Tag Archives: training

LCHF and Running – Update

4 Jul

I realise I haven’t written again in a while. Life is so busy – I have been falling behind on a few things but I am trying to be more organised! I have had a lot of people asking about my Low Carb High Fat Lifestyle and how I am finding it as a runner – so I thought I would post an update as today’s post.

It has been almost 12 weeks since I embarked on the unthinkable – running on less than 25g of carbs a day! The reason why I started came about from doing a lot of reading about low carb high fat diets, and generally feeling sluggish and unwell from having a lot of carbohydrate. I wrote a little bit about that in a previous post.

It hasn’t been 100% easy

12 weeks in and I am not going to say it has been 100% easy especially being a sociable person but I am almost 7kg lighter and have run one race whilst transitioning which was a challenge! But on the whole I feel much better and I don’t find it a huge issue – I don’t feel like I have a ‘brain fog’ anymore I actually feel more awake and alert!

It took a while to feel comfortable eating lots of fats i.e. butter, coconut oil, cream, bacon etc where normally I would watch my intake of all of these things – my friend who is a PT was fairly sceptical but even she said just the other day she was amazed at the results. I have had a few hiccups when I have been out and realised that there is nothing I can eat or have been to friends for dinner and didn’t want to appear rude so ate what was in front of me – but I jumped straight back on the wagon the next day and it has all been fine. I have found now the best way to handle the eating is to take my own food and that works a lot better, and I take a packed lunch to work – so all good – although the day they all ordered pizza and cake was tricky but I sat with my salad and LCHF bread whilst everyone munched pizza around me!

Under Armour Speedform Gemini 2 shoe

The LCHF lifestyle has meant I have lost weight which is an added bonus

Difference in running 

The biggest issue with my running I have found is that I am generally at the moment a bit slower than I was and am running probably about 1 minute slower per km than I used to – but from an endurance point of view generally I feel great as long as I run at my slower pace. From reading a lot and hearing about other people’s experiences this is fairly normal. The trick now is to move over from burning glucose to burning fat and then in theory things should improve.

The MAF Method

At the same time I am also experimenting with the MAF method which was created by Phil Maffetone whose theory helps from an exercise point of view to train at the appropriate intensity to develop your fat burning aerobic system, improve health and perform better. My banting (LCHF) coach has encouraged me to do this to help with switching my body over but I am not doing it all the time so not sure whether it will work – it means taking your age off 180 and then that is the maximum heart rate you can run at. I found it very difficult and looked ridiculous running as slowly as I was but apparently it works. So we shall see on that one.

On the whole I feel great and am very glad I have switched to this lifestyle so far but I still have a fair way to go with my running as it takes time to get the speed back – but with two 10k races coming up next month we’ll see whether I have improved or not!

If you are intrigued by a LCHF lifestyle don’t just listen to me as I am certainly not a qualified nutritionist or doctor so always consult a professional if embarking on something new – but have a read of a few books and articles as it is always good to read for yourself.

In a previous post I posted some books that had turned my thinking around – I have listed them again below – they are not affiliate links – I just want to help point interested people in the right direction!

Further reading

Gary Taubes – Why We Get fat 

Tim Noakes – Real Meal Revolution

David Perlmutter – Grain Brain

William Davis – Wheat Belly 

 

Treadmill Vs Running Outside

22 Jun

I have finally bitten the bullet today and rejoined a gym! I really thought I could get through winter and not have to do it but I had a bit of an experience a week or two ago that made me rethink. I was running around the lake near where I live at 6am and a guy appeared in front of me. It kind of threw me a bit. He laughed and said some words in a language I didn’t understand, and I just kept on running.

It made me think. What if he hadn’t been as passive? and what if he had been with other guys? I got home a little bit shaken and took stock of it all, and decided that I wouldn’t run outside in the dark alone again. Need some tips on safety – read one of my previous posts all about it.

