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  • Marathon training/nutrition

    I recently decided that I want to run a marathon in May. I am currently an avid crossfitter 3-5 times a week. Unfortunately I have no idea on how to go about training or nutrition since being new to the primal lifestyle. I am sure that this question has been asked before but if someone could point me in the right direction I would appreciate it. Thanks.

  • #2
    Hey! I've ran a marathon and a few other long distance runs. I'd like to see what info you get.

    I went with Sport Beans for my long runs, and for the races, and I really wish I hadn't. I'll tell you that I think that and the gatorade really jacked with my stomach. I had horrible stomach cramps that I've never had before. I will be searching for better alternatives for this season for sure!! I've added some sweet potatoes and squash for extra carbs when I start amping up my mileage.

    For training I'm a big fan of Galloway's walk/run programs and also Hal Higdon's training plans...both are available by googling them!

    Best of luck!

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    • #3
      I've ran 2 marathons using Jeff Galloway's run/walk/run program. Highly recommend his book. Unfortuantely he really doesn't talk much about nutrition during long runs / race. Here's what I did:

      On runs > 4 miles but < 8 miles, I ate a little more for breakfast and drank a little more before the run but didn't carry anything.
      On runs > 8 miles but < 10 miles, I carry a water bottle (I have one of those belts - love it!)
      On runs > 10 miles, I carry water and eat 3-4 sport beans every other mile.

      I find that Gatorade really messes my stomach up. But each person has to figure it out for themselves.

      Oh - BTW: I trained for my 2nd marathon while being in ketosis. I stayed in ketosis even while "carbing up" during the long run and race.

      Have fun!
      Darlena

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      • #4
        I don't know much about Crossfit. Five times a week sounds too chronic to me.

        I did a half marathon before I found Primal. But the team I trained for was fairly Primal. It turns out lots of excellent long distance runners. Sprints twice a week, increasingly long runs once a week, additional slow shorter runs. Drop back weeks. Rest those legs in between.

        Experiment with carbs during long runs and experiment with what breakfast sits well (or none). Find out what works for you. Top off with some carbs, e.g. banana, yam, just before event.
        Ancestral Health Info

        I design websites and blogs for a living. If you would like a blog or website designed by someone who understands Primal, see my web page.

        Primal Blueprint Explorer My blog for people who are not into the Grok thing. Since starting the blog, I have moved close to being Archevore instead of Primal. But Mark's Daily Apple is still the best source of information about living an ancestral lifestyle.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by joseiha View Post
          I recently decided that I want to run a marathon in May. I am currently an avid crossfitter 3-5 times a week. Unfortunately I have no idea on how to go about training or nutrition since being new to the primal lifestyle. I am sure that this question has been asked before but if someone could point me in the right direction I would appreciate it. Thanks.
          I would suggest you read the book "Paleo for Athletes", by Joe Freil. While not identical to Primal, they have some really sage advice about how to fuel primally for enduanrce sports if you want to do them.

          Cross-fit 3-5 X a week does not go over well with me for marathon training. Too much high intensity work in my opinion. The amount of run training you will be doing in preparation for 26.2 miles will require some pretty healthy eating and recovery. Doing that much CF will not be good for the recovery you will need. 2 X /week would be fine to keep your body guessing, but you need to work on metabolic efficiency using low HR zone training to build a base level of run specific fitness. Nothing about cross fit translates to running. Especially runing long distances. Take a look at the Jack Daniel's Method of training (not the booze, the Man). And as mentioned before, a run/walk is a good idea to try in training and know that you can fall back on it should and all-run day not be in the cards for you on race day.

          I got the funniest look on my MTB ride today from a freind when we stopped for a minute to fuel and he chugged a half bottle of slurry and gel while I pulled a 1/2 baked yam out of my jersey and a bag of macadamian nuts. An hour later his stomach was feeling like crap and I was still truckin along. My drink was water with the juice of a lime squeezed in for flavor.

          I've coached about 90 people to Ironman over the past 4 years and have seen how carb addiction and over-use has caused a ton of gastric upset. If you can get the whole primal diet dialed in, then you can start tapping into your fat stores for energy while training and using just a trickle of carbs to keep glycogen from becoming completely depleted while exercising. I can usually get in a ten mile run at a moderate pace (8:30 mile) on about 200 calories of supplimental nutrition. I use nuts a lot and for longer days I will supplement with Lara Bars at a rate of 1/2 bar per hour. Most carb addictied atheltes will throw down 200-300 calories/hr (90% carbs in the form of a variety of sugars). A primally adapted athlete can do the same amount of work on 100 calories/hr and the difference that makes for how your gut feels in night and day.

