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Hi Everyone!! Marathon training and PB

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  • Hi Everyone!! Marathon training and PB


    My Crossfit gym pointed me towards the Paleo DIet and in researching it I found Mark's book on Amazon and purchased it. I'm halfway through the book and have just read through some of the great information here on the website.

    Already I am into about a week of PB diet (following the 80/20 anyways) and have noticed my energy levels are about 10-15% higher then they have been in almost a year. So my motivation is good.

    Stats: I'm about 18% bf, 197lbs, 6'2". I have been Crossfit 3x a week for about two months and have had my weight stay the same since I started (which is o.k. as my waistline shrank and I have more muscle now). I also am a runner, I average 20-25 miles a week and am training for a marathon. I ran SD Rock and Roll last year (my first) and finished 4:52. Following a marathon training program. I was cruising, as it was my first and finished strong and felt good afterwords (went to work next day no problem).

    My goals - Drop bf% to 12% or so and lose 7 lbs of weight while maintaining and if possible increasing muscle. Plus stay healthy!!

    I will modify a bit as I will use gel or sports drinks on and following long runs. Otherwise I intend on following PB (o.k. I like oatmeal with blueberrys in the a.m.! Although an omlette and bacon sounds great.)

    Any advice/feedback/etc. would be welcome.

    Thanks! ----------- Ted

  • #2

    Welcome aboard. I am a "recovering" chronic marathoner, so I get where you're coming from. Mark has some good information about adapting PB for endurance athletes here on the site. Finish the book by all means, but don't skip those resources. They'll enlighten you. I suspect you will find the blog post about Jonas Colting particularly relevant, but here are some others


    Over training

    More on over training

    Basically (in case you missed it), it might be possible for you to live Primally and marathon, but it requires compromises and opens the door to possible over training.

    That said, Mark's got a great line about marathoning
    I tell people, if you absolutely decide you need to train for and run a marathon, Iíll let you run two. The first is to finish. The second is to better your time from the first one. If, after that, you havenít broken three hours, itís clear you are not a marathoner. Find another, ďfunnerĒ pursuit.

    That line about not breaking three hours needs to be taken with a grain of salt (Mark admitted as much in the comments). Still, consider that, unless you are a rare one like Jonas Colting, it's really difficult to reconcile serious marathon training with Primal living.

    Some other suggestions (in no particular order of importance):

    Really watch your recovery. You're especially vulnerable to sickness and infections after a long run because your immune system is depressed.

    Keep the carbs to an absolute minimum and, preferably, get them from fruit and vegetable sources, not grains (like oatmeal) or refined sugars (like gels and sports drinks).

    Ditch the gels and sports drinks in training - they're crap. You can run long without them once your fat metabolism is well developed, so "train low/race high."

    After running long be sure to replenish carbs but also consume quality protein and fats with them. The post-run protein will help reduce (but not totally prevent) muscle catabolism.

    I'd really prefer that your post-long run breakfast consist of a smoothie made from fresh squeezed OJ, a banana, and some berries (with - maybe - some kefir or plain whole milk yogurt if you tolerate dairy and need the carbs), add some eggs, bacon, and avocado and you're done. Note, though, that if you're not running for at least an hour and a half then chances are you haven't depleted your glycogen to a degree that would require significant concentrated replenishment like juice. Because of the persistent CW nonsense in the running world many endurance athletes grossly overestimate how many carbs even they need. A normal, easy, run shouldn't require replenishment that you can't get from whole fruit.

    Consider yourself lucky if you're able to even maintain your lean mass while marathon training. When you make your body run long regularly, it sees muscle (especially fast twitch muscle) as "dead weight." Crossfit will probably help with that as long as you don't overdo it.

    Try to keep the running sessions in the "move slowly" intensity zone. Fat's a far better fuel source than carbs and the marathon's a ton more fun when you don't hit the wall.

    Let us know how the race goes. Remember: "The second is to beat your time from the first one."


    • #3

      Geof - Thank you for the words.

      Well so far I am down 2 pounds and my energy level is good. My long runs this weekend I skipped on the sports drink and gel and just drank water. It was only a 8 mile trail run (recovery week)and I ran strong till mile 7 where I started to bonk. Ate a bananna and protein drink hour before run and felt fine. I have cut out my oats in the a.m. and am off grains. With the exception of some dark choclate I'm now pretty close to living PB.

      As far as overdoing it, my Crossfit has been cut to 3 days a week and I am doing way less miles then I was doing last season, and I cut my 2x a week spin class when I started Crossfit. Still a lot of fat to lose so I am hoping as my miles increase that I can maintain the lean mass. I have been making sure to hit the protein (whey) before and after runs as well as eating some almonds and fruit after a run.

      It's a challenge to stay in move slow mode, and something I'm working on. My Crossfit workouts I give maybe 80-90% most of the time (hope none of my coachs see this, there will be burpees in my future if they do). SO I'm trying to keep it fun as well as getting something from it. On a side note since recovering from an injury in January I have not hit the pain meds once, which is great as I last season I was living on Alleve I think.

      My concern is that I am still eating tons, now just tons of PB foods. Even doing so like I mentioned I already have dropped some weight. I am going through bags of almonds, pounds of meat, berry of all types (new favorite splurge - frozen cherrys, rasberrys, and bluberrys with almond milk poured on them!), and vegtables. I'm not really counting carbs at all, just not eating grains and staying away from sugars. Is that good enough for long term PB success?


      • #4

        Where's your heart rate on runs like that? Are you in the "move slowly" zone? If you're bonking on an 8 mile run without carbs you're either running it waaaaaay to fast or you need to work on perfecting your fat metabolism. 20 milers at marathon pace without carbs are possible (I know I've done them), so it sounds like you still need some work on the aerobic side of things.

        "Slow" mode is something to which you'll adjust. Believe me. If you have a heart rate monitor set it for 55-75% of your max. If you don't have one, then aim for a pace that's so slow that you feel stupid running at that rate, then drop it to another 1 minute/mile slower. If your "hard" days are as hard as they should be you'll soon not mind the easy "slow" days.

        Long term PB success is really what you make of it. Are you feeling healthier? Looking better? Becoming more functionally fit? If you are chances are you're moving in the right direction. That said, I'd reiterate strongly the comment I wrote initially - It's very hard to maintain, let alone gain, muscle while doing serious marathon training. Excess muscle is counterproductive to marathon running (look at any elite marathoner and you'll see it with your own eyes). Maybe you should use this marathon cycle to just focus on getting lean. Then, after the marathon, add some bulk.

        Glad you're off the NSAIDs. That's a step in the right direction for sure.


        • #5
          Well I ran San Diego Rock and Roll yesterday, a 4:42 - a PB for me although it was far short of my race goal. Still back to Primal living and looking forward to hitting the Crossfit gym more often (had to go down to 2x a week last 4 weeks due to mileage increase in running).