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Endurance (1/2 Ironman)

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  • Endurance (1/2 Ironman)

    So I am training for a half ironman and have a few questions and could also use a bunch of inspiration. So even though this is not a primal sport I hope some of you out there can help. I have read the paleo diet for athletes but stille need a little help.

    1. I really want to loose some weight (10lb) to increase my running speed and over all fitness, but at the same time I want to be able to recover fully after my workouts to be able to get through two workouts pr day on some days. How can I make sure I get enough carbs without getting too many to see some weight loss?
    2. What do you guys eat pre and post workout? My workouts are not long enough yet to need anything during, but when that time comes I am pretty sure I will use gels even though it is not primal. Any great ideas on great food that are easy to prepare and bring along for pre/post workouts?
    3. What do you guys eat in a day when you have one or two workouts? It would be really great with some inspiration on food timing etc.

    I really hope you can help me since I'm sure this is the way to go to get to my goal.

  • #2
    One, pick the workouts you fuel. If you have a good training plan most of the efforts should be "moderate" or "easy". Dont fuel for them no matter how much it sucks. For LONG but moderate intensity efforts do your best to abstain from fueling at all before 2 hours in and refuel AFTER not before. Go ahead and run a bit low on carbs for the early part of training. It will help you build fat burning efficiency which will only help you on race day. It will suck. You will be slower.

    Fuel up using primal food - sweet potatoes, fruit...even honey only for key workouts and keep a bit of an eye on how much and how often.

    If you are doing your 2 a days as a brick it counts as 1 workout, judge fuel accordingly

    If you are doing them as separate workouts, incorporate a bit of extra fruit etc. following the first workout.

    You may need to eat more frequently than is often recommended here. I simply can not eat a full meal at noon if I am getting my second workout in. I have to do small meals to keep the stomach comfortably empty.

    How long before your tri? When you hit peak, probably 6-7 weeks out at least, you need to quit thinking about losing weight. Continue the same pattern of fueling only the most important workouts. But while in the early part of training I would say sacrifice workout quality for lower carb consumption, in the later stages, get fueled for the key workouts.

    I do not gu in training. I gu for races. But I would probably gu during a big brick.

    Oh....and run a tiny bit after every bike session immediately. Get off the bike and run a couple hundred feet. Get that bike to run transition dead quad feeling so normal feeling you love it
    Last edited by runnergal; 02-04-2011, 04:40 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


    • #3
      i think the answer to all three of your questions is sweet potatoes (white potatoes would be fine too, but if you're going to eat something, it might as well taste good). sweet potatoes are still primal, and they are a great way to get the carb amounts you need to exercise that much while still staying away from grains and sugar.
      1. go ahead and eat'll work through them just fine with all the exercise you're doing. experiment a bit to see how much you need to keep energy up without gaining weight.
      2. focusing on pre-workout nutrition will help your energy levels so you can complete your workouts and push a little harder. i would put most of my attention there. post workout...carbs are helpful to replenish glycogen stores. sweet potatoes (as mentioned), squashes and helpful for extra energy, especially post workout. a banana, dark chocolate or something like a larabar or nuts could be good pre-workout or to carry with you.
      3. our training regimens would be completely different, but i treat pretty much every day the same. if i lift heavy things, then go spend five hours climbing a mountain, i eat the same things i would eat if i were just laying in the grass all day: meat, veggies, eggs and fat. but if i were pulling down a swim/bike brick with running half a day later, i would throw in some carbier stuff...and let my hunger tell me when to it eat it.


      • #4
        Wow thanks for the great replies. My race is not until the end of june so at the moment I have the opportunity to adjust the diet and get more used to the primal eating combined with the increased amount of training hours.

        Is there any guidelines as to how much I need right after the workouts? I guess it would depend on body weight and the workout time?

        It sounds like you have done two a day workouts could you perhaps post how such a day would look like from a nutrition background?

        Thank you so much for all the help...


        • #5
          Re: Paleo Diet for is helpful, but I think it comes in heavy on the carb side. My feel from reading the book is that he is speaking to an athlete who is already body composition close to where they need to be and so it becomes training support.

          How long have you been primal? Have you worked through carb flu/carb withdrawal yet? If you have not, you can approach it 2 ways, one is to back slowly down your carb needs until you reach a point that allows you to lose and maintain your training.

          The other is to let your training suck-it-up for a couple weeks, eliminate the grains and legumes and take it to very close to where you estimate you need to be. I did it this way and instead of training for distance I trained for time in the intervening weeks. For example (using nice round numbers!) if I would normally have run a 10 mile run at a 10 minute pace when fully carbed, I just went out and ran (ran...joggged...ran/walked..cursed) for 100 minutes at whatever pace I needed to drop to to maintain for that long. For about 10 days it was ugly. But what I found is the pace started to return to normal even without adding carbs back in.

          10 lbs is not a large amount...For your training you want to be out of a losing phase and into a maintenance phase by the end of April. Training hard and losing more than a pound a week (after any intial water whooosh) can be detrimental to your training. So you can play with your carbs that way. I wish I could tell you a magic number but you have to play a little bit around with what works for you....just dont fear the crash. If you have a bad workout or 3 it isnt going to derail your training.

          Specifically on 2- a days. I have experience doing 2, 3 ...even the occasional 4 a day (yeah, I know, right?)..

          I currently get 1 workout in the early morning starting at 5:30 Generally either fasted or with a few almonds. I tend to nausea when I first wake up and a few nuts settle my stomach. My early morning workouts are either weights, or speedwork of some kind.

