Glucose can be produced by the liver from fat and protein and does not need to be ingested as carbohydrates in our diets.
Running on Fat – The Mt. Buller Sky Run
The Mt. Buller Sky Run – 50km of running and walking, 2600m metres of ascending and descending in less than 8 hours and only 25 to 30gms of carbohydrates consumed throughout the adventure.
In Part One I talked about the highs and lows of my first ultra marathon, my rookie mistakes getting lost and running the course. Part Two is about Running on Fat, how I felt it worked, my recovery and what’s next.
People ask me all the time why have I chosen Low Carbohydrate High Fat (LCHF) as my way of eating/fueling my body.
Did I hit a wall? I don’t believe so. When you compare the photo of me on top of Mt Buller after running 47kms to the one on Mt Stirling taken at about 8kms I still look surprisingly fresh. Physically my legs were hammered but mentally I was fine. In the latter half of the race I was reduced to walking, (due to a bad ankle) yet I still maintained a steady pace. I had lost over 40mins to the field going off course but in the end the runner in front only finished 6mins ahead of me.
Post Race Recovery. I had the usual post marathon soreness but the worst of it was gone in two days and by Thursday I was moving quite well. The following Monday I ran a solid 15km at Lysterfield Lake on the bike tracks and was fine. The Thursday after that week I completed a full interval session in the morning and that afternoon was put through a leg strength and conditioning set with the new physiotherapist at work. I personally consider this as significant in regard to my recovery. In all other races where I have emptied the tank (especially my two marathons) it has taken me 6 to 8 weeks to return to intervals. Also, in all the years I have run the morning interval sessions I have never followed it up with a strength session on the same day. To do this two weeks after a big race is a definite improvement in my recovery. Yes, I was sore afterwards and my Saturday run was a bit of a slow shuffle yet I still ran 16km comfortably on the Sunday. I now have my sights set on the Great Ocean Road Marathon in the middle of May. In the seven years since I have returned to running I don’t remember ever recovering this well, nor this quickly. In the past I wouldn’t have contemplated running two big runs so close together.
So what’s next? All going well, I will be running the Great Ocean Road Marathon and it goes without saying it will be running on fat again. I am also looking forward to the Low Carb Down Under conference on June 7th at the St Kilda town hall where the co-author of ‘The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance’, Jeff S Volek, PhD, RD will be presenting. In the mean time I am refining my LCHF journey, it worked well for me on the Mt Buller Sky Run but I believe, as in all aspects of running, that I can refine and improve on it much more.
I know LCHF is controversial, and it goes against all supposed scientific sporting nutrition plans. I have been told more than once that I am crazy; LCHF is far too restrictive and dangerous, that it will kill me and so on. However, at the end of the day, I feel fantastic and I have loads of energy. I feel I get stronger as my runs progress, especially when I am on track with my nutrition. My recovery from training sessions and this race have been fantastic and ultimately it works well for me.