RW Forum Six – Sub 2.50 Kier with Parkrunfan

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16/01/2013 at 10:28

In plain english, my understanding is that exercise stresses the body, including the immune system. For example. post marathon athletes are up to 6 times more likely to get a cold than a 'normal' person.

Taking carbs before and during exercise partly reduces this stress, where as running the carb stores right down increases the stress on the body, including stress on the immune system. 

I also believe that muscles take longer to recover from exercise where carb stores are depleted. Although post fueling (or small horse eating) helps to replenish these, it is not an immediate, full replenishment and could mean that Tuesdays session is compromised compared to a fully fueled LSR.

So although there is an argument for training the body to use fat over carbs (or increase its % of fat v carbs) by running on an empty stomach (the body will always go for the easiest processed source of energy first, especially when running faster) this is not without an increased risk of picking up a cold etc. 

Cheerful Dave    pirate
16/01/2013 at 10:36

If you believe Noakes these days you'd be cutting out carbs altogether, Keir....

16/01/2013 at 10:45

I understand what Noakes is saying and it seems to have worked well for him. However along with barefoot running, I think with diet the best ideas is if it 'ain't broke' don't try to fix it. I also think as a (fish eating) vegetarian, the paleo diet takes a lot of comitment and planning.

It would be interesting to know how many Tour riders of elite marathon runners follow the Paleo diet. I know Tom Danielson does something similar as he really struggles to digest carbs due to his Eskimo genetics. 

Cheerful Dave    pirate
16/01/2013 at 10:58

Just anecdotaly, a friend of mine has a digestional problem that meant that although he could run 1:20 HMs, he always crashed and burned going longer, and had only once broken 4 hours for a marathon.  After trying everything, visiting 'specialists' of many descriptions, he found that what worked for him was to stuff himself with porridge as close to the start as possible, and to take a complete stop (not walking) at around 20 miles for a minute or two to take water.  He starts feeling bloated but he can keep going through (apart from the stop), and he's now down to 2:45.  Not a strategy I'd like to try myself, though!

16/01/2013 at 12:41
Minni wrote (see)

AR - if you're having a gel or two on those fast finish long runs then they're not strictly unfuelled, are they?

Hi Minni, I have two distinct long runs
Long Slow Runs - I do unfuelled

Fast Finish Runs - I run with Gels and simulate racing conditions. I have done 1 to 3 fast finish 20 milers, and 5 or 6 Long slow runs per marathon so far.

16/01/2013 at 13:05
parkrunfan wrote (see)

Just to clarify, you are making things easier for your body not harder.

I've always been of the thinking that you only get out what you put in so I guess this is why I need convincing. A bit like keir said above, I think its ok to put the body under that stress occasionally but to do it regularly might lead to fatigue, which in turn could affect other training runs in with week, along with a low immune system. 

So prf how is it making things easier rather than harder for your body?

I could do with losing a few pounds but rarely do in marathon training because I'm so careful about replacing calories, however, perhaps I'm basically just over eating!

What's the word on the street for the BM on Sunday?  Is the course likely to be snow covered?


16/01/2013 at 13:20

PRF I just know I couldn't deplete my body that much, not over the daytime anyway. Not sure a sandwich would get me through a 20 miler the next morning either but its not something I've tried. I had a large bowl of oat cereal piled with fruit and yoghurt, my usual breakfast and felt fab on my run this morning. In the end it was far too quick given the reps last night but I suddenly realised with 2 miles left that I wasn't going to make 11.45 pick up so the last two miles were sub 7. Ooops! Luckily they are used to my manic lifestyle at pre-school and the school!

Yes Keir my life is hectic but I quite like it that way. Today I need to get to supermarket before school pick up, then boys have a friend round to play then I have pilates tonight, my injury prevention stretch out session. I hate it and clock watch the whole time but it sooo helps.

Tues are much worse, 6am run, school drop off, took my wee boy to the orthoptist clinic yesterday so extra then normal! Then music group with my daughter, lots of house jobs, school pick up, then the boys have gymnastics 10 miles away, so jump in the car for that. I do get to sit down for an hour then as S usually does colouring etc. Then  rush back, get kids tea sorted and get out for my coaching/speed session. Always good to be in bed on a tues night! I only work properly on Mondays and Thursdays in school hours and then fit in other hours as needed.

My husband is a fellow runner/duathlete and has in his time run a 2:34 marathon and a 69 half. Now both old with too many in our legs so hanging on until its time for our kids to take over the stead!!

Hilly I think hills are fab in this early part of marathon training, long hills mind, 2-3 mins are the best with a quick recovery. Along with plenty of other conditioning work like squats, lunges etc. We are doing plenty of these at the club mixed in with longer reps. I think once past mid Feb though its time to turn up the pace a bit and stop the hills as they do drain your legs and do actually slow you down a bit.

16/01/2013 at 13:30

Interesting views.

Keir - I guess I'm a bit sceptical about the lowered immune system through exercise 'stress' idea because I have myself never found that to be the case. I dont get colds very often but if I do it is likely to be when I am detrained during downtime rather than when in full training.

Anecdotally there also seems to be more risk of catching colds when training load is decreased during the taper leading into a marathon.

But people will have their own differing experiences and also, probably crucially, differing access to pesky little bugs around key training times especially when it comes to kids.


Minni - I've always thought that the body gets incredibly efficient during marathon training such that calorific requirements dont shift that much as mileage increases. However, it is perceived that you need to eat hand over fist just to fuel the runs, hence why few runners lose weight and many actually gain weight during a marathon campaign.


