Tuesday, October 2, 2012

RAQ: Recently Asked Questions

Although I'm not the creator of the Paleo diet, or a Professional Marathon Trainer, many friends look to me for help when they join me in my journey as a Paleo Runner.  I think this is the highest complement paid, when someone trusts my advice.  I do try to do as much research as possible, and I'm never afraid to ask those that I consider to be experts.  I also suspect my friends like me to be the Guinea Pig, trying these new fangled ideas of "running" and "not eating processed foods" first.  Give it to Juri, She'll Try it!!

What follows are some of the more recent questions I've been asked.  I'm proud to have helped these friends with some of their questions.

Q: Why do my feet hurt after a 3 mile run?

A: Provided that there's no injury there's a good chance you're wearing the wrong kind of socks.  A burning sensation at the end of a 30 minute run is a sign of friction.  Wearing athletic socks designed for running will help your feet breath, reducing moisture and will help with friction.  If you're already wearing appropriate socks, then you can try using GLIDE or any similar friction-reducing product on the bottoms of your feet.  I glide my feet before every race (no matter the distance) and before every long training run.

Q: What was the Biggest change to your diet when you started Paleo?

A:  As a runner the biggest change was the removal of all processed grains and sugars from my diet.  The Paleo Diet adheres to the idea that we were not meant to eat the foods developed through agriculture.  These foods may have been found in the wild, but have been altered by our need for bigger, faster plants to feed our growing populations.  These were not foods our bodies were designed to digest, and they can have drastic effects like bloating, gas, weight gain and even cause damage for those especially sensitive.  Giving up those processed grains and sugars meant giving up the "tried and true" source of energy for runners.  Pasta parties and pre-race carb loading have been an accepted part of endurance racing for many years now.  I've had to replace my carb loading pastas and breads with sweet potatoes and fruits.  A positive change to my diet was the emphasis of the Paleo Diet on proteins.  Getting a high level of proteins means that my muscles recover faster from long training runs.  My muscles develop faster for this reason, giving me more power and eventually I hope this translates into more speed.  This is something I plan to track as I run my next few half marathons.

Q:  Why am I so tired?  Isn't Paleo supposed to make me have more energy?

A: If you're past the normal 1-2 weeks of sugar detox that happens when you start a Paleo diet, then low energy can be caused by several things.  First, make sure you're drinking a lot of water.  Protein absorption does tend to make you slightly dehydrated.  Also, make sure you're getting enough sleep.  6-8 hours is ideal.  For those who are trying Paleo to lose weight, don't make the mistake of not eating ENOUGH calories.  You're shooting for enough calories to support your BMI, with 50% of them coming from fat.  Check out my article on losing weight on the Paleo diet here. If none of those apply to you, I'd check with your personal physician to make sure that you don't have any underlying problems that could be affecting your energy levels.

Q:  What do you mean by "Tapering"?

A: Tapering is the week to two weeks before a runner's Goal Race.  This is the race that we signed up for MONTHS AGO and have been logging hundreds of miles to prepare for.  For the two weeks before the race, runners will slowly reduce the number of miles they are running to help with the build up of glycogen in muscles (to fuel them during the race) and to prevent injuring themselves.  The lack of running may make them grumpy, and they'll complain of feeling fat and lazy.  Beware of the tapering runner and give them wide berth and consideration as they prepare to take on their next challenge.

If you have any questions that you think I could answer, feel free to send them my way!

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