HPN 7: Fueling For A Multi-Day Stage Race, Fixing Food Fears, and Cutting Dairy and Gluten While Training

May 17, 2019


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Intro Banter


Fueling for a 5-Day Running Race

Thank you for all your time that you and your team put into your fantastic podcast. You all have been keeping me company on my runs the past few years! I’m hoping you can give some advice on nutrition to aid mid-race recovery. I’m completing a 5 day, 315 km (15,000 m gain) mountain race this May in Wales, UK. The race goes from the north of the country to the south taking in some amazing mountains along the way. Each day has a set distance and we stay in tents overnight. Each day will likely be 12 to 15 hours running out on the hills so recovery time will be limited. This race will be all about finishing for me, the drop out rate is high and its a big leap forward compared to previous races so I won’t be pushing for a fast time. I have completed multiple 3 and 2 day races and recovered well between days but usually these are 6-10 hour running days so there is considerably more time to eat and recover each night. The individual daily distance are achievable for me  (i.e. I have raced them several times) but getting up and repeating the same distance on little recovery will be a challenge.

What the Coaches Say:

  • Create a spreadsheet to estimate calories you’ll be burning each day, and how many calories you estimate you can realistically replace through food.
  • Take PerfectAmino!
  • Pack a quality non-vegan protein source: bagged wild salmon, sardines, clams, oysters, grass-fed jerky, collagen, bee pollen, protein powder drink mix.
  • Paleo Steve’s PaleoKrunch Granola
  • Packables: Trail nut butters, dark chocolate, trail mix w/ coconut flakes, seaweed snacks, honey, turmeric ginger granola, energy bites
  • Real food mini meals – pb&js, smoked salmon wrap, pizza
  • Magnesium
    • Bisglycinate – best absorbed, used to overcome def.
    • Citrate – bowels, sleep, balance
    • Oxide – constipation, acid reflux
    • Malate – fatigue
    • Taurate – muscle spasms, brain health


Help Repairing My Relationship With Food

Hi! My name is Jenny. I am a fan of the Endurance Planet podcast and just finished listening to your episode on how someone can get their period back. This email is mainly intended for Tawnee and Julie. After listening to the episode I was inspired to reach out and get your insight/advice on something that I’m having trouble figuring out. I realize it’s kind of a loaded question, but I’m pretty desperate to understand this more, so if you have any insight that would be so appreciated.

I am a competitive Spartan racer and, after years of playing soccer (a goalkeeper), became an endurance athlete about a year and a half ago. Before I started running a lot and training more, I weighed 155 (I’m 5’11”) and was probably consuming about 3000 calories per day. After building up my training volume, I lost weight and ended up getting down to 142 while eating around 2750 calories per day. Upon the advice of a nutritionist (after getting metabolic testing, which told me that my RMR is 1760 calories), I bumped my calories back up to 3000 calories per day to support my training.

3000 calories should still have technically been a deficit, but I gained a few pounds and hovered around 145-146 for a while. I wanted to get back down to 142-143ish, so around June of this year I dropped back down to 2750 per day. However, my weight never dropped. I’m actually 150 now, despite eating in what I believe to be a deficit. I usually have a meal where I treat myself about once per week, but with my activity level I have a hard time thinking that I am simply eating too much! It’s not necessarily the higher number on the scale that bothers me, but the fact that I seem to be gaining weight out of nowhere!

Another piece of background information: I am 22 years old and have struggled with hypothalamic amenorrhea for 7 years (it started even before I lost a significant amount of weight or my body fat got too low and has never ended despite weight fluctuations and even spending quite a bit of time eating 4000 calories per day). I have been in close contact with my OBGYN throughout this time, and she was not too concerned because my hormone levels (at least FSH and estrogen) have been on the lower end, but still in the normal range. Plus, my bone density is still in the upper normal range. Besides my activity level/training and low body fat, there is also the possibility that my life-long struggle with anxiety (and the anxiety medication I have been taking for years) could be a factor. My OBGYN recently suggested a low-dose hormonal birth control, but the idea of taking artificial hormones and screwing with my system in that way really scares me. I’m really not sure what to do and didn’t know if, somehow, nutrition could maybe be the fix.

