I have been doing the weekly 5 K timed free parkruns in UK every Sat’day since last 6 years ( so far 265 5k parkruns in total ) .Since going on a LCHF diet for last 2 months , I feel great , lost 4 kgs but my 5 K running time which is a very important thing for me has started going up ( from 22 minutes to an average of 24 minutes). I have always been a vegetarian since birth and my recent LCHF diet includes lots of eggs, avocadoes, nuts , veggies, cheese,yoghurt and rice with lentils. Any advice to improve or get back my best 5 K running time will be appreciated. Love the podcast and this forum – so much useful info here !!
If performance is very important to you, you might have problems with keto. Without a glycogen reserve, your gas tank is kinda running on empty for a 5k. There are marathon runners doing keto now but i think they take exogenous ketones and some carbs during run. I have adjusted to do heavy weight training in fasted keto state, but my performance in the gym is not quite as good. I’m trying to get healthy and get a great physique so I’ve accepted the loss of performance. I would give it a few months and see how you adjust over time, but in my opinion, you will not perform as well athletically without carbs. There’s a big advantage of glycogen and water storage in muscle with carbs. I will say, i feel a good improvement and increased muscle water retention with creatine.
I know there’s a guy running 100 mile marathons on keto, so you can probably Google and find some info. Like i said, i seem to remember him saying he used some carbs during the run but was keto during training to increase insulin sensitivity and get more bang from the carbs during run
A lady I interviewed for my podcast this weekend does Ironman triathlons. She said that she saw some reduction in time but that that could have easily be down to getting older - she is now in her early 50s. What she did say though is that she finds them so much easier now she is off the gels etc. and recovery is a breeze.
Certainly in comparison to an Ironman event, a 5K would be classified as a sprint. So a small carb up might help you. There are other possibilities though and I think they are actually more likely to be the reason for your (probably temporary) slowing in time.
you haven’t dialled your LCHF down to the ketogenic level so are suffering the in-betweeny blues. So you are no longer the carb burner you were but you haven’t really switched to a full on fat-burner either. This can feel a bit crappy. For many, the magic only really kicks in at the keto level. For me, it was only when I took my LCHF to a ketogenic level that my migraines and depression got a whole lot better. I lost plenty of weight with LCHF but the cravings never really eased off either.
it’s still early days. Even if you were full on keto, I would say give it a bit more time for your body to adjust. I would be amazed if your times didn’t pick up again as your body gets used to your new diet.
I also do parkruns. I’m slower than you but have recently been getting faster. Lazy keto has helped me lose 10lbs of vanity weight and I’m sure that’s helped. I usually run that distance fasted, however if I’m going for a good time I might have a banana pre parkrun. Then no more carbs for the rest of the day.
For longer distances - half marathons and marathons I do take a gel once an hour. As I live a lazy keto lifestyle the rest of the time I’m happy to use a few gels every now and then to boost performance.
I’m the guy doing 100 milers on keto, but my fast times are ALSO really important to me and the running team that I run with.
I’m sorry that your times are slipping - is anything else changing? The reason I ask is that I found that my lack of glycogen store was balanced by my decrease in weight and my muscle gains from being in a low insulin state (more growth hormone because of lower insulin).
Then again, I also love Generation UCan, which operates a bit like a “spare” glycogen store that does not cause a blood sugar spike for me.
Hi Daisy, thanks and excellant analysis - as you said, I think I’m suffering the in-betweeny blues - I’m still new to all this keto revolution and giving up Pasta, Pizza, Bread ,Cakes, Cookies, Rice etc after 43 years of binge is a bit too scary for me ! So I think I am taking baby steps and I do still have cravings for choclates , cakes etc . Thanks again - KCKO. Cheers
Thanks Paula - I’m worse than a lazy keto-er ; I think I am a lazy LCHF-er. Will try the pre-parkrun banana and keep you posted - cheers.
Wow - 100 milers on keto ! Amazing !
Sorry, I do not know about Generation UCan - will look it up ! Cheers.
Thanks Mike, I thought Creatine was more for faster recovery rather than improved performance ?
It draws water into muscles and facilitates cellular energy storage production of ATP. it’s more beneficial for short muscle movement bursts than prolonged movements like running distance, but it’s specifically the increased water storage that i believe is beneficial. The lack of insulin response on keto causes the body to secrete electrolytes, so muscle hydration can be problematic. Creatine can help keep muscles hydrated and functioning properly. In addition, recent research has shown that it has neurological benefits. Creatine is the cheapest, most studied and most effective supplement. Definitely worth researching and trying for a month to see how you feel. Typical weight gain is 3-6 pounds when starting usage but i only noticed about 2 pounds when taking in ketosis
I completely understand. I was definitely not saying you were doing anything wrong. In fact, I think stepping down slowly is a good approach. You may just have to be a little patient with your body as it gets back up to speed (pun intended!) I am sure you will be back to your 22 minute runs before long and maybe even beating them.
Thanks - a good explanation from a keto nutritionist is here: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/article/nutrition-articles/what-to-eat-before-during-and-after-your-workouts-races/
After a year in keto I can go to the gym and perform BETTER than I did when I would have a banana and some junk filled pre workout before the gym. My squats have gone up 50lbs and my deadlifts have gone up 75lbs. It just takes time. The assertion that you cannot have great athletic performance on keto does not seem correct, and I’ve heard many anecdotes to the contrary.
try running and training fasted. Nothing dials in fat adaption quicker and a lot of pro’s do do it but never admit it as they think it looks ‘bad’ on them.
Last time I did keto properly my running times took a hit, then recovered at around 6-8 weeks, you just need to stick with it as it keeps improving at a low rate. I set a half marathon PB after being on keto for 4 months, though being 20kg lighter probably also helped.
You may not be all the way fat adapted. I am 51 and it took me about 2 to 2.5 months on keto for my muscles to stop feeling like lead when I ran.
@VirginiaEdie ; I’m just back from my weekly training run and my legs felt like lead while running ; so I may be on track !!
Thanks everyone for sharing your experience and all the encouragement. Cheers !
Sounds give and do not be down heartened and all goes well b March will be saying how great it is
Can you please let us know which Generation UCan products you use, and when? I’m new to keto, but I have been running marathons the past 3 years. I’m really hoping to continue to improve my times, but I’m still trying to understand when I should keep carbs low and when/if I need to use them in training or racing. I’d appreciate any insight or advice you can offer!
@pt4kdz - I use Generation UCan in a gel form - once an hour while running marathons and longer. The gel is made by melting a tablespoon of cocount oil in a bowl, adding a scoop of UCan and enough water to make it into a gel. I transfer that to a small snack ziplock bag. During the run I bite off a corner of the bag and viola! Gel. I use Cinnamon UCan. When I’m going to be running longer than 3 hours I add some Great Lakes Collagen protein to the gel - it takes about 3 hours to metabolize but gives good energy when it does.