Low carb and marathons

I posted a similar post in another forum (athletic diabetics) and thought that to ask marathon runners.

I've tried low carb before (that is, between 70-100 grams carbs a day on most days, even dipping down to less than 70 grams carbs on some days). I was also training for a marathon. The results were not good for me. I was unhappy and was feeling sluggish and had no energy. I also had difficulty controlling my BGs.

Now, there's this book titled The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance (Volek and Phinney). Since the book specifically targets athletes, I thought it may be a good idea to give their plan a try and low carb another chance. From what I can work out, they are generally advocating less than 50 grams carbs a day (that would be really low, for me). They also go for high fat and low protein. Sorry, I can't remember the macronutrient ratios at the moment.

Is there any one who is eating less than 50 grams carbs a day and racing? By racing, I mean competing in athletic events, whether as a pro or an amateur. Athletic events can be running, swimming, cycling, triathlons, race walking, tennis, and so on.

If yes, would you mind sharing your experiences, such as:
(1) difficulties when initially adjusting to the less-than-50 grams carbs a day

(2) how long your adjustment was (the authors say 2 weeks)

(3) any adjustment to your training program as a result of changing your diet

(4) any problem you have encountered which may be related to the diet and how you deal or dealt with it

(5) effect on your racing time

Given my previous unsatisfactory experience with low carb while doing marathons, this time, I'd like to arm myself with as much info as I can gather. I'm looking for ways to improve myself and am willing to try new things provided I see some logical reason to try them.

Thanks in advance.

Wow… Considering even non-starchy vegetables contain carbs, that doesn’t leave much to eat at all. Especially since they suggest limiting protein too! I’d love to see what they suggest might be a sample meal plan.

When I’m not training, 200g carbs is ideal for me and 300 when I’m in the last third of training weeks prior to a marathon. I find that worked well just recently. I’m new to diabetes and have only done one long race on insulin, but my performance was no different to before I was diagnosed.

What is your main objective for trying such low carbs? Is it performance alone or does weight maintenance/loss come into your consideration too? To me this sounds like a big leap of faith in light of what medical science advocates diabetics do when their energy output increases.

I hope you get a few more useful answers!

Ness :slight_smile:

Weight maintenance or loss is not an issue for me. But I'm interested in seeing how I can improve my running, while minimizing blood glucose rise. Whether I like it or not, food is the main contributor to BG rise. If I can minimize that, while not suffering from loss of energy in running, then that will be great. I try to keep an open mind, and as long as I don't think I'm killing myself, I'm willing to try most things.