          I have breakfast sometimes right after my workout, sometimes about 60-90 minutes later after I drop off my kids at school. On a short workout morning I have only bacon, eggs, coffee. After an hour-long cardio with sprints session I will add 1/2-1 cup of berries or a 1/2 cup of sweet potatoes

          My second workout is most often in the early afternoon--around "lunchtime". So what I will often do is have a small snack around 11 or 12 am. Almonds if I want to head out right now or maybe a small cup of plain greek yogurt and a few veggies

          THEN afterwards I have my big lunch. BAS with lots of peppers and carrots and tomatoes (they are all moderate carb veggies, but for me very satisfying) and usually leftover meat and avocado and maybe olives and vinaigrette etc. If I feel like the workout was a tough effort and I have the urge for carbs I have a piece of fruit or some sweet potatoes in my salad. (I roast up a big pan of sp cubes and add them in as needed all week)

          OR after a REALLY hard workout I have a hard time eating right away but I will do a recovery shake. 1/3c. coconut milk, scoop unflavored protein powder, 1/2 banana, unsweetened almond milk to fill up the glass. and then about an hour later I'll have a slightly less massive salad with almost all the same ingredients.

          Because of the duration of some of my afternoon workouts I often eat lunch at around 3 and then have dinner at 6.

          If I was doing a morning/evening workout I would probably have the BAS at lunch time and then either no snack before the p.m. workout or a handful of nuts, evening workout. And then I might do the recovery shake and then dinner or just dinner. Depends on the appetite and workout.

          On Tuesdays I take tap class at night so I often come back from my afternoon workout, Eat a big meal then, and then a tiny dinner because tap on a full stomach is bleeech. Then I might have a small snack afterwards.

          Just play around. If after 2-3 weeks your workouts are still in the tank, then up the carbs a bit. If you are exhausted, crabby or start disliking your training, up the carbs a bit.

          By the end of april start guiding the carb allowance up and reread the paleo book for some of the guidelines. You'll want to find the level where you maintain weight and feel recovered each time so you can hit the hardcore training for that month of may and first part of June. Also about when your brick workouts will become long enough and tough enough to practice gu, or whatever race day fuel you plan on using. Pay attention during taper that you dont overdo carbs while the workouts ease up, 3 days before the event, start bringing the carbs back up. By then you should have a good feel for which paleo carbs work best for you.
          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


          • #6
            Yes, I really do always have more to say...sorry

            One of the things I didnt like about paleo for athletes, is I am insulin resistant. Post workout he precribed a dose of carbohydrates in quick absorbing form...something like 100-125g of juice and pure glucose. Thats just not something I am prepared to do My priorities AT THE MOMENT are

            1) manage my insulin resistance
            2) lose weight --at least the car accident weight
            3) rebuild my running base (I was in a car accident 3 months ago)

            So right now I am eating probably 50-75 g of carbs on low trianing days and maybe up to 100 on hard days, but I have noticed that on days I eat fruit and potatoes I seem to eat less dairy, nuts and veggies and it keeps coming out in the wash. But I had a string of hard days with <70 g of carbs and I started re-entering carb flu for a second round and I decided to just try to up my carbs a little bit on hard days.

            Probably around June-ish, maybe August I will get more serious about hard training and then my priorities will be
            1) manage my insulin resistance
            2) design my carb intake to support 4 key workouts a week and 50-60 total miles a week
            3) weight loss would be ok, but so would maintenance.

            At this point I would expect probably 4-5 days a week to be closer to 150 g carbs, maybe even 200g on certain days. (1 pack of gu is 25 g of carbs...) but I wont know until I get there.

            I am doing 3 half marathons in 3 days in July....I think my carb management during that should be interesting.
            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


            • #7
              Thanx runnergal - that was really helpfull


              • #8
                Lonnie, you'll have to keep us posted with how your training goes, maybe start a journal on here if you have the time. I have an Ironman in late October and these kinds of discussions are great since there are relatively few primal triathletes.

                I'm currently training for a 50mi ultra in April and if that goes well, a 100miler in June. Obviously training and nutrition are different for ultras and HIM-Ironman distance tris, but I've been following the advice on this page (not the vegetarian part), attempting to condition my body to burn fat as my primary fuel source:

                The hardest part has been the pace: it's dreadfully slow. As Runnergal said, it sucks, but I can already notice improvements (I can run harder and harder while maintaining a lower, still-aerobic HR.) Ideally, I'd like to be able to run my race using nothing but water, NUUN tabs, and almonds, but it's early in the process and I'm still experimenting with what works best.

                Nell Stephenson is successful with a lot of tris while staying paleo, her blog is:

                Best of luck with the training


                • #9
                  I will do my best to keep everyone posted as I get further into this crazy (but fantastic) eating and training project. Thanks you for the links, have already looked at Nell's blog, lots of great inspiration, will look into the other links, and your blog as well.

                  Right now it's not really a big problem to get through the week as long as I plan well (but my workouts are mostly one hour long so that might explain it). The thing is that I still try to have a life on the side, and I was wondering how much a night out derails the nutrition part of the training (only thinking in term of the cockatils :-))? I know that alcohol affects the training, but I'm ok with that until I get closer to the race, and since I never really get a hangover I'm still able to train the next day...


                  • #10
                    Do keep us posted. I've got a half marathon tomorrow and then after a 2 week rest start training for my first triathlon so could do with any pointers. Good luck