Fasted Training Thoughts

Today I had planned on doing some hill work.  I woke up at ~8:00 am, because no matter what time I go to sleep my brain tends to wake me up at around this time in the summer; but I did have a good sleep, around 9 hours.  Had 2 cups (500mL) of coffee between then and 11:00 am, and then I had a “tall” americano from starbucks at approximately 12-12:30.

So at the beginning of my run at 1:30 pm, I’ve had nothing but coffee and water.

coffee cup

(photo credit)

I warmed up for the hills by running through the trails in order to get to the hill, which turned out to be almost 5k.  I ran this at a relatively easy pace.

Ran up to the top of this hill once, so that I could drop off my bottle and measure the distance/elevation.  I also measured on my way back down to the bottom.  The trail to the top is just over 200m long, and the ascent is ~20m, which gives the hill a 10% grade.  Not bad.

I arbitrarily chose to do 8 repeats up this hill with the walk down as my recovery, taking a sip of water whenever I got to the top (which I didn’t start until round 3).  I felt pretty good the entire time, though breathing was hard by the time I got to the top of the hill each time!  After the 8th rep, I ran/hiked the trails home (and took a few detours), which ended up being about another 6k.

I think it’s interesting that I can do this type of work without eating a ridiculous amount of carbohydrate during the training sessions (I eat nothing!), and in a fasted state.  I also think it’s interesting that I can do this fasted training without eating a chronically low-carbohydrate diet.  Most of the proponents of low-carb diets for athletic performance propose that one must eat almost no carbohydrates to become more efficient at fueling their training on primarily fatty acids/ketones as a fuel substrate.  I tend to consume upwards of 300g of carbohydrates on some days, yet am still apparently “fat-adapted” as I can go all day without eating if I have to, and still train hard.  I don’t ever keep track of my food intake, as I eat intuitively and based on my training.  But sometimes out of curiosity I will check.

To be fair, I did eat a relatively low-no carb diet for well over a year, so there are many physiological adaptations that would have occurred as a result of this.  And I still perform the majority (almost 100%) of my training in a fasted state, and as much as possible, in a glycogen-depleted state.  I’ll definitely talk about this stuff in the future.

2 responses to “Fasted Training Thoughts

  1. Fascinating observations. I’m fat adapted finally after a few months struggling with long efforts. When you say you do not eat low carb, do you mean you eat grains/sugars/etc or you just take in a lot of vegetable carbohydrates like sweet potatoes, etc?

    • I do sometimes eat a low amount of carbohydrate, but it will depend on various things.

      I consume carbohydrate from the latter sources — things like potatoes, sweet potatoes/yams, lots of fruit, squash, sugary vegetables, etc..

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