I have received many questions regarding how my ultra running training is going during my nutrition experiment and I will note a few interesting facts in this short blog update.
The first is that I am up to 18 miles for my long run. This was done on Sunday and an increase of 5 miles from seven days prior. As a coach educator, I often like to explore the "why" behind common fallacies and one of them is the 10% "rule". In short, it has been stated that volume should not be increased from one week to another more than 10%. I, along with many other ultra runners (and triathletes) have disproved that "rule" quite often and with much success (defined as no injuries). What allowed me to increase my mileage by about 39% in one week? Smart training but even more important, intelligent recovery.
As I always say (and teach), "stress + recovery = adaptation". Now, I am certainly not sitting on my butt in between long runs but I try to control my recovery opportunities with a careful eye. Included in my personal recovery strategies are: river baths, compression clothing, foam rolling, self massage, sleep, proper nutrition (more on that in a bit), hydration and overall management of my life/work balance. There are many opportunities that present themselves outside of the traditional rest day and I urge all athletes to explore these while listening to their bodies.
I must say that the 18 miles I put in this weekend went by quick. Not once did my motivation falter nor did my energy level. My low carbohydrate, high fat diet is definitely doing the trick with improving my satiety and maintaining consistent energy levels. I haven't run that far since training for Leadville years ago and I was a bit surprised that while the legs were a bit fatigued upon finishing, there were no negative body signs that I had experienced pre-nutrition experiment. I would normally be trashed after a run like this: grouchy, needing to sleep immediately, not fun to be around. You get the picture. But this weekend it was nothing of the sort! Even better was the fact that my legs felt fully recovered by the next morning before team swim practice.
Am I controlling the inflammatory process more efficiently with this alteration in my nutrition? How can that be with eating such a high fat diet? It is impossible. Or is it? I do believe it is time that many endurance athletes begin to rethink what they are putting in their bodies and in what proportions.
I am so elated with my progress so far that I am constructing a webinar on the topic of "Carbohydrate Unloading". Look for it in January.
Tomorrow is an aggressive 12 mile run with over 1500 feet of vertical gain in 2.5 miles. Let's put this nutrition plan to the test, less than two days after my 18 mile run.
Stay tuned...I'm just getting warmed up!