As always I could be talking complete horlicks.

Cheerful Dave    pirate
16/01/2013 at 14:11

Maybe marathon runners are more likely to go down with cold post-race because they've just spent a weekend mingling (and running) with large crowds of people, rather than it being some exercise-induced phenomenon?

16/01/2013 at 14:22

I tend not to suffer from colds after a marathon.   I do however tend to suffer from almighty hangovers, especially if I've been celebrating with your sister CD.

Cheerful Dave    pirate
16/01/2013 at 14:51

She has a lot to answer for, doesn't she?

16/01/2013 at 15:47

Obviously a very contentious subject. I have never really actively starved myself ready for long runs. Its just convenient to get up at 5.30am and just head straight out the door. Same for long runs at the weekend. I would rather have more time in bed before the kids wake me up and I need a long time to digest food before a run. I always eat breakfast before racing though and on marathon day. When hubbie coached me years ago he had read about doing long runs on just a coffee then not starting fuel of any kind until 10-12 miles. This enabling the fat stores to kick in more efficiently, but once they are trained to kick in earlier so avoiding the 'wall' you shouldn't have to replicate this on race day.

I do find myself that I don't get ill very often even with kids around as my kids are pretty healthy, but do find I can feel myself coming down things after long runs if I don't get fuel in quickly enough. Interestingly hubbie has just been reading Tyler Hamilton's book about the tour and he used to come in from a 6 hour ride take some sleeping pills and eat an apple but no other fuel and go to bed to try and lose weight! He says his body was crying out for nutrition but he starved it. Oh was totally shocked by that tbh! Its the thing that keeps me focused on long runs. What am I going to devour when I get in!!

I do eat a bit more when training for marathons but not loads more and I tend to eat more often. More fruit and nuts etc. I do try to eat very healthily, but then have treat days at the weekend for wine and chocolate etc!!

Time for a cuppa and a banana ...

16/01/2013 at 16:35

That Tyler Hamilton story is an eye opener, I bet he felt horrid when he woke up!

I think I will stick to doing a few runs before breakfast, but nothing faster than easy pace.

I am a big fan of horse burgers for a refuel after a long run ……….ill get me coat

16/01/2013 at 17:07
Surely they'd give you the trots YD.
16/01/2013 at 17:12

Admittedly part of my reasoning for at least some of the unfuelled 20 milers was that other people wanted to get them done so early.  This weekend's run is scheduled for a civilised time so I might squeeze in a bowl of porridge with maple syrup.  Should help warm me up a bit.

16/01/2013 at 19:01

I cant understand why anyone would fight hunger, it seems like a pointless own goal - a bit like ignoring the flashing fuel indicator on a car dashboard.

The appetite is an incredibly sophisticated bit of technology that is not only finely tuned to indicate WHEN to eat but also WHAT to eat in minute detail.

The trouble with a lot of the way modern living is structured is that not many people actually eat to appetite, there is more a tendency to eat at fixed times because it is 'the done thing' and often eat what is provided rather than what is chosen.

To a large extent this is inevitable but the closer we can get to eating according to appetite, which tends to also mean eating foods as near to their natural form as possible, the healthier we tend to feel.


And talking of appetite, I'm currently satisfying mine after just completing another 20.0 Miles in 2:49:17 (8:28/mile) - 1st 10.0 @ 8:51/mile, 2nd 10.0 @ 8:04/mile

That was the second of those in 5 days, which is what I was looking to do to get a bit an aerobic boost going.

And although it was hilly and mainly on ice it flowed really well, so very pleased with it.


16/01/2013 at 19:24
Very hard not to get sucked into the murky world of anecdote re issues like catching colds in taper, post race etc or hard training somehow doing something to innate immunity on a temporary basis

I'm sure the reality is the quality valid studies simply haven't been done and nobody really knows...for now we just all have to rely on personal experience

Have you decided yet Keir if you're def actually going to do some of the harder sessions calorie depleted or still to come to a final decision on that one?
16/01/2013 at 21:33

Well, I can't go against the advice of my mentor can I? 

Actually, I do see the point and do agree with the theory. I have run a couple of 20s before unfueled in a previous campaign, but didn't before Abingdon. 

I am not sure that I could run a MLR in the evening after a day witout eating lunch or tea though. So I expect I will eat a normal tea on Saturday night, skip Sunday morning brekkie and go out for a steady 20. I certainly don't want to try any sort of progressive, paced or fast finish LSR unfueled. 


I did have a nice school dinner today (fisherman's pie) and also went for apple crumble and custard. Fully fueled and digested I went out at half 5 for 10m @ 7.43m/m 134 bpm (71%) 1hr 18, followed by 4m progressive round the track. There came out at: 6.41m/m 147bpm, 6.19m/m 157bpm, 6.02m/m 165bpm, 5.45m/m 172bpm. Had to man up a bit over the final mile (the power of knowing I would have to post this kept me going). Quick drink then joined the tri clubs core session - 20sec on, 10sec off x 8 for press-ups, followed by 2mins rest then the same for burpees, sit-ups and other exercises. Quick stretch and home to refuel with shreddies. Now just setting up my running kit for the morning before hitting bed. 

16/01/2013 at 21:54

Excellent effort, Keir.

So that gets the mechanics of the progressive 4 miler mentally embedded at an early stage. By the time it gets to the 22 miler you'll just be putting another easy 8 miles in before tonights session...and the progressive bit will start to feel a bit easier as well.

Looking forward to the 8 weeks now?

17/01/2013 at 08:04


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