My issue is that during the week I have no-one to run with as my friends are dotted all over the place – weekends are not a drama, but weekdays are an issue. So I joined a gym! I’m quite excited to be going back for a while – it will be nice to be in the warm:-)

Before I committed to join my gym I sat and really thought about the benefits of both the treadmill and running outside to weigh up whether I would use the gym. I decided in the end that I would likely use both – gym during the week and outside on the weekend. My notes that I wrote for myself are below for anyone wondering what the benefits of both are.

treadmills

Benefits of running on the treadmill and running outside

Running on the treadmill

Great for speed sessions

Treadmills are really good for when you have specific training requirements – i..e if you are running a speed session and need to do x km per hour. You can literally program the treadmill for whatever speed you need to run at, and away you go which is very handy when working to a specific program with specific speed training requirements.

All weather training 

The treadmill is a great alternative when the weather isn’t going in your favour. Whether it is torrential rain outside or a heatwave – it really doesn’t matter if you are running on a treadmill inside.

Great for the solo runner 

If the only time that you can train is early in the morning or last thing at night, and it is dark – running on a treadmill is a great way to ensure that you don’t put yourself at risk by running alone in the dark. You can run at any time of the day on the treadmill without having to be conscious of where you run and keeping safe.

Better when you have an injury

The treadmill can be better if you have an injury than running outside, as you will have a consistent flat surface to run on, whereas outside the surface on which you are running may not be as even, the pavement may be harder which could worsen your injury. Although on the flip side it is good to ensure that your sessions on the treadmill are mixed up to ensure you don’t fall prey to injury from just pounding away on the treadmill session after session.

 

Running Outside 

Change of scenery and route 

Running on the treadmill can be very boring, seeing the same view time after time and not physically getting anywhere. Running outside is great therefore for alleviating boredom and mixing things up with your running routes, enabling you to change your routes, add hills and variation to your terrain i.e. roads, trails.

Save money 

The biggest advantage of running outside compared to inside on a treadmill is that unless you own your own treadmill it means that you save money on hefty gym membership fees. You can literally put on your running gear, step outside the door and go!

More realistic training conditions for a race 

The treadmill can often seem easier than running outside, and if you are training for something in particular it can often be better to run outside to get used to the conditions that you will be running in rather than running on a treadmill where it isn’t always an accurate reflection of true racing conditions.

 

 

Low Carb High Fats and Running

31 May

I’ve been running since 2001, and even before then I exercised. Exercise and diet have always been very important to me.  For many years I have eaten healthily and run a lot but yet I have always felt that has never been representative in how I look. I even remember when on a business trip – being at the hotel gym with my boss and he said “You’re running pretty fast on that treadmill for someone your size!” I remember wanting to jump off the treadmill and give him a piece of my mind – but I smiled sweetly and carried on running.

Could carbohydrates and sugar be the issue??

I had lots of tests a few months ago and everything appeared normal, but my husband and I were convinced that sugar and carbohydrate might be playing an issue as I seemed to have more issues when eating carbs and also sugar. My husband tested the theory out and went on lower carb eating regime and lost a lot of weight and suggested maybe I could try to see if it helped cutting out most carbs – but as a runner I never contemplated giving up my carbs as – how would I get the energy to run!?!?

Low Carbohydrate High Fat 

Whilst I was contemplating how to really get my weight sorted once and for all we started to read about a Low Carbohydrate High Fat lifestyle – the benefits of it, and also how many many athletes run on it today and have outperformed their high carbohydrate training days.

The facts seem to be pretty much a no brainer in the sense that low fat high carbohydrate diets are not the way to go and since the seventies when the the food pyramid  was changed to incorporate more grains – there has definitely been a correlation between the rise in diabetes, alzheimer’s and high carbohydrate diets.  LCHF diets are now recommended for diabetics, dementia patients and also epilepsy patients*.

