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Thread: Distance Running and Primal page

  1. #1
    xxHuggieBearxx's Avatar
    xxHuggieBearxx is offline Junior Member
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    Distance Running and Primal

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    I have been primal for about a year now and often go days with very low carb levels (e.g. none to speak of). I have been a "runner" on and off for the last few years, but usually distances under or up to 5 miles.

    My approach to running is really methodical and i always attempt to keep my heart rate at 150-155, and I then adjust my speed while running to stay at this level. As a result, I am quite the slow runner

    Anyway, i got more serious about this a couple of months ago and am now running 10k distances for long runs, and plan to continue to much longer distances.


    I have noticed an objectively quantifiable issue where my running performance, as measured by my ability to keep my heart rate below the 155 threshold and my overall run time performance is significantly worse when I have had no carbs in the last day or so.

    For example, a run last week with carbs i did:

    3 Miles, 30 minutes, avg HR 153

    While yesterday after two days of no carbs I did:

    3 miles, 33 minutes, avg HR 158

    This is a significantly worse performance and in fact my heart rate spiked quite a bit above 160.


    I've seen a lot of folks on here say that carbs are not necessary for distance running, and certainly not for short distances like 3 miles, but I am definitely experiencing this performance phenomenon and have observed/proven it over several months (not just this one off example).

    A few questions:

    1) Am i doing something wrong? Do i just need to eat a banana before i go running each time?

    2) Can i train my body to perform equally well without carbs? Do i need to "fight through it" and expect this to change at some point?

    3) Should I just accept the higher heart rate and worse performance?


    My approach to running has always been to be maniacal about keeping my heart rate low and below 155 to keep it below the aerobic threshold, as I believe this is the best way to improve distance/performance over time. My issue is that my low carb lifestyle seems to be making that very very difficult to stick to.

    Anyone with similar experiences or thoughts on the matter?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    pace2race's Avatar
    pace2race is offline Senior Member
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    You don't need extra carbs for these run distances. Much of what your heart rate is during a run will be effected more by the temperature, your body's ability to cool itself, if you've just had a cup of coffee or how rested and stressed you are, etc. I keep my workouts to their intended purpose. When I do my daily easy run, it's just that. I record heart rate to grade the effort, but the run is done by perceived effort. I run what feels easy that morning. I do interval workouts to work conditioning at that effort. Whether it's with kettle bells, run sprints or bike intervals. By working the anerobic system for short sprint intervals and then conditioning with a daily easy effort hour run the heart rate improves and overall fitness is better than if you just did easy runs or just did HIIT. All this is my opinion and what my training has developed into.

  3. #3
    xxHuggieBearxx's Avatar
    xxHuggieBearxx is offline Junior Member
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    I appreciate what you're saying and in general that is how im trying to approach it. However, when carbless I definitely have a HR that is on average 5 - 10 BPM higher for the same level of effort. So, to keep from exceeding my target heart rate I have to slow way down....well, not way down but lets say 1 - 1:30 slower pace per mile.

    Even if i just decided to live with the performance degradation and go carbless for all runs, should i slow my pace down to keep my heart rate down, or should i just accept the moderately higher heart rate? The issue is my HR pushes to 160-162 which i fear is getting toward the anaerobic threshold.

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    pace2race's Avatar
    pace2race is offline Senior Member
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    Splits (GPS Interval)
    Type Distance Duration Total Duration Pace Avg HR Max HR Notes
    1 Interval 1 mi 9:25.01 9:25.01 9:26 129 165
    2 Interval 1 mi 9:19.12 18:44.13 9:20 123 137
    3 Interval 1 mi 9:23.66 28:07.79 9:24 135 150
    4 Interval 1 mi 9:01.45 37:09.24 9:02 146 186
    5 Interval 1 mi 9:25.60 46:34.84 9:26 138 158
    6 Interval 1 mi 9:29.26 56:04.10 9:30 141 152
    7 Interval 0.22 mi 2:03.39 58:07.49 9:21 142 150

    The above is from this morning. It was 35F out. I'm 50 years old and my Max heart rate is around 185 bpm. The loop I run is hilly. I am fasted pre run and have about 3 cups of coffee pre run. First 5k is with my dog and sometimes he's more into rabbits and squirrels so he pulls and I pull back upping my heart rate. My max rate was recorded from 137 bpm to 186 bpm. I grade effort by average heart rate. The longer the run, the more the average drifts up. If you try to keep max heart rate from exceeding a value I imagine you are having to keep slowing down or even walk up some up hills. I would just work at keeping the average within the target zone. Spikes happen. During a 3-mile easy run you're just getting warmed up and it's over. Unless you're dehydrated or you're electrolytes are jacked up I can't see keeping heart rate Down an issue at easy effort. If you're not lethargic pre run, carbs won't impact your run. It's to short a distance at easy effort. If you eat anything immediately before running, the blood diversion into the digestive track can elevate the heart rate since both digestion and the circulatory system that cools the body are in demand and the heart must beat faster to meet both. Body temp can also elevate during digestion. Try to eat a couple of hours pre run and the food will be in the blood stream and available to feed the muscles.

