Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Paleo Challenge

One of the things that I've done to prepare for the Virgil Crest 100 this weekend is to deliberately loosen up my diet over the past several weeks. This might sound strange but the tighter that your sails are when it comes to nutrition the farther off course you end up when the wind blows. And at an ultra-marathon the winds blow hard...

I've been following a very clean paleo diet for the past several months and feel better than I ever have in my life. For me this means zero processed foods, no bread, grains, legumes, dairy, or refined sugars, and a low carb, moderate fat, and high protein intake favoring lean meats, a ton of veggies, seasonal fruits, nuts, seeds. Two days at the VT 100 this July reminded me why I do this in the first place. Poor sleep combined with a diet of GU, "energy" bars, and miscellaneous ultra-grub found at aid stations while pacing Jeremy Bonnet left me completely snackered for the next several days.

I've really dialed in my race nutrition over the past two years and this has played a significant role in the performance gains that I've been able to make. Unfortunately, I still haven't found a "natural" approach to ultra-eating and am relying on the Gu's and bars that I'm used to. (Maybe I'll run my next 100 armed with sweet potatoes and fistfulls of bison jerky but with the biggest race of my life in less than 3 days I'm sticking with what I know works)

That said, after the race (and a week of eating whatever my body tells me to while recovering from a 100 mile run) I'm beginning a 30 day paleo challenge in order to feel good for the fall. And you're more than welcome to join...

These periodic challenges are an opportunity to tighten up diet, sleep, and general physical fitness while reminding us how good it feels to eat and live clean. United Barbell has a good description of the challenge and a list of paleo friendly foods to keep you running strong throughout the 30 day duration.

I'll be kicking off the challenge on October 1st and, as with most things in life, it's more fun with a friend. If you've been curious of the whole "paleo" thing and want to see if a few weeks of ancestral eating improves the way that you "look, feel, and perform" as paleo-dude Robb Wolff likes to say then post a comment and we'll tackle this thing together!

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