Friday, 13 June 2014

A brief observation on GI distress

Prior to going paleo just over 2 months ago, if had you asked me if I suffered from any sort of GI distress or digestive problems, I would have said no. I was always regular, maybe a little too regular sometimes. Certainly 6 movements a day was not unheard of! Far from being an issue, I saw this as a sign of a healthy constitution.

After going paleo, I noticed that my movements were less frequent but other than that I didn't really give it too much thought. Last night we celebrated my mother-in-law's 68th birthday. Naturally, we had some champagne and a few glasses of red wine. The meal was paleo (homemade lamb tagine)  save for 2 spoonful's of couscous but I did follow it up with a slice of pecan roulade and a slice of tarte aux citron (both of which were shop bought).

Fast forward to this morning and did I feel rough?! As I mentioned above, I had a couple of drinks but nothing close to making me feel that bad. My stomach was lurching and I had to take an emergency pit stop halfway through my run! Then I realised, prior to going paleo, I used to feel like this most mornings. I was a big proponent of Tony Audenshaw's "2 poo strategy" (listeners to Marathon Talk will know what I mean). In fact, mine was often a 3 poo strategy.

I appreciate that this is not the most pleasant of topics to write about (or indeed have to read!) but I wanted to highlight the fact that in my pre-paleo days, I felt that my GI health was good and perfectly normal. It is only now that I have made these nutritional changes that I am able to look back and see that what I experienced this morning was anything but normal!

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

A quick update on my quest to become a fat burning beast!

So, I have been eating a paleo / primal diet for just over 2 months now.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I have found the transition to a low carb diet really easy and I am someone who has always eaten a lot of carbs and sugary snacks.

Mark Sisson says that a good way to test if you have become a fat burner (also known as fat adapted), it whether you can skip a meal without feeling feint, ratty or any other symptoms you would usually associate with missing a meal. Previously, I would have struggled going even a few hours without a meal or a snack and my wife could always tell when I was heading for a sugar low because I would become really short and snappy! I am now at a point where I can comfortably go for 6 hours without feeling the need to eat. Often, that window will have included some exercise.

When I adopted this way of living I felt that the challenge was always going to come when I wanted to teach my body to burn fat (rather than carbs / sugar) during my long runs. I feel I am well on my way to becoming fat adapted and I have been able to run for over an hour and a half without any fuel (and even in a fasted state). This is running at my sub-aerobic threshold of less than 135 BPM (or 75% of my max heat rate). The trouble is, currently this equates to roughly 9:30 minute miles. My target mile pace for Chester Marathon is 8:00 minutes per mile. As you can see, I have some work to do in order to be at 75% of my max HR whilst running at 8:00 minute pace!

Having run an easy 10k on Saturday, I tried for a fasted 9 mile effort at marathon pace on Sunday. I don't mind admitting that I found this harder than expected and simply wasn't able to hold the pace in the final few miles. It is all well and good being able to go for 6 hours without needing to eat but I need to ensure that I have enough fuel for my runs, so this was a good lesson in this regard.

I have faith in my training plan (which starts on 17th June). I used the same plan for Berlin last year and I remember how my fitness improved on those longer, marathon paced efforts. Of course, I was a sugar burner last year, so it will be interesting to see how my body copes with those longer training runs this time around. Watch this space!