Low Carb Crazy

How Does a High Fat/Low Carb Diet Help Runners Performance?

Salmon is a great natural food source for vital healthy fat.
Salmon is a great natural food source for vital healthy fat.

Salmon is a great natural food source for vital healthy fat.

A wide range of attitudes exists towards nutriton among runners. Some will tell you they generally eat what ever they want and have no stomach issues, weight problems or lack of energy. Not so with others who have all of the above and find that they must pay attention to everything they eat or their performance suffers.

There is a great book on nutrition for runners written by two elite marathon runners from Iceland. Frida Run Thordardottir and Steinar B. Adalbjornsson who both earned degrees in nutrition from Universities in the United States collaborated on this latest  book project, “Nutrition for Runners”. Here’s what they had to say about a high fat/low carb diet.

Nutrition For Runners

The body likes using fat to make energy rich compounds, but just not during high intensity exercise. To make this even more confusing, high intensity is observed at a different level for each person. In other words, a highly trained individual will be able to utilize more fat for energy at a certain intensity level when compared to an untrained individual at the same relative intensity level. Some scientists call this “exercise induced physiological adaptations.” I will talk about this in detail in a later post.

How can we now interpret this? It´s hard because we are all so different when it comes to physical workload and scientific support for recommendations one way or the other is lacking. But my conclusion is the following:

For most healthy adults who are in general good physical conditions, and who are not new to running, the diet can easily include more fat and less carbs if expected time in a 10K run is approximately 60-70 minutes or more. For most, who run a 10K below this time, a mixture of carbohydrate rich diet with good fats is a good choice. For those who plan on running 10K under approximately 40-45 minutes, a diet rich in carbohydrates and relatively low in fat, but inclusive of omega-3 fat, is the best bet. Again, I must state that scientific support for my recommendations is lacking as every individual is different when it comes to running pace or exercise intensity. But as a general rule, this may help some runners, and other endurance athletes, decide whether a diet richer in fat and lower in carbs, will suite their needs.

To get the book “Nutrition for Runners” or if you would like more information about the authors click here

Even if you aren’t concerned about what foods you eat or what the latest diet trends are the old saying “you are what you eat” still applies. Perhaps a little more focus on the nutrition category could go a long way towards improving your overall running performance.

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