I hoped that with good pacing I could stay within my fat-burning zone (perhaps 80% of my VO2 max) for the time taken to run a fast marathon. And I think I have proved that I can. But some events place unavoidably high demands on your strength and endurance; mountain running is a good example.
When I entered a 50 mile Ultra across the Lake District National Park I was under no illusion that I could do it carb-free. The ascents would be long and grueling and would doubtless have me burning glycogen whether I liked it or not. So it was time to experiment with Train Low Race High.
You could be forgiven for thinking that this post's title was a reference to the fact that I live in Sussex where the hills rise to a mighty 250 meters above sea level, somewhat lower than the Lake District peaks I would be running over, but that's almost as far as I'll go with that metaphor, much as I like it!
So here is an account of the longest race of my life and my approach to nutrition.
|A typical training walk/run on the South Downs|
|Jennings Ale - The fuel of champions!|
|Ready to roll|
I had planned not to take the direct route down from Blencathra as I feared for my knees, but the longer easier route was directly into the wind for the first mile; there was only one way down. There were queues of nervous runners inching their way down Hall's Fell ridge.
|Looking down Halls Fell Ridge to Threlkeld on a good day|
|First smile in 15 miles|
On the day I estimate that I consumed between 2,000 and 3,000 calories (I'm not one for counting), mostly in the form of carbohydrates and mostly in the first half of the event. This compares to the 9,600 calories that Strava estimates that I used over 15 hours. I was able to deal with the mountainous first half with the aid of some glycogen and I was able to keep going strongly in the second half due to my long-term adaptation to fat-burning. This is not a proof of anything but the Train Low Race High strategy appears to have worked very well for me.
|Here is the Strava Route Profile|