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Low carb and running

(8 Posts)
manyhands Sat 01-Jun-13 19:44:58

I'm a very keen runner who needs to loose about a stone but find that I need carbs to run are there any other low carb runner out there who can advise me if it's possible to run well on a low carb diet?

BettyandDon Sat 01-Jun-13 19:57:51

I do low carb but I'm not a runner. I recently did a 6am bootcamp though for 2 weeks that was largely cardio based. I found it almost impossible to maintain low carb for that time. The trainer recommended at least a banana/piece of brown bread before starting. She was wheat and sugar free.

I was so gutted as I didn't lose any weight for that 2 week period. I'm sure being not strictly low carb caused that.

I'm still low carbing though - another 8/9 lbs to go - have lost 30 in total and the best weight loss weeks i have are when I do a lot of walking/buggy pushing normally 1-5 miles a day.

So for me moderate exercise is possible, but heavy out of breath cardio was not.

manyhands Sat 01-Jun-13 20:08:22

That's really useful, thanks. Running wins over weight loss then! I'll loose gradually through running though.

3ismylot Sun 02-Jun-13 11:28:50

I eat paleo/primal which is pretty similar to low carb and I am currently training for the Great North Run in september.

I am running 4 times a week with varying distances and I find no problem with energy levels during my runs, I even run in a fasted state (I have my last meal at approx 6pm and maybe a banana before bed and then get up at 530am and go straight out for a run) then I eat my breakfast once I have got home and had a shower.

Once you have been doing LC for a while your body will adapt to burn fat so no carbs are needed for running.

LavenderBriggs Sun 02-Jun-13 16:39:49

Hi ManyHands I run on a low carb diet. I posted this on one of the Bootcamp threads...

"The main point of me posting was for anyone who wants to exercise on a LCHF diet. I try to run a couple of times a week and I used to try to eat carby meals the night before a run (DH and I run first thing in the morning, before breakfast).

The first week of low carb wasn't good for running. I did two runs and I kept stopping and had the feeling that when i put my foot down there was nothing in the tank. I thought I'd give it a fortnight and see if it was something that would sort itself out. Wednesdays run was better, I took it gently, but felt that I had the energy to keep going.

The run this morning was the clincher smile I had a very low carb meal last night and when I got up for the run my stomach was so empty it was growling at me. Kept the faith and got started. I felt hungry for the first kilometre, but I felt as if there was energy on tap, so I kept going. After that it got easier and easier. I felt fully-fuelled and managed 6.5k in 47 minutes (walked in the park because it was icy).

This is what I think happened. When I was eating carbs I would run out as the body can only store so much (under 2,000 calories). Now I'm fat-burning I feel as if I can pull as much energy as I need (body has around 40,000 calories available). I didn't feel as if I was using carbs from my stomach or last nights dinner, I felt as if I could use fat from any part of me - it was a lovely 'whole' feeling."

Hope that makes sense and is of some use.

dotty2 Thu 06-Jun-13 10:53:45

I low carbed and ran a lot last year (and have since got much more lax and put on nearly a stone but that's another story). Anyway, the first few weeks of low carbing, I found it really hard to run and I used to have something small like a single oat cake before I ran. But my body did get used to it in time and eventually it's easier in fact. I read an article in Trail Running a while ago about low-carbing being the new big thing for long distance runners as it removes the need to carb load and you can go much longer without hitting a wall, once your body has adjusted. (It basically confirmed what lavender said above re. available calories.)

snoworneahva Thu 06-Jun-13 17:43:45

Dotty that's what I find - when low carbing I don't get that running on empty feeling when I run without breakfast, I don't like running with food in my stomach.

tigerchair Sun 09-Jun-13 10:58:06

How far are you running many hands?

I've just started trying to eat low carb/high protein most of the time on the advice of gym trainer as I am starting to train for a marathon. I'm only running up to 10k distances at the moment and the change of diet is to help my body get used to burning fat for fuel as this is what will happen during the marathon once carbs are depleted (I'll be reintroducing higher levels of complex carbs once longer training runs are being done). This should help prevent hitting the wall.

The first gym session (treadmill intervals) I did on a high protein breakfast I felt 'heavy' in my legs and didn't have that burst that carbs give, couldn't do the sprints at same speed as previous sessions. However training has got much easier and I do feel more energetic in general as I'm not getting the blood sugar spikes and crashes that I used to get from eating lots of simple carby types of food.

Trainer also recommended coffee with coconut oil before training session which tastes surprisingly very nice!

So I'd say distances up to around 10k you should be fine on low carb, anything further will likely need complex carbs eg porridge that day or even night before if it's a morning run. Also recommend protein shake and banana after a run to help muscles recover.

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