My current coach has actually been working with me to improve my relationship with food and exercise, and so he’s been trying to decrease any unnecessary volume that I was tempted to add in and has encouraged me to try and stop tracking calories/macros and listen to my body more. I like this idea, but like many other women, I am kind of scared to gain weight. I also don’t know if just not tracking calories is the best way to go about things or not, since I’m almost tempted to eat less when my workouts are shorter than what I have been used to for so long.

I was wondering if you had any suggestions for me regarding my situation. I would really appreciate any guidance you have for me. Sorry for the novel, and thank you so much for your time and help!

What the Coaches Say:

  • Weight loss is so much more than calories in calories out. We are far to complex for it to be that simple
  • Thyroid? Getting a comprehensive thyroid panel done would be beneficial, especially having anxiety for so long and being on medication. T3, T4, free T3, Free T4, thyroid antibodies.  Research suggests people with mild (10-15% of the population) to moderate hypothyroidism (2-3%) may experience a metabolic slow down of 140 to 360 calories a day.
  • Weight gain has been gradual, and could be muscle. I feel like her body is at a happy spot right now at 150, and that’s why it’s not budging
    • A plateau is when the body stops to think “am I in danger?”
    • It doesn’t want to lose weight
  • Balance the blood sugar, work on gut health – Eating breakfast before morning workout
  • Increasing the quality of diet…the protein powder is junky, and lots of added chemicals in the whipped cream, syrup, dressings, and sauces
  • Not eating so many desserts before bed
  • Breaking routine – our bodies adapt so we need to keep switching things up
  • Managing stress – nature, deep breathing, journaling, yoga, meditation, hugs
  • More nutrient dense foods
  • Reducing caffeine and inflammatory oils and food (processed dairy, gluten, artificial flavors)
  • Accepting your body for how it is and what it can still do
  • Supplements – b-complex, EFA’s, probiotic, magnesium, D


Whole 30 & Long Distance Trail Running

I have a question in regards to fueling for both short and long distance trail running.  I have a full schedule this year, with a 5k trail series and a few trail half marathons and if all goes well, I may end the year with a full or 50k trail race or both.

My concern is in regards to fueling. I feel I may need to move into a more paleo or whole 30 style diet as my primary diet. One reason is because since July I have dealt with itchy skin and a rash on my neck, under arms and chest. I thought it was a heat rash because I was doing many of my runs in 90 degree weather. However, when winter came the issue remained. I then tried the whole 30 diet (which lasted about 16 days). Interestingly enough, during that time I didn’t have the itch or rash. I also didn’t struggle with constant itching eyes and sneezing. At least not nearly as much.

I’m not sure if it’s the grains or dairy that is causing my issue but I’m real close to just giving them both up. ( Maybe only allowing myself to cheat if I’m inviting over somewhere for dinner or something. I’ll eat what they are serving). But as a general rule, I want to just avoid those foods so that I feel good.

My concern then is fueling my long runs and races. Can I get what I need from Meat, fruit, veggies and eggs? For both long runs and intense runs such as a 5k? My training is mostly easy running. I like to use the 5k as my speed work and I will do the occasional tempo or moderate effort run. I don’t follow MAF but my HR is usually right in that range anyways because I do nearly all my runs at that low HR easy pace.

During the 2 weeks I was on whole 30, I was using Lara date bars as my pre run fuel. I could probably use those and maybe the organic cliff shots for my long runs and races?

What the Coaches Say:

  • Moving to a more whole foods, less processed diet is always a good call
  • Maybe start by only eliminating dairy. To give them both up completely seems to be too much at once (whole 30 only lasted 16 days)
  • Pre-race bfast could be a fruit/chocolate smoothie bowl, sweet potato hash, overnight chia pudding
    • Pre-run fuel isn’t super necessary for the distances you’re doing. A spoonful of coconut butter before a run works great. Then come back and have your full meal
  • Gluten-free non-gmo grains (and sprouted) could be beneficial if not reactive: amaranth, buckwheat, millet, wild rice, quinoa
  • This diet will definitely work as long as you’re eating a variety within each of these food groups
  • A gel here or there during a 50K is fine, but don’t make it the foundation of your training/racing plan. Check out Phil Maffetone’s bars and UCAN

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