  6. #6
    xxHuggieBearxx's Avatar
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    Thanks for the detail. I can tell you with certainty that I am experiencing a significant issue running when on extreme low carbs. I ran again this morning and ate a banana 45 minutes before, and my performance was substantially better.



    But here is what I'm thinking --- i think my target heart rate of 150 is just too high. I am 39 years old, and I'm going to use the MAF method to target 141 as my max for aerobic training. Its going to slow me down a lot, but i think if i pursue it consistently my body will acclimate to using fat stores for energy and this phenomenon will probably disappear.


    So I was planning to run 6 miles saturday at an avg HR of 155 HR, which would have taken me about an hour. I am going to drop my max to 141 and actually try to average in the 130's (HR), so it will be interesting to see if i can even do it without walking for stretches.

    Not going to be fun, but i think thats what i need to do at this point for the next few months.

    Thanks for your help.




    Quote Originally Posted by pace2race View Post
    Splits (GPS Interval)
    Type Distance Duration Total Duration Pace Avg HR Max HR Notes
    1 Interval 1 mi 9:25.01 9:25.01 9:26 129 165
    2 Interval 1 mi 9:19.12 18:44.13 9:20 123 137
    3 Interval 1 mi 9:23.66 28:07.79 9:24 135 150
    4 Interval 1 mi 9:01.45 37:09.24 9:02 146 186
    5 Interval 1 mi 9:25.60 46:34.84 9:26 138 158
    6 Interval 1 mi 9:29.26 56:04.10 9:30 141 152
    7 Interval 0.22 mi 2:03.39 58:07.49 9:21 142 150

    The above is from this morning. It was 35F out. I'm 50 years old and my Max heart rate is around 185 bpm. The loop I run is hilly. I am fasted pre run and have about 3 cups of coffee pre run. First 5k is with my dog and sometimes he's more into rabbits and squirrels so he pulls and I pull back upping my heart rate. My max rate was recorded from 137 bpm to 186 bpm. I grade effort by average heart rate. The longer the run, the more the average drifts up. If you try to keep max heart rate from exceeding a value I imagine you are having to keep slowing down or even walk up some up hills. I would just work at keeping the average within the target zone. Spikes happen. During a 3-mile easy run you're just getting warmed up and it's over. Unless you're dehydrated or you're electrolytes are jacked up I can't see keeping heart rate Down an issue at easy effort. If you're not lethargic pre run, carbs won't impact your run. It's to short a distance at easy effort. If you eat anything immediately before running, the blood diversion into the digestive track can elevate the heart rate since both digestion and the circulatory system that cools the body are in demand and the heart must beat faster to meet both. Body temp can also elevate during digestion. Try to eat a couple of hours pre run and the food will be in the blood stream and available to feed the muscles.

  7. #7
    Hedonist2's Avatar
    Hedonist2 is offline Senior Member
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    Keep experimenting. Find what works for you in the long run. (hehe. Unintentional pun.)
    Ancestral Health Info - My blog about Primal and the general ancestral health movement. Site just remodeled using HTML5/CSS3 instead of Wordpress.

  8. #8
    sbhikes's Avatar
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    Check out Barefoot Ted's huaraches google group. These guys are doing all the stuff you are doing.
    Female, 5'3", 49, Starting weight: 163lbs. Current weight: 135 (more or less).
    Starting squat: 45lbs. Current squat: 170 x 3. Current Deadlift: 220 x 3

  9. #9
    xxHuggieBearxx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Annlee View Post

    I bought and read this small book and did quite a bit of research. I've learned a lot and am about to make a drastic change to my diet and running approach. I am going to share my change in approach here and come back and provide an update in about three months as to what my results were and whether it works....that is, if i can stick to it because its not going to be easy.

    I believe my accelerated HR problems are caused by being in reasonably poor aerobic shape and also, and maybe more importantly, my body not being very efficient at burning fat for fuel.

    I have been following the primal diet for over one year now and have had fantastic results -- however, my approach has always been 80/20...and I probably have at least two meals per week that are completely non-primal. I rarely exceed 2 or 3 days without having a high carb meal. Nevertheless, this approach lost me close to 30 pounds and has drastically improved my quality of life.

    With all that said, I am about to follow a two pronged approach in an attempt to transform the way my body processes nutrients.

    1) I am going to pursue a course of low HR running training following the MAF approach

    2) I am going to do 2 - 3 weeks of extremely low carb dieting (sub-50g per day)


    I believe combining the two should force my body to become more efficient at processing fat for fuel, and should also drastically improve my aerobic conditioning and ability to run long distances at low heart rates.

    Today I completed this 10k training program:

    Hal Higdon Training Programs

    And i did this last part (6 miles) with no carbs in several days and under a MAF HR of 141 (138 actually). Six miles took me 1:18 minutes versus 52 minutes last week for 5.5 miles at a 153 HR. Painful to be sure but I am hoping 3 months of this will pay big dividends and be transformational.

    I will now move on to this half-marathon training program, and plod my way through it. Wish me luck that i can stick to this and see you in three months with an update.

    HB

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