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Old 12-12-2013, 05:37 PM   #1
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Running Half marathon Carb free...HELP PLEASE

I am doing a very low carb diet and training for a half marathon. I have lost about 40 pounds in the last 52 days doing this. I keep getting the "you will have to have carbs on race day" speech and I want to prove them wrong. My question is: do I need to eat a protein snack during the race. I ran 8 miles Saturday and did not even need a sip of water. But on race day and I am doing 10 miles Sunday I want to start adding in the snack if needed. Do they make a pure protein GU PACK? Like a zero carb gu pack? I only eat 3-5 carbs a day and want to keep with that plan. I do not see me whipping out bacon during the race!!! LOL

The race is on Jan. 19th, so looks like I will make it through on race day. Now just shooting for 2.5 hours or less.

Any advice will help. First time training for marathon and doing it low carb has been great with the energy!!!
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Old 12-12-2013, 05:49 PM   #2
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I have run many 1/2s low carb. I always trained with no carbs, hard boiled eggs and coffee before run, stay hydrated even if you are not thirsty. The actual run, I always indulged in the m&ms at mile 9 just because I like them. . For years I always did 8-10 mile runs on Sunday
You might get more advise in the Exercise Forum.
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Old 12-12-2013, 06:13 PM   #3
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Thanks you. Sounds like a plan
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Old 12-12-2013, 06:36 PM   #4
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You might want to read "The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance" by Phinney and Volek. If you are keto-adapted (which can take a number of weeks) then your body will have access to thousands of calories from your own body fat on race day.
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Old 12-12-2013, 06:37 PM   #5
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OK will check that out
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Old 12-13-2013, 12:02 AM   #6
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There is no way for anyone to know for sure how your body will react on race day. When I am at peak fitness I can go for a 2-3 hour run at easy effort with no issue. However, on race day I expect to be pushing my limits to max effort for that distance and that is a entirely different animal.

If you train with a HR monitor there are tools out there to monitor this in real-time and you can tell where your at. If not then you can you rely on feel. The value in training with a HR monitor is that you know immediately if you HR is creeping or your pushing to hard. Using my example above I know exactly what my HR Zones are and how long I can sustain an effort in each zone. For 10-15 mile training "easy pace" run my optimal zone is around 135-145. Race day I can push that to 155-165 over that same distance.

So why does this matter? You body can function in ketosis just fine in that easy pace zone. Try doing that at 80-90% of your Max HR (155-165 for me) and I am going to crash hard about 1 hour in without fueling. So what do you fuel with? Fat and Protein are both out, it takes to long to break down and can't keep up with demand. For me I have found gels to work perfectly. 1 gel each 20 minutes past 1 hour and I am good to go. These gels are designed to be quickly absorbed and turned to fuel and pre-measured at 100 calories per pack.

So if I were planning a half today I would be looking at 3 gels to finish. 1:00, 1:20 and 1:40. As soon as I finish it is right back on plan and in 6 years my body has never noticed the difference and remained in ketosis throughout. This has worked for everything from Half Marathons that last just under 2 hours to a Full Ironman that lasted 15 hours.

If you are considering some fuel, try it out in training first. NOTHING NEW ON RACE DAY!
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Last edited by batlou; 12-13-2013 at 12:04 AM..
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Old 12-13-2013, 12:20 AM   #7
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Although I am definitely no expert in running, what Batlou says makes sense. If you plan to be really pushing yourself you might want a little something to give yourself a boost and the gels sound ideal. I'm sure you will burn them off that quick that you'll stay in ketosis.

Good luck! You have done amazing
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Old 12-13-2013, 03:44 AM   #8
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It completely depends on your training. Some athletes burn almost 100% fat for long endurance events, where as others do need carbs. Me, my HR never gets up high enough that I get into the glycogen (carb) burning zone. So I could go on low carb easily, however my husband is different, there is no way he could do an endurance event without carbs. Why are we different, who knows. We both work out a lot. You could try it out and see what works. Will there be refueling stations? What will they have? If they don't have gels just plan on carrying a few in case you bonk. Although I have heard that it is too late at that point, it just makes you walk. I have done two halfs and my coach made me run 20K a month before just to see how my body would react. Maybe you could test it out.
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Old 12-13-2013, 04:53 AM   #9
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Thanks that sounds like a plan guys, the advice all makes perfect sense.

I know I will be pushing, just because I am competitive. I am running with my wives company team and know them well enough to talk smack and just over all good competition and fun. I was 80 plus pounds over weight when the decision was made to run in this event 52 days ago. They were all saying no way I would finish. I not only want to finish but I want to run the whole thing. The Houston Marathon is on Jan. 19th and looks like the training is coming right along. I could barely walk a mile 52 days ago. This morning I only ran 3 miles but had a 12:09 pace. My last long was 8 miles at 14:28 pace. This will be my first running of a road race ever, and it will be this half marathon. I have never even run in any road race, not even a 5k. So will be all new. I think with the advice I have gotten I am just going to bring a few gel packs. I am planning to try and get to a 12 minute pace which is walking for most but running for me. I do run with a HR monitor and try and stay in the zone but the last mile I am always pushing. I have 10 miles on Sunday and will see how that goes. Again thanks for the advice.
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Old 12-13-2013, 05:03 AM   #10
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@Punkin: You are actually making my point perfectly. I would suggest that if your HR is not climbing into higher zones then you have some untapped speed that you might want to tap into. Google and read up on Lactate Threshold and how to determine what yours is. You can use this data to help facilitate part of your training and find out just how much is there.
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Old 12-13-2013, 05:08 AM   #11
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Just wanted to say I'm running my first 1/2 in May. I've been training and running 5 and 10 K for a few months and haven't had any need to increase carbs. I've been running 7-8 miles every Sunday (despite the cold) and I fuel up with bullet proof coffee around an hour before I start, and then I'm off. No bonking yet.
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Old 12-13-2013, 05:12 AM   #12
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@kempmuhlbauer: That sounds like a great plan and your doing just fine if you are already up to 10 miles. Just be careful not to push too hard too fast. Plan on adding roughly 10% per week until you reach the planned distance or close to it (12 miles) 2 weeks out from your race. You should be scheduling a taper week just prior to your race to heal and rest.

Congrats on your loss so far and good luck in your training.
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Old 12-13-2013, 05:26 AM   #13
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Batlou: Thanks. I am following a strict schedule. It does taper the two weeks before the race. So sounds like I am on the right track. The 10 miler will be slow shooting for sub 14, but will take anything under 14:28 what I ran on my 8 miler last week. It is crazy I use to hate to run, now I hate my off days and look forward to my longs. I think because each long is a new long for me. Thanks again.
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