I decided I needed help so a few months ago I enlisted the help of a nutritionist who was pro fat adaption and low carb, but I found  they ended up being in disagreement with what I wanted to do so I turned to The Real Meal Revolution which I found out about thanks to our friend Google. Run by Professor Tim Noakes the program (and there is a great book too) is a 5 week program coaching you in how to follow a LCHF lifestyle – with not only recipes and carb counters – but a forum and videos too – so for $56 I snapped it up and am went through the program and lost a good deal of weight as well as feeling great. My daily diet now consists of eating less than 25g of carbs a day. I’m sure for some people that would be shocking and ‘wrong’ but I feel great and am managing to run on that also.

Stepping up the training

running the park run

It wasn’t my usual pace on the Park run but I pushed hard considering I didn’t have many carbs and was still fat adapting.

I lay low on my training for a couple of weeks to get used to it and to fat adapt (get my body used to burning fat rather than glycogen) – I picked things up a week or so ago and I ran a parkrun and a 13.5k trail run with no aching afterwards! I had a cup of coffee and 3 tbsp of cream (I don’t like the recommended bullet proof coffee recipe of coconut oil and butter – makes me gag) before training as my breakfast and managed to push on parkrun and up and down the trails – I was quite amazed.

I’ve met a few people on this journey that run on LCHF and it’s really encouraging to see how well they have done so that’s my post for today. I know that for many people they believe in high carb diets as runners – but this is what I do and it’s working for me:-) Anyway watch this space, and if you see the words LCHF pop in my blog posts I am referring to Low Carb High Fat and the way I eat.

Bye for now:-)

*please note that I am not a doctor or a practitioner in nutrition – this is purely based on experience, opinion and books I have read. Please always consult an expert or medical practitioner before embarking on any new diet or regime. 

Further Reading 

Some great books that my husband and I have read around LCHF and carboydrates – these are NOT affiliate links.

Gary Taubes – Why We Get fat 

Tim Noakes – Real Meal Revolution

David Perlmutter – Grain Brain

William Davis – Wheat Belly 

 

 

Sometimes there are more important things than running!

24 May

I haven’t written for a while as life outside of running for me has been a bit crazy. We’ve been flying around as a family trying to fit lots of things into our life, and as a result my son got a cold and I was feeling under the weather last week and at the weekend, and I also started a new job so getting used to not working completely for myself and just the general routine has been challenging – but so far so good!.

As a result of all of the above I missed a few runs which initially I was really beating myself up about – but it was something my friend Sam said to me when I cancelled that made me think – she said:

Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 11.57.56 am

Running for fun! Sam and I finishing the Twilight Half Marathon earlier this year:-)

“We’re just doing it for fun anyway, no stress!”

Exactly right.

I’m not a professional runner, I do this for fun and I think the moment it starts to feel like it’s a burden will be the moment I stop doing it. So I reframed how I was thinking and thought ok – no worries it’s ok to have a week off, and I am good to go next week.

I think sometimes it is so easy to get caught up into things and to accept that we cannot always do everything – and sometimes things have to go – and for me on this occasion – it was running.

I’m back now – feeling better and ready to run tomorrow. I also entered the City to South – just to give myself a challenge. It will be very slow but I’m doing it with my friend and it will be FUN:-) Then after that it’s the Dubbo Stampede which will again be FUN (and hilly) running around the Dubbo Zoo – so a few things to look forward to running wise.

It’s a short post today but lots more posts to come.

Have a great week of running and having fun!

Zoe xoxo

Product Review: SKINS Dnamic shorts @SKINSAU

11 Apr

A month or so ago I was contacted by SKINS Australia to see whether I would like to try a pair of their new Dnamic Compression Shorts. I had a look at the range, and already being a compression pant lover – jumped at the chance. Below is my opinion of them. If you read right to the bottom you can also read my disclaimer. I wasn’t paid for this review.

Skins Dnamic women's 1/2 tights

Skins Dnamic women’s 1/2 tights

Look and Feel

I must admit when I first saw the Dnamic range I was a bit nervous as some of the product range designs were pretty funky and out there – awesome if you like big patterns but I tend to wear dark colours on my legs. I was very thankful therefore when my shorts arrived – as the SKINS team had sent me the most conservative of designs:-).

