Distance Running on Keto

(Keith Frentz) #1

I’m curious to hear the experiences of others with distance running while being Keto. I’m in the second week of training for a half marathon in April. I’ve had no problem running 3 miles fasted for around 22 hours, but I’m interested in the possible need to fuel with fat on longer runs. Last October I completed a 10k after doing a fat fast for 5 days and then the morning of the race ate three eggs fried in a ton of butter. I actually beat my best training time by a decent amount with this plan, but 13.1 miles could require a different strategy. Thanks for any tips and Keto on!

Running links
First race on Keto and not fat adapted!

Check this podcast out - it has information that should be very helpful: https://blog.bulletproof.com/102-extreme-endurance-training-and-ketosis-with-ben-greenfield-podcast/

(Jacquie) #3

I think @trekkin1 is a keto long distance runner and @Emacfarland is a shorter keto distance runner. Hopefully, they will chime in soon with lots of good information. :slight_smile:

(Carol Hawkins) #4

I’m training for a marathon in April, and so far can easily cover 14 miles with nothing but water. It’s so much more enjoyable than when I was a sugar burner and needed gu or whatever every 45 minutes or so

(Erin Macfarland ) #5

Fasted runs really depend on your body fat percentage…lots of variables to consider. If you have low body fat but eat a decent sized meal the night before a run you can usually cover a longer distance. If you have a good amount of body fat you can probably handle a fasted run regardless. Also depends on morning vs afternoon. I have low body fat and can do around 6 miles in the morning fasted. But I cannot fast and do afternoon runs without feeling like I’m dying. Unless I ate a crap TON of food the day before. So body composition figures a lot into your fueling needs. You can only draw a small amount of stored energy every day from body fat, so the less you have the more fuel you’ll need to take in!

(Mike O'Brien) #6

I do a 10 mile run every few days to start my day. All that I have is bulletproof coffee and a little water along the way. It is so much easier than when I was a sugar eater.

(Jo Lo) #7

My wife and I have done all our long runs (up to 26.2) fat adapted for 2 years. If we have time we will eat bacon and eggs for breakfast, and the only food on the run will be an Epic bison bar and a Justin almond butter. No hunger and lots of energy. We are older, low intensity runners. Last marathon was 5:30. YMMV if you are young and fast.

(Ritchie Linden) #8

I ran a half marathon last year after a 24hr fast, just had a coffee and some MCT powder before hand, ran my best time 1.41, granted it was a fast course, felt great!

(Jo Lo) #9

I would like to add FWIW that keto has not hurt my sprinting. My max effort 1 mile time is 7 mins, done at least 4 times in crossfit workouts in the last 2 yrs (age 60). Just sayin.

(Keith Frentz) #10

Thank you everyone for the feedback and personal experiences!

(Todd Baum) #11

I’m new to the forum. I’ve been LCHF/keto ultramarathoner for a few years. I routinely do not drink or eat anything caloric on my long training runs. I have not found the need to fuel. The morning of your half marathon race, I would treat as any other day. I wouldn’t think you’d need or want to race with food in your stomach. And I like to keep from filling my gut too much the day before a race as well. Instead, I keep the meals normal size and have an early dinner. The “fueling” before a race isn’t something that I buy into any longer. The last half of your race might benefit from a small dose of sugar in the form of a good tasting sports drink, but I’m not sure if it is beneficial mentally or actually contributes as a fuel, maybe both. Keto on!

(Ali Rich) #12

How do you refuel after long runs? I get lost in what to increase (macros) and how much. Keep macro percentages the same and just increase calories? Keep carbs the same and only increase fat and/or protein? I’ve been on Keto for 5 months and am training for my first marathon. I’ve run 2 half marathons on Keto only fueling with water during the race and have been fine. I usually drink some bone broth with olive oil or butter in it before my long runs.

(ianrobo) #13

One point to mention here is whether you fast or not, as a Keto athlete there is no question that recovery is quicker, faster and better,

And recovery is the key to all fitness programmes.

(Hunter Hankley) #14

Not sure if this is the correct place to post this. I fell apart during my 20 mile training run this past Saturday. It was some sort of inner ear problem. I felt like I had just run up a mountain, but there was little to no elevation change. My pre run nutrition was fat coffee (about 400 calories). The problems didn’t begin until about 15 miles in. I feel my water intake was correct. Not sure if anyone has experienced this, but any insights would be greatly appreciated.

Too much too soon?
(Michael Wallace Ellwood) #15

Do you mean that your balance was affected?

(Hunter Hankley) #16

Yes, It was like my ears wouldn’t pop. I was getting dizzy unless I kept a very slow pace.

(Cait Bower) #17


I’m training for my fourth marathon (NYC on November 5), but my first as a Ketonian. My running has improved dramatically since I went HFLC, but the longest distance I’ve done as a fat burner is 13.1. In marathons, I usually bonk around mile 19–obviously there’s no real wall or bonk in a half marathon, so I don’t know if/how to fuel in-race for a full marathon. If I were still a sugar burner, I’d have a Gu pack around mile 18, but as a fat burner, I don’t know what I’ll need on board while I’m racing. Should I have an almond butter pack at mile 18? An electrolyte chew like SaltStick?

My long runs in the fall will be really telling, but I’m super nervous about not knowing what to expect. Marathon runners are obsessed with planning and I hate that I don’t know what to expect!

(Ali Rich) #18

I guess we will be in this together! It was recently suggested to me that the main focus during a long run should be electrolytes and water, I shouldn’t need any “fuel” per say.

(ianrobo) #19

In theory if you are fat adapted you will need nothing at all. In practice don’t worry about it, take whatever you like to eat imho. I take jelly babies to chew on but reality is I do not need them but tastes nice

(Andy C) #20

I’m (mostly) right there with you. The difference is I’m training for my first marathon. I don’t have the experience of doing a carb-powered race, but nearly ALL of the information I’ve found promotes carb fueling. It’s all Gatorade and gels and candy bars and the like.

My marathon is in November too, and so far I haven’t done a run long enough to have needed any fueling. Will I hit the point of needing to eat before I reach 26.2? I don’t know. I guess i assume I will, but I feel like I’m in uncharted waters here. It’s simultaneously exciting, intellectually interesting and damned frustrating.

I have seen some reference to the Epic brand bars for fueling on a long run, but I’m skeptical about eating meat on a run because of how much energy and time it takes to digest protein. I feel like the best thing would be a short- or medium-chain triglyceride, but I don’t know. It’s all hypothetical. I don’t actually know what I’m talking about.

My boss, who is also LCHF, told me he’s seen some individual packets of coconut oil. I think he found them at Trader Joe’s, but I may be misremembering. So far that’s the only idea I have for fuel to carry with me on a run. I haven’t tried it though, so I’m definitely not recommending it at this point.

I’m very much open to ideas or suggestions.