January 7, 2012

Six Miles + Paleo = not so good

So, in seven weeks I have this race, a half marathon, and for me it's kind of a Big Deal

A little over a week ago I started an experiment with the Paleo Diet, a diet that focuses on meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds.  I'm eating a lot of fruits and vegetables, but the overall diet is lower carb.  Not no carb.  And not even really low carb, just fewer carbs.  I've done low carb diets with a lot of success because they are very controlled but I've never tried an endurance event while eating fewer carbs.

Today I was supposed to run six miles.  I hadn't done any other jogging this week, it just didn't fit into this week with school starting.  I still fit in all my other workouts, just not the jogging part.  Fast foward to today and I get my shoes all laced up for six miles.  First two to three miles I feel okay.  Breezing through at my regular pace, wishing I was faster and thinking to myself 'I feel strong today.'

Mile 4: legs die.  Even the slightest incline feels like a mountain and I had to take lots of walking breaks.  Miles 5 and 6 weren't any better and my overall pace slowed to a 14 minute mile. 

14 minute mile?!

That's slower than I was 6 weeks ago at the Turkey Trot.  I'm grateful that I was able to keep my average pace at a 14 minute mile because with all the walking I did in the second half I definately felt frustrated and it could have been slower because it was just so hard!!

So... what can I do to fix this problem?  First and foremost this was an energy problem.  I literally ran out of gas and spent the rest of the run in spurts and starts.  What I think I will do about an hour or so before the run is to eat some dried fruit- apricots, prunes, or maybe cherries.  I might even try dates.  Dried is better for me because of the concentrated amounts of sugar and because it will not fill me up, leaving me jogging with a sloshy belly. 

Second this may have been connected to some dehydration.  I've been drinking my regular amount of water but I wonder if it is enough with this change in diet.  I took my Camelback with me (a backpack that holds water and lets you sip it as you're exercising so you don't need to do too much with your hands or fiddle with things like lids or caps or fuel belts, etc) and I finished the whole thing before I was home.  I didn't fill it before home, I don't usually fill it, but I've never consumed the whole thing before.  I wish I could remember how thirsty I was while I was running but I was so distracted by my legs refusing to obey my commands that I wasn't exactly paying attention to my mouth or thirst.

I know that the next two weeks or so are going to be experiments to see how I do with properly fueling myself before long runs.  Next week the scheduled distance is 7 miles.

I'm not nervous.  Not at all.  Promise. 

(Really, I'm super nervous.)

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