are the W30 foods more nutrient dense but require a large increase in food volume?

I can understand any reticence you might feel towards putting in this additional effort, but it might provide some additional insight for you and other endurance athletes trying to balance performance with W30 dietary adjustments.

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I would try buying or making compliant pemmican, ingnyc. Make sure it's well sourced, and be prepared for it to taste...strong. (I'm not a huge fan, personally, but will pack it anyway of the situation calls for it.

I'd try upping overall intake first, then see what happens before jumping into pemmican and solid fat sources.

What day are you on?

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Hi all,

New to the forum.

I completed the whole30 a few days ago and am actually doing it just out of curiosity. Even though it was not my intention to loose weight, I lost about 13lbs over the past two months. I often commute to work by bike and the trip is about 18 miles single way. The first 15 days of my whole30, I was feeling good and biked a lot. Over the last two weeks, I'm also suffering from heavy legs (for days after a workout) and hardly bike anymore, but that aside, I'm feeling good.

Reading this thread I'm thinking perhaps I'm not eating enough carbs and my muscles are breaking down. Any thoughts or suggestions?

Thanks!

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