Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Paleo and Running: what has it done for me?

"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you stop to look fear in the face."
                                          --Eleanor Roosevelt

My 6th half marathon was the Silver Strand Half marathon.  It was also my second half marathon that I've run paleo.  I've been asked what being Paleo has done for my running.  I initially chose to start paleo for weight loss and to help with recovery.  I had heard that there were elite runners, like Dean Karnazes, who also run Paleo.  So for more than 90 days now, I've followed the restrictions of the Paleo diet: No soy, dairy, legumes, processed grains or sugars or oils.  And I have seen a difference.  

My legs felt incredibly strong on race day.  I had also included hillwork in the last 3 weeks (after half marathon 5, the San Jose Rock N Roll) so I'm sure that training helped build muscle in my legs.  I attribute the quick recovery and increase muscle growth to paleo though.  Its difficult to NOT be high protein on a diet based on fat burning.  

The high fiber, high water content that comes with eating a diet of whole foods, ensured that I was also well-hydrated on race day.  Dehydration can be such a huge factor in race day performance.

Knowing that my diet was well-balanced and HEALTHY led to a confidence that makes the biggest difference.  I didn't wonder if what I had eaten in the days before would lead to GI distress on race day.  Poor diet mixed with nerves can be a terrible combination when you're trying to run your best race.  You don't want to be stopping at every single port-a-potty on the course.  The paleo diet purposely eliminates all foods that can cause irritation and bloating.

Today is the second day after the race and I feel great.  I do have muscle soreness, but my legs feel STRONG.  This is in direct opposition to the halfs that I've run where my muscles are literally DYING because they were consumed in the effort.

I hope that my experience allows anyone who is considering to run paleo to feel confident that others have had positive experiences.

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