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Thread: Primal Comprimises. Please help re: ultramarathon / Ironman training page

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    eisenreich's Avatar
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    Primal Comprimises. Please help re: ultramarathon / Ironman training

    Primal Blueprint Expert Certification
    Hi, first real post and I'm hoping to find some clarification among the very helpful members of the forum.

    A little background. I'm 6'1", 173, and have been fairly fit all my life (despite eating massive quantities of grains..) My mom and both sisters have been diagnosed with Celiac disease and after reading PB, I'm willing to follow their footstep in ditching the grains. I've been eating primal for a short time now (about a week), but I'm already noticing positive changes. In the past, I've completed two marathons, a half-ironman, and a 50 mile ultra.

    In 2011, I really wanted to push the envelope (I can already hear the chorus, "Chronic-Cardio Addict.." --but I love it , and complete 50 and 100mi ultras, qualify for Boston, and my first Ironman (already registered--Beach2Battleship in NC, Oct, 29).

    So, questions:

    Are there any other ultra runners / Iron-distance triathletes here who have continued training while maintaining a primal diet? What kind of modifications to diet / training did you have to make?

    Considering I've never had any negative-reactions to grains, how detrimental would it be to supplement more carbs post-workout? Ironman training is notoriously exhausting and I have a feeling I'll have trouble getting enough calories in.

    "Train-low, race high" seems to be catching on with other endurance athletes, I was surprised to see Meb Keflezighi and Chrissie Wellington's names on that list. How much success have other endurance athletes here had with training their bodies to burn fat rather than carbs first? Any suggestions on the best way to do so?

    Sorry for the long post, I'm rather new and questions have been accumulating as I read more and more about the topic, though I love everything so far!

    Thanks,
    Brian

    --
    http://runningwithdummies.tumblr.com
    Last edited by eisenreich; 01-05-2011 at 07:34 AM.

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    Hi Eisenreich,

    I am new too and also an Endurance athlete. I've been racing bicycles for ~10 years am 43 yo and keep fit year round. However, I have started to incur injuries, inflammation and general imbalance of my fitness (precisely as Mark would expect). Last year I did the P90X program start to finish and that really awakened me to a new way of being fit. (See link below for my blog on that experience)

    http://www.bikeman.com/content/view/2193/64/

    However, even P90X is quite time intensive and also very structured. I really like how PBF is not so strict and regimented and allows you to enjoy simple things in life a bit more. I do that regimented stuff enough during the competitive season.
    My goal with PBF is the following:
    I'll Follow the primal diet and lowered exercise volume all winter. If Mark is right I will get even more lean as my body re-programs to burn fat more efficiently. And come spring I won't have the usual winter weight to lose.
    Then in Late March or so....I will start Chris Carmichaels "Time crunched Training program" to get into endurance shape for the ~ 4 month competetive cycling season. It will be an experiment in bumping my carb intake "just enough" to accommodate the increased glycogen burning from the cycling workouts. I'll be looking to these posts for advice on that one. In the end I think being more efficient at fat burning should help our performance as endurance athletes as well.

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    gordo's Avatar
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    Do what you love. It's a set of guidelines for the mostly sedentary, not a religion.

    Scott Jurek is vegan. He does OK. You'll be way better off on a higher-carb primal diet.

    I like to pound carbs post-workout. If you hit the 30 minute window, your liver converts sugar directly into liver glycogen, no insulin response. The ratio of sugars in fruit turns out to be optimal for efficient conversion. Fruit smoothies are awesome right after a workout.

    Fasted training helps train your body to burn fat. It also appears to have other benefits for folks who eat the SAD. I'd do it that way.

