I want to share something amazing with you. Something that benefits my running, and may benefit your running in the long run (haha, but really). When I tell people that I run low carb/keto they get the stank face. “I could never do that” is always the first thing that comes out of there mouth. They don’t want to listen to all of the good that comes out of running low carb.
I will start with my 6-week keto reset, because I’m already fat adapted, but I need to clean up the mechanics of my fat burning equipment to kick it into high gear. At the moment I’m just over 3 weeks in. I’m conscious of what passes my lips. I don’t track, but I have done tracking in the past and I have a pretty good idea of my carb count. I stick to keto veggies and minimize onion and garlic use.
Back to the benefits of running low carb:
Benefit #1: The big one for me was swelling. When I consumed tons of carbs I would swell during races. My hands and feet would swell, sting, and turn blotchy red. My feet would swell up to my ankles. It was uncomfortable and disturbing. Now that I’m fat adapted and eat under 50 carbs a day, that problem no longer exists. When I’m out on the trail my hands and feet stay slender and normal colored.
Benefit #2: Who likes the aches and pains that come with running a hard 50k. Not this girl, but low carb has fixed that to a certain extent for me. I still have the pain, I no longer have to suffer from it for days and days. I no longer have to walk like a 100-year-old woman. I no longer feel like I’m going to fall apart at the seams. I’m usually recovered by day 4 and can run after that.
Benefit #3: Eating is an important part of running longer distances. Becoming fat adapted (low carb) has made it so I don’t have to eat much on the trails to keep my energy up. My body uses its own fat to keep going. When I get into glycogen burning mode (hill climbs, finish line) I can use carbs strategically as “rocket-fuel” to get up those climbs without bonking (hitting empty in my gas tank).
Benefit #4: Last on my list is urinating while running. In the old SAD (standard American diet) day I wouldn’t urinate for an entire 50K (6-9 hours), plus hours after. When I would it was uncomfortable and painful. I never thought much of it, just thought that is was pretty normal. Well, let me tell you, it is not. I’m pretty sure it meant that my kidneys were not functioning well. Now that I am a low carber, I have zero problems in the urination department. I will usually step off the trail 2-3 times during a 50k, plus urinate after the race without any pain or discomfort. Once again that tells me that my kidney function is doing well.
All in all, I am glad that I am a low carb runner. My body functions at an optimal level and I feel amazing. I’m never going back to the SAD diet. I’m a low carber for life!!! -SH