I’ve decided to post about my progress since I’ve been on the low carbohydrate, moderate protein, high fat diet in January. I wanted to give a run down of my personal experience with low-carb and specifically the effects it had on my performance.
The specifics of my macronutrient restrictions included:
< 25 g of carbs / day
< 80 g of protein/ day
and unlimited fat intake depending on my training rigor
I did not change my training intensity nor volume so I could have a consistent comparison of the effects of my diet on my training.
Excerpts from my training journal :
"I can definitely feel a difference in my morning runs. After being on this diet for 4 days, I feel extremely sluggish and dazed during the first 2 miles of my easy runs. After 2 miles however I feel pretty normal and steady again. My workout days are pretty rough as well. I did an 8 x 1K workout that was miserable! My times were awful. Hopefully I will be adjusting soon.
“I am still a bit hungry on my morning runs when I first begin but I am getting used to it. On my interval training days (3x /week) I feel oddly stronger after my warmups than I did before low carb. I actually feel like I have more energy during the lasts repeats especially on mile repeats and longer intervals. I started hill sprints again and those have suffered a lot. After the first 20 seconds of the sprint I start to tank. It’s really crazy thinking about the text book pictures of the ATP-PC system during my workout and experiencing it crash. Since I have depleted my glucose supply glycolysis is lagging which is why the last 25 seconds of my hill sprints feel like I’m dying. Even though it is difficult for training, I am really enjoying applying/experimenting with all the science I have learned in my training.”
I believe I have pretty much leveled off with my low-carb tolerance. My training has both seen improvements and detriments. My longer runs (12+) are so much more enjoyable now! I don’t tank or hit that glycogen depletion feeling after 90 minutes any more! The only workouts that are still suffering are my shorter/anaerobic workouts. All workouts with hill repeats/ sprints under 1 minute still feel like death. It definitely makes sense coming from a scientific view of it. Being that I am training for aerobic races of 5k distance or greater, this really is only a detriment during my final kick of the race. All other endurance workouts have greatly improved! I don’t know if I will stay low carb indefinitely. There are still many other aspects to be looked at such as if it is healthful long term apart from running /performance. And I do miss my bananas and oatmeal!