Long Distance Running

(Louisa) #1

Hi All, I am new here and have been doing Keto for two weeks now. I am currently training for a half marathon (race is in 5 weeks). I get up early in the morning to go train and, the problem is when I jog my legs feel heavy - feels like I ran a marathon the day before. I am currently drinking magnesium tablets and have sea salt in my water. I run on an empty stomach and also want to find out if I should have a recovery drink and if full cream milk will be ok? I look forward to your replies, thank you

(Scott) #2

I was recovering from an ankle injury so I wasn’t sure if I should blame keto or not but here is what my experience is. I had that same feeling of heavy legs and had to insert walk breaks, I just had no energy. It took about three months for me to get over it completely. Now the feeling is I have more energy and I always run fasted due to being a early morning runner. Trying to get my miles up for a half and possibly my first full. Good luck and when you get fully fat adapted it is like someone threw a switch. You will say “wait a minute…I am not tired anymore”

(Carl Keller) #3

Hi Louisa.

In the beginning, you can expect a drop in performance as your body is trying to adapt to fat for fuel. It is often recommended that people avoid intense activities or at least reduce the intensity during the transition phase. This might go on for several weeks, a month or even a bit longer but once fat is your primary fuel, you should see improved energy and stamina.

There’s a lot of suggestions to carb up a bit after running or workouts since we can deplete various amounts of our glycogen stores. I think things like small amounts of nuts, avocados and vegetables will definitely help and also be sure to replace your lost electrolytes. Sweating is going to obviously make you lose water but salt is also going to be excreted at a much higher rate than you are used to. Carbs tend to help us retain salt and once those are limited, our body requires 2-3 times more than before.

Here’s a interesting article that parallels your struggles and has a happy ending:

And this thread might better give you some pointers, from a runner’s perspective:

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #4

It is possible that you are hypovolemic at that hour. Dr. Phinney recommends a cup or so of bone broth about 45 minutes before beginning exercise, in order to bring up the blood volume.

(Louisa) #5

Hi Carl, thank you so much for the information.

I drank a cup of black coffee this morning before my run and could feel a difference, not quite where I want to be but much, much better.

Looking forward to being fat adapted.

(Louisa) #6

Hi Paul, I have no idea - did have a cup of black coffee this morning before my run and felt much better, will check out bone broth.

Thanks for the info.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #7

The point of the bone broth is that it also contains salt. If you did well on coffee, I suspect you’ll be really happy when you try bone broth! Good luck, in any case. :+1:



Definitely what the other guys are saying applies, must get plenty of salt. A lot more than usual. Your kidney is now throwing it out.

Keto and endurance sports are no stranger to each other. Dr Phinney started there. Dr Noakes (also a marathoner). Peter Atia an extreme swimmer …

While you are in the adaptation phase your muscles are learning to draw upon fat reserves so I’d expect that sort of heaviness (my legs felt like that) but it does get better and everything starts to feel normal. Then you will be drawing on vast reserves of fat, even the leanest stick insect athlete has got plenty, so you should be able to keep going and going …

Phinney started with a rowing team, going from the West Coast to Hawaii, his team took 45 days IIRC and kept getting stronger and stronger as time went on, the rest of the teams either dropped out or took over 60 days and were clearly struggling.

If you haven’t checked out Noakes - his story is truly fascinating, they took him to court in South Africa and tried to strip him of his medical license for suggesting someone go on a low-carb diet … but they failed. He’s the guy who suggested too much water for athletes can be deadly, nobody believed him until someone died that way. He original wrote books about carb powered running until he discovered Drs Phinney and Volek - he was humble enough to admit his error and did a full 180 degree flip - now a low carb advocate.