Runner going back into strict Keto (18gm), wondering what happened

(David Cooke) #1

I am 73, running about 30 miles a week.
I realised that I must be consuming over 200gm carbs daily, and my blood preesure was way to high so I went back to Keto.
Positive: blood pressure ideal, blood sugar 103.
Negative: I started running slowly and yesterday after finishing a 15K I got violent cramps, lasting for 2 hours. Really bad.
It was a hot, humid day, but we have that 9 months a year.
Question, would you consider this to be as a result of my not being in fat burning mode, and trying to run without “carbing up”?

(A fool and his bacon are soon parted) #2

The lack of performance, yes; the cramps, no. The cramping is more likely to be lack of electrolytes, in particular magnesium. Keep your salt up a bit, so as to make regulating everything a bit easier. If necessary, you might need to take a supplement. You can get magnesium in leafy greens, too.

If you were non-keto long enough to lose your fat-adaptation, you’ll have to wait out the re-adaptation period.


David - I would agree. Just take it steady, maybe even cut back a bit and you’ll soon feel fine again. And keep up the electrolytes as Paul says. You are living in a hot humid country. I remember running 16 miles in Singapore once. Definitely didn’t take enough water with me.

(Edith) #4

My salt need is pretty high when I’m strict keto/carnivore. I have to take two teaspoons of salt a day or I get cramps particularly at night. I take 1/4 teaspoon salt before my runs and I also put salt in my water for during the runs.

I forgot my pre-run salt several weeks ago and my muscles let me know. My left side totally tightened up.


Have you been consistently running? Is 15K a typical day? It sounds like an overuse. Were all muscles cramping or just your leg muscles? If it was dehydration or an electrolyte issue/imbalance then all muscle should have been cramping up not just your leg muscles. A former Nobel scientist, (Dr. Rod Mackinnon) believes the cause is hyperactive motor neurons that send repetitive signals to muscles causing them to cramp. What is not known is why do the nerves become dysfunctional. Maybe it’s a way for the body to protect itself. Cyclists and runners have been using pickle juice for years to fight off cramps. It works almost instantly for most.

(David Cooke) #6

Thanks for the remarks…
I realised that while I was running low carb, not Keto, I had diminished my salt intake. I have now upped my intake + started magnesium tablets, seems to be working. I had to ween myself back onto longer distances though, I felt like I’d run a marathon!
I feel confident that I’ll get through my upcoming Half marathon OK, especially now that temperatures are going down.