23km fuel, tyres, and heat

First of all – thank you so much to everyone who has helped me raise money for Marie Curie by sponsoring me on my marathon run on 6th May.  I am overwhelmed by the support and kind words – and the very generous anonymous donations too – thank you – whoever you are!!

23km over 2:36

I had mixed feelings about my training run on 29th April.  I managed to run 23km (14 miles) in unexpectedly warm weather (about 18°C, that felt like 30!).  I tried hard not to neglect the fact I had run over half a marathon in the warmest temperature I had ever ran in, whilst part of me went on about how I had “only” made 23km of my 35km (22 miles) target!

23km in the heat

Training is of course about learning and experience.  I learned that running in the heat is a lot harder than in the cool, and that I may need to make adjustments or additional preparations given my marathon run is in early May – a particularly unpredictable time of year.  The route was mostly open with little protection from the direct sun.

An unexpected summer’s day

To get through this 23km, I stopped for a few seconds here and there in available shade, drank more water than usual and took a few “walking breaks”.  As I approached what would have been the turning point on my planned route (Watermead Lake) I felt familiar early symptoms of sun stroke – headache, unquenchable thirst, etc.  I decided it was wise to call it quits before I did any real damage.

Still, onwards and upwards – it looks like it will cool off somewhat next week so I will make my next 35km attempt soon.  In the meantime, I will see what headgear might help me in future.

New tyres!

I’ve been trying to carve out some time to get some new running shoes, and I finally did it last week.  I was aware I had left it quite late, with only a few weeks to go.  I got to test them out on this 23km (and a couple of short runs) and all is well so far.  I know though that any small issues with running shoes often don’t show up until a few hours in so we will see.  But I am quietly confident!

I visited “Up & Running” in Milton Keynes, who were very helpful and patient in providing a “gait analysis” and persistent in trying out numerous shoes until we found the ones that fit my peculiarly shaped, oversized feet!


Running fuel

I’m often asked what I am eating before and during my longer runs.  With just a few weeks to go I am having to be a bit stricter about my diet, not just what I eat but also when.

Did I mention that I like spinach?

The day before

As I have previously experienced eating the wrong foods the day before a run really makes a difference – for me bad food means heartburn – which is awful on a run.  It is important that I don’t eat too close to bedtime either.  I try to stick with the basics that conform to the macronutrients, micronutrients and electrolytes I am after (“what do I eat?”).

For example, on the day before my 23k last week, I had a quality beef steak (grass-fed, from Kings Farm Shop, Wendover), organic spinach, homemade mayonnaise (made with quality olive oil) – and some black pudding!

Steak, spinach, mayo, black pudding

What’s for breakfast / lunch?

I usually only have one or two meals a day.  It’s an interesting side effect of a low carb diet – because fat is more satiating and difficult to overeat (unlike sugar) one tends to only eat when truly hungry, rather than out of habit.  Some days I have breakfast, but most days I will have some lunch.  On other days, I only have dinner.  It depends on how I feel.

Low-carb crustless quiche, spinach, cheese

What I actually eat for breakfast or lunch are often quite similar.  I usually have some nuts (such as walnuts, brasils), cheese, eggs, spinach.  I might have some homemade low-carb bread (a specialty of my wife!), or homemade low-carb crustless quiche (a specialty of my mum!).

Spinach, boiled egg, nuts, mayo

On the day

As I am running on fat without sugar on the day of a run – provided it is not too late in the day – I am fully fasted (I do not eat anything).  This optimises fat-energy delivery by keeping insulin low and maximising glucagon and ketones.  The only exception is I may consume a mug of skimmed “bone broth” purely for minerals, electrolytes and hydration (it is almost calorie free with nothing added).

During the run I drink water with a predefined mix of salts – again to maintain electrolytes and hydration which is particularly crucial during a fasted, ketogenic state.

After my run I find the need to allow my stomach to “wake up” for an hour or so before I break my fast, and I do so by having a light low-carb snack (and probably a coffee with cream!).

What’s next?

I plan to attempt my 35km training run again within the next ten days.  I have also taken up regular cycling as an alternative exercise and continue to go out on shorter (<12km) runs when I can. I should probably also go and find a suitable sun hat!

Thank you so much to everyone who has helped me raise money for Marie Curie by sponsoring me on my marathon run on 6th May.  I am overwhelmed by the support and kind words – and the very generous anonymous donations too – thank you – whoever you are!!

Find out more about my Marie Curie marathon in memory of “my third grandparents”

30km running distance record achieved!

23km run in a fasted, low-carb state

Half marathon in a fasted, low-carb state

Running on fat without sugar

What the keto?

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