After years of trying to find the right nutritional path, lots of running with a sloshing stomach, tired legs and with blood/sugar levels all over the place, I think I have finally cracked it.
My preparation for my long Sunday run seemed a bit complicated for a 5.30am start, so I wrote myself a note the night before. Here’s the very note and this is what I wrote:
Make coffee with butter
Put into blender
Add coconut oil
Drink 30 minutes before start of run.
Add Ucan to water bottle and take with you.
To be a bit more precise
Carve off a quarter inch slice of Anchor Butter (butter from grass fed cows so Kerrygold is just as good) and slice into my tall cappuccino glass. Put under coffee machine and pour in the hot, black, Nescafe Dolce Gusto Grande Intenso coffee. Place into blender. Add concentrated MCT (Medium Chain Triglyceride) coconut oil, add one scoop plain Generation Ucan powder and blend it all up. Pour back into cappuccino glass and enjoy.
What sort of a difference did it make to my run? Well, miles 0 to 15 went like a dream with no loss of energy. Miles15 to 20 were tiring as you would expect but although my legs felt tired I didn’t have that “dead legs with no energy left in them” feeling.
Heart rate zone 2 running, was the order of the day, which is difficult when there are so many hills around where I live but I managed to stay within zone (134-144) for 16 out of the 20.68 miles. As an aside, does anyone else go off into a dream world while running and wake up in heart rate zone 3 ?
My 1980s marathons weren’t fuelled at all, unless you count pasta the night before, and my 2010-12 marathons were fuelled on Cliff Bars before the race and sugar gels through the race. The gels always gave me a strange stomach feel and in the Dublin marathon I was offered at a feed station, and took, a gel that was extremely fruity that felt like it was burning my stomach like acid would.
After much research (mainly from podcasts, all of which are reviewed and praised in an earlier posting) I went NSNG last October. Becoming ketonic from no sugars no grains and getting all my carbs from lots of lovely vegetables, has served me well. I am lucky that I do not need to lose masses of weight so, for me, it is a lifestyle shift for the sake of the change and for staying healthy, although I am 6lb lighter.
It was later that I discovered the coffee and butter thing and then later again after that, the coconut oil. My breakfast now consists of coffee with butter and coconut oil in it and that keeps from thinking about food until 1.00pm. Many will say that it is psychological, but my brain is I am sure, more alert than it used to be. How can I tell? I am learning a language while driving (Welsh). It used to be that on a long morning drive I would listen to a couple of lessons, start yawning and turn off the tapes and turn on music. Now I am listening to the tapes through the journey and the return journey. Note that Dave Asprey (Bulletproof Diet) calls the MCT oil brain food.
So much for day to day, I wanted this lifestyle to help with my running, to allow me to burn fat as a fuel rather than sugar, to help me avoid the crash after the insulin rush and dive forcing me to take in just one more gel. What confused me then was suggestions from seasoned marathon runners and ultra runners, who were NSNG, to fuel on a carbohydrate called Generation Ucan. It didn’t make sense to me to eat fat, run at zone 2 and burn fat and then to ingest carbohydrate. So – more research.
It turns out that (I can’t remember this bit so this is a direct quote from their literature) Generation Ucan is a product made from modified corn starch – GM free, which allows for sustained natural energy levels, without the spikes and crashes of normal energy drinks. It’s a slow release complex carbohydrate that allows your body to access your fat supplies easier for fuel.
The bit that sold me to this product (by the way I think I should say that I am not sponsored in any way) is the statement that there is “No gastric distress, because super starch is a large molecule that passes through the stomach quickly and is digested slowly in the intestines.”
If I had to change one thing on my next long run it would be to carry more water as I was becoming dehydrated towards the end of the run, partly due to being so wrapped up against the elements. Looks like I will have to sterilise my Camelback water bladder ready for my next long run – I will let you know how it goes.