When I took the shorts out of the packaging I sucked in my breath wondering how on earth I’d get my butt into the shorts! I was a bit worried that perhaps I had ordered the wrong size – but after some wriggling around and squirming – I was comfortably into my shorts! One thing was for certain – there would be no falling out of these or over the top – everything felt really snug and nicely compressed😀

As a runner that is not a stick insect I like the fact with these shorts that they are high waisted compared to a lot of shorts on the market. Often I have worn shorts and half way into my run everything has started wobbling, or I end up pulling them up because they are low risers or not tight enough on the waist – and the good old muffin top starts forming!

Compression

SKINS say that they have a unique sizing system, and as long as you have the right sizing you will get the right compression needed. Their system claims to reduce lactic acid build up for more power and less recovery time.

Like I said I found the shorts very comfortable. It is tricky when wearing shorts rather than long tights to give an exact sense of feeling with regards to compression but I did find I didn’t ache too much after my runs I ran in them – my calfs still twinged a bit – but they weren’t covered!

I also found that the shorts fabric didn’t feel like it would wear out any time soon. Being a person whose thighs rub together I am always paranoid that shorts won’t last long, and I do have a couple of pairs that have frayed and won’t be replaced. But these shorts seem pretty resilient which is a plus for me.

I did keep the shorts on for a while a couple of times after training to see how they improved the aches in my legs (if there were any) – but I didn’t try sleeping in them which a lot of people do! On the whole I found during and after runs in them that I felt good, and my legs felt fairly strong compared to when running in my normal non compression shorts in training runs.

Skins Dnamic

Post run at Kangaroo Point showing off my SKINS

Pros

  • Very comfortable when on – make sure you stick to the sizing guidelines when ordering otherwise they will be very very tight or too loose and not efficient from a compression point of view
  • Nice fit and not low rise – a definite plus for me having an hourglass shaped figure
  • Great range of designs in the range – if you like patterns there are plenty and if you are more conservative like me they have catered for those also.
  • UV protection – 50+ – excellent for when running in a warm sunny climate

Cons

Not really any major cons on this product. I have always loved SKINS and don’t really have anything bad to say about these shorts – although the cost might be an issue to some people at $95 a pair – but you do get what you pay for so they are ultimately an investment to help you in your running.

 

Product Review disclaimer

Please note I am not paid for writing product reviews and if there are links to the product I am reviewing in my post I am not paid for that either. If a post is a paid post or an affiliate post I will highlight at the top of the post. My views are my own and I try to be as balanced as I can. 

A week of highs, lows and running on the trails

7 Apr

Since I last wrote I have struggled a little bit with my training – but feel like I am pushing through the other side now which is awesome. I don’t find running easy, and I think most runners would agree it never get’s easier because you are always pushing yourself harder, even when you improve!

Feeling Flat 

In my last post I had completed the Twilight Half Marathon and was wondering what was next. I had a bit of a rest and then went along to my usual Thursday night Intraining training run and I felt really flat.

The group are always so positive and friendly, but I just felt a bit of a failure going back to the session – not having done so well in the race, and because of my eating (more on that later) I didn’t feel very bouncy – so I struggled. When I got home that night I was really quite fed up.

To make matters worse, on the Saturday I went out to run on my own, as my friend wasn’t running – and my heart and body wasn’t in it. I got to 3km and stopped – out of energy, out of motivation and generally just fed up. So I walked 3km back home to my husband who just looked at me as if to say “you’re nuts; why not just stop”!

Determined to run a decent run 

The stubbornness in me prevailed, and rather than having a nice lie in on Sunday and resting awhile (husbands advice!) I found a group of guys that were running the trails in Bunya and decided to go along. So at 4.15am on Sunday morning I pushed myself out of bed – determined it was sink or swim. I had to do a decent run and feel good about it – and the trails were the way to go.