    Gordo

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    DPB67's Avatar
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    Hi Eisenreich,

    I am new too and also an Endurance athlete. I've been racing bicycles for ~10 years am 43 yo and keep fit year round. However, I have started to incur injuries, inflammation and general imbalance of my fitness (precisely as Mark would expect). Last year I did the P90X program start to finish and that really awakened me to a new way of being fit. (See link below for my blog on that experience)

    http://www.bikeman.com/content/view/2193/64/

    However, even P90X is quite time intensive and also very structured. I really like how PBF is not so strict and regimented and allows you to enjoy simple things in life a bit more. I do that regimented stuff enough during the competitive season.
    My goal with PBF is the following:
    I'll Follow the primal diet and lowered exercise volume all winter. If Mark is right I will get even more lean as my body re-programs to burn fat more efficiently. And come spring I won't have the usual winter weight to lose.
    Then in Late March or so....I will start Chris Carmichaels "Time crunched Training program" to get into endurance shape for the ~ 4 month competetive cycling season. It will be an experiment in bumping my carb intake "just enough" to accommodate the increased glycogen burning from the cycling workouts. I'll be looking to these posts for advice on that one. In the end I think being more efficient at fat burning should help our performance as endurance athletes as well.

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    Heather H's Avatar
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    Hi eisenreich,
    I've been a triathlete for 8 years now, I'm not super fast, but I did my first Ironman in November and loved it! Did my first half in 2008, and started eating mostly Primal in the fall of 2009.

    I definitely feel better without grains or sugar, but I use Infinit (a sports drink with maltodextrin (sugar) and a little protein) during long training. I also add in extra carbs before longer workouts usually sweet potatoes, potatoes, squash, sometimes rice and sometimes Mexican food (yum!) with corn tortillas. I also use a recovery drink called Ultragen after long workouts, it has some sugars but lots of protein and branched chain amino acids.

    All that said, there were definitely times during the height of Ironman training when I just could not get enough to eat no matter what! I'd have a big healthy dinner and 20 minutes later be starving. Those were times when trying to eat properly just went out the window and I'd have a milkshake or cake or something! Also, waking up in the middle of the night starving was fairly common- that usually led to poor choices too.

    In my opinion, I don't think occasional binges during Ironman training hurt me, I didn't gain weight, I didn't get sick, but I probably would have felt even better if I had stayed 100% Primal.

    Nell is a triathlete who is 100% Paleo all the time http://stephenson.typepad.com/train_with_nellie/

    Hope that helps and good luck at B2B, I hear it's a great race!

    -Heather

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    Welcome to the dark side! Many endurance athletes will think you are nuts, but its very do-able. I have trained well over 100 triathletes to Ironman races over the past 4 years. Some vegans even! First thing I would suggest is you get a really good grounding in the paleo/primal diet concepts. Read the Primal Blueprint and The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf. Both are very well worth the read. Once you have a foundation all set up, dig into the Loren Cordain/Joe Freil "Paleo Diet for Athletes" The PDFA is way less scientifically oriented and would be considered by truley cult-ish paleos as blasphamy, but if you are committed to training for endurance, you need to use some sports nutrition to meet the caloric needs of racing and very long training days until you get REALLY metabolicly eficient. Check out the book, Metabolic Efficiency, by Bob Seebohar. Bob is the USA Triathlon team nutritionist and has done extensive work on training the body to utilize fat for energy during sports. I'm in the middle of taking a take-home exam for my next level of USAT certification and there's a whole question dedicated to me designing a metabolically efficient diet plan for a compettitive Elite Level Athlete. Guess what? It's grain, dairy and legume free.

    I was out riding with a client last week and we stopped at a road intersection and he bust into a belly laugh when I pulled a par-cooked yam from my jersey and started munching it down. Its an aquired taste, but a great source of carbs. I take the philosophy that if you are primarily burning fat, it's like a good coal fire. Once you lay down the bed of coals, anything will burn, until the coals finally burn out (after you are back home and showered). I would limit myself to fully cooked legumes and rice if I were to eat any non-paleo/primal high carb foods. Yams, Yams, Yams my friend! Learn to love them and your carb needs can be met. Yam, cooked, boiled, drained, or baked, with salt 1 cup, cubes = 158 calories, 37.5g carbs, 2g protien.

    When I get back from a long workout I do a recovery smoothy and yes, I throw cooked yams in them! along with cocnut cream, berries, a banana, egg based protein powder, some almond milk and some ice.

