My 2011 began with Boston Marathon training on the brain. I was coming back from an injury yet determined to start the year with fresh goals and to prepare for my first Boston! In conjunction with my running program, I decided to manipulate my nutrition to see what impact metabolic efficiency training would have. After reading “Metabolic Efficiency Training: Teaching the Body to Burn More Fat” last year, I started the year by modifying my nutrition to omit most whole and refined grains. This was a huge change for me because I was used to frequent consumption of foods like almond butter sandwiches, oatmeal, or sport nutrition bars before workouts. My meals and snacks often would include crackers, tortillas, pasta, granola bars and bread. I started using the ‘periodization plate’ model to help me balance blood sugar levels by combining proteins and fiber-containing foods at each meal and snack. My training volume was fairly low the first 6 weeks, so I didn’t need to supplement my workouts with any sports nutrition products. I was feeling good so far and noticed my body weight decreased by ~3% and body fat by ~2% within 5-6 weeks. Mind you, I did not count calories or measure quantities of foods!
In early February, I did a metabolic efficiency test with Bob Seebohar to see where my crossover point was (at what pace did my body begin to burn more carbohydrate than fat). I was honestly disappointed and surprised by the results because my crossover point occurred at a pace of 6.4mph, which was a slow pace for me. I guess I was glad to have a crossover point because not all athletes do, yet I thought it would occur at a higher intensity. After brainstorming with Bob, I decided I need to be more aggressive with my nutrition and pay closer attention to meal composition and content.
Since that time, I have strived for a 2:1 or 1:1 ratio of carbohydrate to protein (sometimes 3:1 or an occasional 4:1 if having a little sweet or chocolate!) at each meal/snack. I have omitted all grains/starches (except on my birthday), reduced my intake of starchy vegetables to 1-2 times per week, minimized alcohol, and cut down on sweets. About 30-45 minutes prior to many of my workouts, I have been consuming Generation UCAN, a powder containing SuperStarch which empties quickly from the stomach but does not spike blood sugar or insulin level like other high carb/sugar sports nutrition products. I have also worked harder at my speed and interval workouts. The primary goal of all these changes is to push the metabolic efficiency point to the right so that I can perform at higher intensities while relying on my fat stores for energy rather than needing to supply carbohydrate to fuel my body.
I haven’t been able to test my metabolic efficiency on the metabolic cart again, but I can tell you these other results:
1) body weight has decreased another 4%. I fit into a pant size I haven’t worn for 15 years!
- body fat decreased another 3%
- my calorie intake has averaged about 25-40 calories per hour for my 3 hour runs where last year it was about 80-100 per hour. I need no calories on anything less than a 3 hour run - way different than ever before.
- I have great energy levels during my long runs without any GI distress or hunger, during or afterwards.
- My paces on long runs have improved significantly.
That’s a summary of my past 3 months of training leading up to the Boston. Check back here in a few days to see what my taper week looks like!