Monday, June 9, 2014

Weekly Training Wrap - 6/2 - 6/8

Training has become a bit of  a grind. I am on 2.5 months off good quality training now and sort of ready to race. There is some work to be done yet, but I see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have been trying to heat train as much as I can because I think that will be the hardest part of the race for me. It's not a hard course if the weather is decent. Unfortunately, the weather was chilly all week with lots of rain, so that wasn't real helpful. The highlight of the week was the big training run on the NF course on Saturday. I felt super strong and felt like a good time is a real possibility. Of course, it was unusually cool that morning too.

The low light of the week was feeling pretty fatigued all week long, which sort of leads to the next thing I wanted to mention. I have been doing LCHF for nearly 6 months now and I am starting to learn a few things. First, we had a free blood work screening at work a couple of weeks back. I didn't know about until the day of, so this was more or less a random test, no fasting. This was my first screening in years and I was really curious. The results were really good: total cholesterol 183, HDL 72, blood glucose 76. The most staggering thing was my blood pressure drop. Every time I see my primary care doctor, they bring up the possibility of blood pressure meds because I am in the "pre-hypertension" range. Of course, as someone that thinks of himself as healthy and young, that idea is appalling to me. No way am I starting a regimen of drugs to be taken for life starting at 37! Well, my screening post-LCHF revealed a reading of 115/74. I have verified this number at least three times since. Long story short, my health has never been better. As a runner, my gut has never been better either.

The second thing that I am learning is that there is a tricky balance. I still eat some carbs for instant energy on the run. My goal is fat adaption -- I want to burn more fat than the typical athlete at the same level of effort -- and I am not necessarily trying for ketosis. However, despite having tens of thousands of calories available in the way of stored fat, those calories aren't always easy to access if you go too deep into deficit. Leaner people like me, have to replenish those stores or they get sluggish. I can go for short periods of time -- like the length of time needed to run an ultra -- burning those calorie deposits, but sooner or later you have to catch up. Highly active, lean athletes, like Peter Attia, have to eat 3000-4000 calories per day to keep the fat stores replenished. In other words, the combination of low calorie and low carb doesn't really work for lean, active people. LCHF will not leave you hungry constantly like a high carb diet because fat satiates appetite. Sedentary people that are fully adapted often only eat once a day. Bringing this back to me, I've noticed my energy levels dipping when I don't keep my calories up. I am also experimenting with a carb "refeed" day (aka a cheat day) about every other week.

The final thing that I am seeing -- and this may be nothing -- is a pretty significant dip in my heart rate. This could just be from my fitness level being so high and my overall health being better than ever. But, my heart rate the past 4-5 weeks has been staggeringly low. Even when my effort feels hard or I try to run at normally fast paces, the heart rate data doesn't support the effort level. As an avid heart rate watcher, I can usually tell when I am just really fit. This time feels like it could some type of shift in my training zones. The only assumption I could make, if true, is that it is also related to LCHF. Dr Maffetone believes there shouldn't be much variation in max heart rate (hence his 180-age formula) and that people with high heart rates may just be unhealthy. I've always thought that was bunk because I see so much variation among my friends. Needless to say, I need to do some hard workouts soon to get an idea of what is going on.

Day Miles Notes
Monday OffRest
Tuesday8 Bluffs in the AM
Strength Training
Wednesday10 Open Space Trails
Thursday9Double FKA w/ Progression
FridayOff Rest
Saturday 22North Fork Training Run
Sunday 14Around the Bluffs and Back
Total 63About 7,400 feet of vert


  1. Great week, AJ.

    Funny you mention that you felt fatigued all week long. I went through the same thing back in early May. I'm not on any particular kind of diet and as a matter of fact it's pretty bad. But, I had been training pretty hard since the start of the year and had never felt like that before. I was literally falling asleep at work even though I was getting plenty of sleep at night. I took time off and pretty much slept the majority of 3 days.

    1. Thanks Mike. I don't like suffering from that much fatigue. I know that some is normal when training hard, but that is not sustainable. It is such a careful balance we have to follow. Good to see you had a great week this week as well.