I received the following comment from Jay Jack on the topic of Paleo/Primal fueling for a 50K run:
I know this doesn’t really belong on this thread, but, I don’t know where else to put it, and I thought someone might like it. Well, this was a my experiment. I decided to do a Palro/Primal Ultra (50k on trails).
I ate dead strict Paleo (w butter and heavy cream) 100% for 3 months before the race. Prior to that it was not that strict.
I trained for this by doing Crossfitesque work (more like CF Football), in addition to my doing BJJ/Muay Thai/MMA as I own an academy.
I did only one long run (should be called a speed hike as I hike all the hills, I only run the downs, and jog the flats) per week. Kept my heart rate under 75% on all long runs. I was also in VFFS for all runs and conditioning.
I did all my training runs fasted and using only coconut water.
I built up to a 20 miler as my last training run.
Race Day: ate eggs scrambled in bacon grease. coffee with pastured heavy cream. During the race I ate only these little energy balls made from a recipe in the Thrive Diet book made of coconut oil, dates, lime juice, and I added guarana for some extra kick. Drank only coconut water and regular water. Wore VFF treks. Kept an average heart rate of 76% (1 damn % higher than I wanted). finished in 8:12 (50k). Not setting records, but I’ve never done any race before. Not a 5k, nothing. So this was a TOTAL experiment.
It is possible to do an ultra without breaking any Paleo/Primal lifestyle parameters. Just felt like proving it. Why… no idea. Just decided I wanted to. I know people might bag on it, but I thought somebody may enjoy hearing about the success of it.
Now onto some other off the wall goal.
First, I wanted to thank Jay for sharing this. My best material is generated in response to questions and commentary from you folks so I am truly grateful when you share experiences and questions. I want to look at a few items that I emphasized above (underlined).
1-One long run per week.
Now, if you look at Jay’s schedule it’s pretty damn active: sprinting, lifting, short met-cons, MMA-Jits. I’m guessing he had 3-4 “running” sessions per week with the sprint work and met-cons, but then just 1 long run.
2-Kept my heart rate under 75% on all long runs.
This is an important issue for several reasons, but the main one being SPECIFICITY. Runs of this duration are NOT sprints. Can sprint work aid these efforts? Absolutely, but you MUST train how you want to PERFORM!! I really like Richard Gibbens ideas at Power Running. Basic ideas: Lift weights, sprint and run your race distance AT YOUR RACE PACE. Running 5K’s? If you want to be good, run’em fast & hard. Running 50K’s? If you want to FINISH you better game play that scenario (run some distance, figure out your pacing) and it might be helpful to show up rested and not overtrained.
3-I built up to a 20 Miler as my last training run.
Just more of the above. Race distance, race pace. Practice the specifics of YOUR event.
4-Kept my Heart rate at 76%.
Not only did he practice for a specific output, he actually DID that! Many people scrap the plan when game day arrives due to nerves and EGO. This is particularly important as we consider the next piece.
5- I’ve never done any race before. Not a 5k, nothing. So this was a TOTAL experiment.
BALSY! But not unreasonable. He had a plan, made things reasonable and stuck to to it. Now, I’ve focussed mainly on the training element, Jay tackled this more from the fueling perspective. The big concern for most folks attempting a long endurance event is how to do it “paleo/primal”. Well, you find the most concentrated food sources you can (in this case coconut oil and dates, some coconut water). I’d likely throw in some kind of jerky just to make sure branched chain amino acids are propped up, I might also throw in some extra sodium ( just a bit of sea salt) to make sure we do not get a hypo-natremic situation.
1-Is this the BEST way to tackle the event? I don’t know. I really like products like Cytomax, they work great. But folks have simply asked the question “can you do events like this with ancestral foods?” and the answer is clearly, Yes, paleo foods work just fine.
2-Will Paleo produce ELEEEEEET performance? Uh…it will likely help, but as Floyd Landis has hopefully made clear, Eaton, Cordain and Lindeberg will have little influence on elite athletics compared to Upjohn, Merc and Phizer. Want to be a champion? Pick your parents wisely, get a solid pharmaceutical plan and train your fanny off. Paleo nutrition may indeed improve recovery enough to make a difference in the whole picture, but I’d tend to lean towards EPO and T-Gel as possibly more important!