I am 40YO have been running on and off for about 8-10 years. I have run marathon relays (4-5 miles) for the past 4 years and felt this was the year to step up to the half. I usually run a 10-10:30 pace.
I started Atkins on June 1st to lose weight that I will be almost mandatory for me, since I started 5'9" and 221lbs. I started my training in early April and have gradually worked myself up to 3 miles every 2-3 days. I already have 50 miles logged since April. I will be following Hal Higdon's plan for beginners starting next week. Yesterday I weighed in at 212.....9 pounds in 14 days......and I can defenitely tell the difference on my latter runs.....not having to carry the extra weight.
Here is my question.......I know I am burning strictly fat which is a good thing for me......but I also realize that as I get into my longer runs I will gradually need to up my carb count with "good carbs" like grains and such and not sugar. Has anyone else done the half on Atkins?? I realize everyone's body is different, but how many carbs did you find you needed in your training? When I start the longer runs, I want to use the power gels, and even though they are mostly sugar, the body will burn them in a hurry with the longer distances.
I am running in the Air Force Half-Marathon in September.
Thanks in advance for anyone else who has been down this road and can shed some light on the unexperienced.
I dont plan on staying on a strict low-carb diet through the summer. I do plan on staying off the white breads/rice, sugars, and all that the junk food. I want to gradually up my carbs to probably close to 75-100 per day by Sept. I will carb-load on pasta right before the race. I think the longer I run, the more carbs my body can handle and still lose or maintain weight. My target weight is about 180. I have run the relays the past 2 years at 205-210, and I know that is just too much weight to carry for the half.
My experience has been that once I get up around 25-30 miles a week I need to start making sure I'm getting enough carbs, otherwise I find that I have low energy.
A lot of nutritionists agree that on a healthy diet, you should be getting about 50% of your calories from carbs, 25% from fat and 25% from protein. A good rule of thumb for daily caloric intake is around 13 x weight in lbs. At that rate you should maintain your weight, any aerobic exercise done on top of that will help you lose weight.
I'm not a fan of Atkins, but I know that different things work for different people. I do think you'll find yourself depleted if you try to stick with Atkins and your mileage increases.
One thing I found out is if your trying to burn fat is to run at least 45 minutes per session. I went from 220 to 189 in no time once my training lengths went up.
Steve is right on about about the 50%. When I was training for my marathon I think I was upwards of 60% carbs.
I was ready to give up running completely, but my doctor assured me that it wouldn't happen if I ate properly. (small meals, 5x a day).
I really wouldn't advise long distance running and aggressive dieting. period. 2 pounds a month is more than plenty. In a year and half you will be at your goal, but you'll be far ahead of the game, because you replace fat with muscle. You got a jumpstart on your weight loss......at this point I'd advise you to concentrate on your training and throw away the scale. If anything, moniter your fat% and/or how your clothes fit, once a month. If you watch your weight like a hawk, there will be a point that the scale will not budge and it is NOT an indication that your training program is not working, it is the development of muscle.
so......please tell me that you aren't going to diet.....you are going to make better food choices and exercise.
I have experimented with different diets and training and have found that I can do a half marathon on a pretty strict atkins diet. I was getting between 10-25 grams of carbs per day coming from dark leafy green veggies. I ran the La Jolla half marathon which was both beautiful (along the coast) and excrutiating (hilly!) - but I don't feel like my diet really hindered my ability to run the race. It's the longest running race I ever participated in and I was taking in an average of 15 grams of carbs a day.
I also simulated the Tour de France on my computrainer from July 2-24th while on a low carb diet. No bread, startches...essentially no refined carbs and about 15-50 grams of carbs per day coming from veggies and nuts.
What I did notice - and this is a sign of overtraining more than anything - was that after a long day on the bike (4+ hours) at relatively high intensity, the next few days I would not be able to get my hear rate back up to desired training zones and power output.
I would imagine the same thing can happen to your running goals if you plan on improving performance. If I were competing for something real - I know I'd have to do a better job of repleting my muscle and liver glycogen stores to get to that higher level of intensity on a consistent basis.
That said, I was used to doing cardio for an average of an hour a day - and during the TdF I was doing an average of four, so while the added carbs may have helped, I was still pushing my body to unchartered territories.
I definitely believe you could be doing a strict atkins diet and still be able to finsih a half marathon or a full marathon. If you were looking for peak performance and treating your body like a machine, a few more carbs would be beneficial to your performance and wouldn't necessarily stump your weight loss goals, either.
While ketosis/lipolysis is said to be key with atkins - I feel that any diet is healthy and can promote weight loss if needed if you are controlling your levels of insulin - which regulates just about everything when it comes to weight, especially storing fat and lowering blood glucose levels. If you're expenditure is higher than your intake and your controlling insulin you should be losing weight.
If you're training/exercising regularly - I like the 75-100 grams of carbohydrates per day. How many total calories are you ingesting regularly - in other words, what percent of your diet is carbs at 100 grams per day? I would imagine it to be somewhere around 13-16% of your diet (2500-3000 kcals per day) - and I've read a few studies that have shown to deliver those carbs as close to post-training as possible - that's where a good balanced shake can be convienent, but just try to get some food in you as quickly as possible after you exercise.
Also, quick note on carbo-loading. From the studies I've read and research I've done (I'm an exercise physiology grad student and getting an RD in nutrition) on "carbo-loading," the effective way to do so is to start loading up to one week before the event. There are also three day protocols - but if you're used to eating low-carb - even if it's 100 grams of carbs - I wouldn't go overboard right before the race. I know for me when I'm doing a low carb diet that if I suddenly add back a great deal I feel bogged down and have some digestion issues...not stuff you want to deal with before the big race. I would advise to not add anything new such as the carbo load RIGHT BEFORE the race or adding power gels or sugar drinks unless you have been using them fairly consistently throughout your training.