          Training nutrition will simulate race day nutrition to a point, but come race day, you will be out there so fracking long, you will need to suppliment with something from the devils panty, It's OK, it's only a few hours and you will live through it. I would just avaid bars/energy sources with gluten in them or your race will include a visit to way too many of the on course porta-john's to count! On race day I suggest a couple of on course bananas, Lara Bars or Hammer Nutrition bars, they should be good to fuel you and not send your gut into a tailspin. If you can wing it, fuel up with a big honking yam at breakfast and it shouold last a pretty long time if you have adapted properly to selective fat burning.

          One more book plug, check out Metobolic Efficiency for Athletes by Bob Seebohar. He's a mentor coach of mine and really does know his Shite,

          Cheers,

          Dave
          Last edited by Karma; 12-11-2010, 06:55 PM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by joseiha View Post
            I recently decided that I want to run a marathon in May. I am currently an avid crossfitter 3-5 times a week. Unfortunately I have no idea on how to go about training or nutrition since being new to the primal lifestyle. I am sure that this question has been asked before but if someone could point me in the right direction I would appreciate it. Thanks.
            This is the programme i have being using. http://www.runlessrunfasterbook.com/...runfasterbook/ It is an excellent book. I am going to use this for the half marathon that i am doing in may and for the marathon in october. I have the thrive diet book which is good. But it is not that primal for nutrition as there is no meat consumed, but some of the recipes it has for energy bars and puddings are excellent. Like you i am not sure what to have when i am doing my long runs. Probably just eat some carbs the day before and bring some Water with Chia seeds and lime with me. I read an article about how some long distance runners 8 weeks prior to the race only drink water on there long runs. It gets the body used to burning fat as an energy source and when they get there energy drinks in the race they can run longer and faster. I cant seem to find the article now.
            It is not what we take up, but what we give up, that makes us rich.
            Henry Ward Beecher

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            • #7
              Another coach here. Before you decide how to approach your marathon training, you need to determine what your goals are. If you just want to finish, you can do that using a Crossfit Endurance approach to training. If you want to focus on doing well in the marathon, then you need to drop the 5x a week CF habit. 2 days a week is the max I would like to see an athlete doing CF, and I prefer those WODs to not be more than 15 minutes.
              As far as eating goes, I train low and race high. I second Bob Seebohar's book. I think it's a better place to start than Paleo Diet For Athletes because I prefer that athletes train on a lower carb diet and race on high carb, wheras PD for Athletes is a train high, race high approach.
              Eat higher carb on longer workout days. Best source of carbs are yams, sweet potatoes, then fruit. I use Jay Robb's Yammits when I don't have a sweet potato to eat.
              Currently, I am training for an ultra-marathon. No speed work. I am doing great on lower carb, and can run in the fasted state and not use any nutrition for up to 2 hours so far. I do use Purple Wraath before exercise on long run days, which is a BCAA and beta-alanine supplement. When my runs get longer, if I need to eat I will use dried fruit or a Lara bar.
              I will carb-load leading up to the race and eat carbs during. That way, I have the best of both worlds: I am optimally adapted to fat utilization and glycogen sparing, so I will burn fat for fuel and my glycogen stores will last a long time. I liken carbs to rocket fuel: not appropriate for every day use, but great on race day.
              So, again, pick your goal for the race and find a training plan that suits it. CFE just to finish, or a marathon training plan (loads of them available on internet or through a coach) to RACE the marathon.
              Best of luck to you!

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by jessher View Post
                Another coach here. Before you decide how to approach your marathon training, you need to determine what your goals are. If you just want to finish, you can do that using a Crossfit Endurance approach to training. If you want to focus on doing well in the marathon, then you need to drop the 5x a week CF habit. 2 days a week is the max I would like to see an athlete doing CF, and I prefer those WODs to not be more than 15 minutes.
                As far as eating goes, I train low and race high. I second Bob Seebohar's book. I think it's a better place to start than Paleo Diet For Athletes because I prefer that athletes train on a lower carb diet and race on high carb, wheras PD for Athletes is a train high, race high approach.
                Eat higher carb on longer workout days. Best source of carbs are yams, sweet potatoes, then fruit. I use Jay Robb's Yammits when I don't have a sweet potato to eat.
                Currently, I am training for an ultra-marathon. No speed work. I am doing great on lower carb, and can run in the fasted state and not use any nutrition for up to 2 hours so far. I do use Purple Wraath before exercise on long run days, which is a BCAA and beta-alanine supplement. When my runs get longer, if I need to eat I will use dried fruit or a Lara bar.
                I will carb-load leading up to the race and eat carbs during. That way, I have the best of both worlds: I am optimally adapted to fat utilization and glycogen sparing, so I will burn fat for fuel and my glycogen stores will last a long time. I liken carbs to rocket fuel: not appropriate for every day use, but great on race day.
                So, again, pick your goal for the race and find a training plan that suits it. CFE just to finish, or a marathon training plan (loads of them available on internet or through a coach) to RACE the marathon.
                Best of luck to you!
                As you are training low, how many Grams of carbs do you eat? Do you adjust to suit the workout?
                It is not what we take up, but what we give up, that makes us rich.
                Henry Ward Beecher

