Category Archives: Nutrition

Ketosis & Training Update

I’ve been doing the ketogenic diet since November 11th and I am feeling great.  I’m rarely hungry, I’ve dropped quite a few pounds and I don’t feel constantly tired like I usually do.  The only downside is that I have to make all of my food but that’s a small price to pay.  I’ve found that over time, I figure out how to make things quicker and in larger quantities so I don’t have to cook each meal every day.

I haven’t missed any workouts so far this week so that’s another bonus.  I haven’t had to go in to work during my week off, which is very relaxing.  As for the running though, I just started up again two days ago after taking a post half marathon break.  I really have a lot of work to do there, especially if I want to do the Around the Bay 30K in March.

I’m going to be finishing up the last of the Vasa novice swim workouts this week and then I’ll be going to the intermediate workouts.  I am already feeling much stronger, which is awesome.  I was able to change the damper door setting to 2, which I wasn’t able to handle in the past.  It’s more work for women to build upper body strength, so I’m very excited when I see changes.

As for cycling, I have decided to do another FTP test and repeat some of the TrainerRoad Sweet Spot Intermediate Base I since I won’t really have enough time to finish Base II before my half Ironman training starts in January.  I don’t think there is really any need to kick things into super high gear yet since I’ll be doing that in training anyway.

So yeah, it’s been a good week and a half.  Except that my Garmin Forerunner 620 keeps getting delayed.  First it was October 31st, then November 4th, November 14th and finally November 28th.  Argh!

Keto-Adaptation

I started on the Low Carbohydrate Diet for Athletes TrainingPeaks plan from Ben Greenfield yesterday, so I’ll probably be making mention of this over the next couple of months …

If you have no clue what ketosis is (not to be confused with ketoacidosis which is dangerous), you might want to read this article from Peter Attia’s website.  It is a great overview of what ketosis is and why someone would want to be in that state.

I think there’s quite a bit of value in getting the body fat adapted for training and racing.  When you think about it, why would you want to constantly pour sugar down your throat for long training efforts and racing?  Sure, your body uses this source of energy “differently” when exercising than it does when you are sitting your ass down on the couch, but is it healthy?  I’ve been hearing about how blood glucose serves to oxidize LDL cholesterol and cause health issues such as Alzheimer’s and atherosclerotic plaque.  I much prefer the idea of teaching my body to utilize as much fat as possible so that I don’t have to rely on gels and sports drinks to constantly spike my blood sugar.

So this is how it’s going to work:  I am going to be on a very low carb diet for 8 weeks, which is the fat adaptation phase.  I won’t do any super hard training during that time but I will absolutely be swimming, cycling and running so that I’m ready to jump in to my training and the maintenance phase on January 6th.    Of course, I will pop out of ketosis for a couple of holiday celebrations (New Year’s … wink wink) because I don’t want it to be a deprivation thing.

I’ve done this before, so I am not concerned about being able to handle it.  I can live without mouthfuls of bread, potatoes and pasta.  It’s the lack beer that makes me a sad panda.  If I couldn’t have red wine, it would be a total deal breaker but as luck would have it, I can.  I just have to make sure that I am well into ketosis by measuring with ketone test strips I’m good for a glass of red wine and some dark chocolate.  I’m also not into candy and milk chocolate so that makes things easier.

Wish me luck!

Getting Ready – First Half Marathon

I recently watched a triathlon nutrition video by Joe Friel. He recommends that if you have an hour before the race, you take in 200-300 calories. If you have 2 hours, 400-600 calories. Since liquid or semi-soft food is easier to handle and less likely to cause digestive issues, I will be trying his suggestion of Ensure. He recommends Ensure because it doesn’t contain milk solids. Since I’m lactose intolerant, that’s fine by me.

I am going for my 16K run in about an hour so I just downed a bottle of chocolate Ensure. It actually tastes decent. I will eat a gel just as I go out the door and have another one after an hour. If all goes well for the next two long runs, I’ll be doing the same before my race.

It’s only 5 degrees Celsius out there, so I should be nice and cool on my run. I hate the fact that summer is dead and buried, but I like the fact that I can run at any time of day.

Speed Work



[runners_log_weather]

Worst. Run. Ever.

Before I even started running, I had stomach pain. So in my infinite wisdom, I decided to do speed work (after a night shift) instead of an easy run or just resting. It was also pretty hot outside to make things worse.

I did well for the 1.5 km warmup and not too bad for the first 800m at speed (05:45/km). But after that, I totally overheated and I think I know vaguely what it’s like when marathoners hit the wall. I have followed the Paleo way of eating for the past couple of days, so I suspect that it was a bad idea to run without getting some carbs in me first. My legs felt like they were out of fuel and burned pretty much the whole time. I usually get that when I start running, but it goes away after a few minutes. I had a gel about 20 minutes into the run, but it was too late.

Lessons Learned
In the future, I will not do a hard run if I don’t feel well. If I am limiting grains and starches I will have a smoothie or gel before my run. That shouldn’t be a problem since my body should use up the carbs during my run.

Note: I need to do some more research about how much easier ketosis makes it easier for your body to use fatty acids as fuel during a run as opposed to glucose.

Post-Run Smoothie

After I go for a long run, I make this smoothie:

Post-Run Smoothie
Author: 
Recipe type: Beverage
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
 
Protein and glutamine (muscle repair) are the name of the game.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup milk, soy milk or almond milk
  • 1 tsp glutamine powder
  • 1 scoop of protein powder (30 grams)
Instructions
  1. Put all the ingredients in a blender.
  2. Blend.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 170 Fat: 2.5 Saturated fat: 0 Unsaturated fat: 2.5 Carbohydrates: 10 Sugar: 8 Fiber: 1 Protein: 26

 

Pre-Run Smoothie

Before I go for a long run, I make this smoothie:

Pre-Run Smoothie
Author: 
Recipe type: Beverage
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
 
This smoothie gives you a shot of carbs and some potassium to prevent cramping. Drink an hour and a half before running.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • a few chunks of fresh or frozen fruit
  • 1 tsp glutamine powder
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • ½ banana
Instructions
  1. Put all the ingredients in a blender.
  2. Blend.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 244 Fat: 5.4 Saturated fat: 0.5 Unsaturated fat: 4.9 Carbohydrates: 44 Sugar: 31 Fiber: 8 Protein: 5.7