Running On A Low Carb Diet – What Should You Know
With most endurance sports, weight and performance go hand in hand, that’s why many runners chose to start running on a low-carb diet. However, there are some downsides to following this type of diet if you are a runner. It can affect your recovery, performance, and more if not done correctly.
In this article, we discuss running on a low-carb diet and how to structure following a low-carb diet around your training. We also discuss whether or not you should run on a low-carb diet. Read more to find out.
What Is A Low Carb Diet?
A low-carb diet is a diet that limits the intake of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are usually found in foods such as grains, starchy vegetables, fruit, and pasta/rice. The low-carb diet emphasizes foods that are high in protein and fat. However, there are many different types of low-carb diets and each type of diet has different restrictions on the number of carbohydrates you should eat.
The purpose of this type of diet is generally used for weight loss. However, some diets may have benefits that go beyond weight loss, such as reducing the chances of developing type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
Why you might follow a low-carb diet
There are a few reasons why people may choose to follow a low-carb diet. First, some people may want a diet that restricts certain carbohydrates to help them use weight. Others may want to change their overall eating habits.
Before you think about jumping on the low-carb diet, check with your doctor first before starting any type of weight loss diet. This can help reduce the chances of developing health conditions, especially if you already have health conditions like diabetes or heart disease.
Running On A Low Carb Diet – Everything You Need To Know
Because of the weight loss benefits of following a low-carb diet, many runners tend to try this type of diet. But is running on a low-carb diet safe and can it help your performance?
The first thing you need to understand is that to train hard and recover properly, a runner must consume adequate calories. These calories should come from a mixture of complex carbohydrates and small amounts of simple carbohydrates. If you don’t you may end up being in a constant caloric deficit which will then not provide the right type of fuel to your muscles. This will then end up leaving you tired, struggling to recover and perform at your best.
It is important if you plan to start running on a low-carb diet to lose weight, this should be done during your base phase or periods where intensity is kept to a minimum.
If your goal is to lose weight by restricting carbohydrates, you must first understand the basic principles of weight loss. The most critical factor in weight loss is to incur a calorie deficit. To do this, you don’t need to reduce carbohydrate intake, you can reduce portion sizes and improve the quality of the foods you consume. This can be done by eating more nutritious foods and reducing the intake of simple sugars.
Should You Run On A Low-carb Diet?
If you are weighing up the pros and cons of running on a low-carb diet, there are both negatives and positives to this type of diet if you are a runner.
While running on a low-carb diet has been shown to help you lose weight (which can help improve your running times) it is important to know when to utilize this type of diet. Your low carbohydrate days should be planned around days where your running is not hard, or long ie: not your hardest or longest runs. This will help the body recover faster between workouts, and put less stress on your glycogen levels.
Ideally outside of your easy runs, the recommendation of carbohydrate intake during running is 30-60 grams per hour. However, running events that last more than 2 hours will need to be increased up to 90 grams/hour.
While everyone is different and our bodies respond differently to diets, it is important to test during low-intensity periods of training. This can help understand the influence it can have on your training and recovery. Just because someone swears that running on a low-carb diet helps them, it can end up being detrimental to another.
While many people swear following a low-carb diet can help their running and increase their weight loss. The best approach to this type of diet is to follow a timed low-carb diet. This means you focus on consuming adequate amounts of carbohydrates before, during, and after running. However, outside of these times, you focus on eating low-carb meals.