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                • #9
                  Although not a book that directly addresses marathon training, Bernd Heinrich's book "Why We Run" is an excellent overview of aerobic performance from betles to antelope to humans. heinrich is a biology prof at UVM and was for a long while (like 15 year!) the 100 km world record holder. He took a very analytical, physiology oriented approach to training and race prep.

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                  • #10
                    What I wonder is how soon after ingesting say, half a yam, does your body have enough glycogen to keep you running? Is like a half hour or something?
                    I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Dullahan,
                      I would say the most amount of carbs I eat in a day is 150. That is not low carb unless you compare it to the average recreational athlete. Most day I cam close to 50g.
                      Honestly, I try not to pay much attention because I trust my body to adjust as needed. I do make a somewhat conscious choice to eat more carbs (and more food in general) on heavier workout days, but I don't turn it into something to stress about. It's hard, because I love what my body looks like on low-carb (under 50g) paleo, and I have to let that go when I choose to train for something. I can still fast for 16 hours most days, and have felt no ill affects from that.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I have trouble with drinking to much Gatorade on my last few half marathons. So I started eating a little sweet potatoes a few more days before a race. On race morning I take a packet of Stinger Honey about an hour before the race and take Gatorade around mile 6 and mile ten. If I feel like I need hydration other then that, I just take water.

                        Maybe you can carry a little Stinger Honey packet with you. What ever you decide to do, try it before your race.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I just want to point out that Gatorade is an inferior energy drink for endurance runs lasting more than an hour. A good energy drink for runners should not contain any fructose. Some good drinks to try are ELoad or CarbBoom. Check out what they are carrying at your local running store. If you are interested in fuelling with carbs during the race then energy gels are the way to go. You should take one about 15 min. prior to your event and then have one every 40 min. or so washed down with water. I'm not trying to suggest that you have to go high carb to run, however, it will give you a boost on race day.

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                          • #14
                            What you eat when you train and what you eat on race day are entirely different things. I would say for your long runs you do NOT need to increase your carbohydrates pre-run. (POST long run is different) If you feel you have to, then you are doing your long runs too fast. Despite Mark's anti marathon stance most of the current good training programs are VERY primal compatible since all but a couple workouts per week are done EASY....read right around that 75% mark.

                            Right at around 18 miles during training is the earliest I take supplemental fuel. Water only on anything less. And that was BEFORE I went PB.

                            What you eat during the race is a different matter. I use gu (roughly every 7 miles). I will continue to use gu...the speed of absorption is nothing to sneeze at. However, when I am racing I am running a good 90 seconds to 2 minutes per mile faster than on a long run.

                            That being said, your goal is to finish. I hate to say it that bluntly, but there simply isnt time to build a solid running base between now and a May marathon. There are a few decent programs out there but I would say...run. Frequently. Slowly. Occasionally run hard. Like once a week. Build your SLOW long run to NO MORE THAN 3 hours. (if you are fast, cut off by 18 miles) That may be shorter than a lot of first marathon plans that insist you hit 20 miles before the race. With the lack of running base (we are not talking FITNESS here we are talking sport specific muscle and tendon development) runs longer than 2 1/2 to 3 hours will be over taxing with little reward.

                            If you are continuing to do any Xfit during this time I would cut back to 2 days a week and then run all your runs easy. You dont need to worry about "building speed" at this point. Building speed with excessive speedwork is like making a lego stack 1 brick wide. You can only get so high before it falls over. Build your running base with long slow work....that is building a platform
                            Last edited by runnergal; 02-17-2011, 05:33 PM.
                            MTA: because it is rare I dont have more to say

                            "When I got too tired to run anymore I just pretended I wasnt tired and kept running anyway" - my daughter Age 7

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