Organised Chaos

It didn’t start well that morning.

My crazy neighbours kept us awake and when I rose at 4.15am it was after literally no sleep, and they were still up! But that’s a whole other story!

I didn’t do my usual two toilet visits before my run, I didn’t have my running sunglasses, I had my newer trainers on – not ideal for the trails and I made sure I packed a bandage as I was paranoid I was going to get bitten by a snake – regardless of all of this I was prepared to kick ass.

Running with the guys

running on the trails

I ran with a lovely group who kept me going and encouraged me even when I wanted to stop:-)

The guys I met were lovely who live and breathe running from the sounds of it. Four very fit looking guys and me. I was a bit nervous I was going to get left behind – but they assured me it was just a recovery type run  for them and they’d go easy on me. So off we trotted.

There is something to be said about running outside on the trails. Picture peace and tranquility, birds chirping, and all you can hear is the soft padding of your feet pounding the trails and your breathing.

All the stress of the week and the disappointments faded away and I just got my head down and enjoyed the run – and without headphones:-) I chatted away to the guys occasionally when they waited back for me and I soaked in the atmosphere and beautiful scenery around me.

running on the trails

It was a tough run for me with plenty of hills but I embraced each one, was fairly slow but I really enjoyed it and am so glad I did it. It was mean’t to be just over 8km which turned into 9, which ended at 10.5km – and then the guys ran on to do another circuit whilst I staggered back to the car – having to do an emergency toilet in the bush stop as there were no toilets out there! (sorry a bit too much information!)

Low carb progress

I completed my first week on a lower carb lifestyle which I don’t doubt contributed to my energy levels and not so great running – but it’s going well and it wasn’t as hard as I thought. I am not working to 100% no carbs – I am working to using carbs strategically – so watch this space – I’ll update more soon.

 

What’s next after the Twilight Half Marathon?

29 Mar

Hope you had a lovely Easter!

The last week has been a bit of a write off. After running the Twilight Half Marathon I got sick, and today is the first day in a  week that I have felt remotely like exercising. I didn’t run – instead I worked on my wobbly belly and arms:-) as still not feeling 100%.

I think the race took it out of me and I shouldn’t have run not feeling 100% and having a migraine all day, so yet another lesson learned.

So now that Twilight is done I had a chance to think about what’s next. My husband would like very much that I have a rest from races but alas he is not that lucky – I have a few more planned for this year!

Running goalsGold Coast Half possibly Marathon

I honestly don’t know if I have another marathon in me, nor do I know if I want to run one. Five is enough and last year was meant to be my last one (famous last words!), but my lovely friend is really wanting to run her first so I have been thinking and I might do the training and then enter the half marathon – OR run the full and not worry about time – I never have with marathons anyway as I am no Paula Radcliffe!

So, not sure yet….

Dubbo Stampede Half Marathon 

We have friends in Dubbo and so it’s the perfect way to do a race and to see them at the same time, and it looks like great fun. I decided that I will definitely not do the marathon. I think it’s the first year and also it is a second lap of the half marathon and I am really not a lover of laps! The thought of running that over a marathon I think I would tear my hair out!

Do you need Goals?

I don’t know about you but if I don’t have a goal to work towards then I find it is really easy to let things slide.

When I was training for the Marathon I ran last year I was so focused and motivated, but this year I have found it much harder so I have started documenting everything again and planning sessions as if I am training for the race again – regardless of whether I do it and suddenly I am focussed again!

LCHF Goal

One of my goals for this year also is to try and run my races on a lower carb lifestyle. My husband and I are advocates of a LCHF (Low Carb High Fat) way of living but it has always been tricky for me being a runner. I have found some great likeminded people and a nutritionist who advocates LCHF for athletes (she called me an athlete! I’d never considered myself one before lol!) and I just started training on a lower carb diet – interested? watch this space…

Anyway have a great day and I’ll write more soon:-)

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