    Getting the protein in first will be very important to provide satiety. Next important is fat. Finally the carbs come in.

    Your best bang for your buck will be to move slowly and often during base phase of training and spend some time in the weight room lifting heavy things. If you are not experienced, find someone who is, its critical you have good form. Mix in ONE High intensity interval in Running and cycling every week to start with. I can send you some sample plans for how I trained everyone. Send me a private message and we can hook up.

    Good luck, you have some ambitious goals. As a 4X IM finisher myself, I know the feeling. I was trying to qualify for the WS100 last year when I blew out my knee and needed surgery. No too much future for me in running, but I got back in the saddle and my XC skis are getting lots of use this season up in Tahoe.

    My training is an N=1 experience, but I have seen no drop off in my performance since going 100% Paleo in October of 2010. In fact I have seen a pretty nice shift in body composition and a 15 watt increase in my bike FTP.

    Cheers,

    Dave
    Last edited by Karma; 01-05-2011 at 10:40 PM.

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    Berndt heinrich's book "Why we Run" is an interesting read with LOTS of physiology discussion. A really interesting read.

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    eisenreich's Avatar
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    Thanks for the responses, it's great that Mark set up this forum so that people can share their experiences.

    DP - I've heard a lot of good things about P90X, though I doubt I'll have much time to crosstrain on top of S/B/R'ing, with some yoga mixed in for flexibility. GL with the cycling season, your after pics on the site look great!

    Heather - Glad to hear that an Ironman while Primal is possible. From a lot of the blogs I've been reading, Paleo/Primal is really starting to catch on among endurance athletes. If you can train your body to simply burn fat for the first 20 miles, you're in a great position to finally use that glucose towards the end for a great kick.

    I like the flexibility of the plan (80/20 rule) and that as endurance athletes, we have much more leeway when it comes to carb intake than the average sedantary person Mark wrote the book for. I've never had any food allergies, so that is another positive if I decide to grab an occasional slice of pizza. That said, going on my second week and I really don't have any grain-craving to speak of.

    Gordo - Great call on the fruit smoothies, definitely adding that to the repertoire. I'm also reading a lot more about fasted training and it sounds promising. If nothing else, it'll save me a ton of money on GU, gels, and little gummy bears..

    Dave - Thanks for all of the info, I'll definitely be in touch (just noticed that your PM feature is turned off, my e-mail is bphoover@gmail.com). It's strange to be on the fringe of both CW'ers (No pasta?!?) and PB'ers (Stop killing yourself!!), but good to know I'm not alone out there. I've jotted done the books you've mentioned, just trying to read as much as I can at the moment. Well, that and picking up a big sack of yams on the way home
    Last edited by eisenreich; 01-06-2011 at 06:58 AM.

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    I'm not an endurance athlete by any means but I've run a few marathons in my time and I never run over 4 miles in training. My training predominantly consists of met-con workouts amd Olympic Lifting. I have a fairly strict Paleo diet too.

    While I don't post great times (around 3 1/2 hrs for a marathon), it's comfortable and certainly very achievable.

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    i can imagine it is very possible, and of course those more experienced can say better.

    if i had more time, and i don't, then i would get back into triathlon training. it's very popular here in NZ. i did olympic distance training as a vegan, so i know that these things can be done on 'extreme' diets. i would think it would be even easier on this one.

    definitely keep up the yoga. twice a week (if you are doing classes) is a good addition to your training runs. i would recommend astanga or anusara, in particular, though and "power vinyasa" will likely work too. i rotated yoga classes into my training, since it would be two trainings a day: am run, pm bike; am bike pm swim; am swim, pm run; am run, pm yoga; am bike, pm swim; am swim, pm run; am run, pm yoga; am bike, pm swim; am swim, pm run; am run, pm bike; am bike . . . . you get the idea. i would usually do a bit of yoga (about 10 -20 minutes) each day before the training, and then finish with a few gentle stretches before showering, eating, prepping for bed.

    i think the whole hting would be *much* easier on paleo.

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