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The Bears Discuss Dieting & Running🥦🏃🏼‍♀️🥗🍔

We always love a bit of Bears discussion, and thought we’d post some snippets on here for our non-facebook bears! Yvonne posted the below:

Just wondering if anyone can relate or has a suggestion….I have recently returned to running proper, and absolutely love all that comes with it. Since June this year I have lost a good few pounds on a fairly relaxed Keto diet (apart from Friday & Saturday evenings which involve Revels & wine), am now down to ‘fighting weight’ and have been running quite well on it once my body adapted to using fat for energy as opposed to carbs. I have been doing some strengthening and stretching with the RBRC yoga and Monday night workouts (which I never did in my past life as a runner, although I was younger then) however for the last month, I don’t seem to be recovering as I usually do, my legs usually feel tired and my hips have started to ache (but this could be due to the glutes workout from Monday). Whilst training with Nick and the team last night, I felt great, but on my normal runs I don’t feel like I am running ‘fluidly’ as my legs and hips feel niggly?
So, my thoughts are….is it just my age (54 on paper, still 24 in my head!), should I introduce some carbs to help the muscles to recover, although I have lots of good protein before and after runs. Should I keep doing more strengthening in the knowledge that my legs will be tired because of it, do some cycling….or just buy some more road shoes with added cushioning 👍😁
Any words of wisdom would be most gratefully appreciated
Thank you

Here are some of the Bears responses:

Justine O’Donnell  RBRC Nutrition Expert

“Hi Yvonne I’m limited to tackle the overall issues of Keto v Carbohydrate on this but would like to add a couple of comments that I hope will be helpful. Based on your symptoms (tired legs, hip aches, niggles and slower recovery) I would recommend you eat more carbohydrates 4hrs before you run and again 20mins to an hr before you run a refined carbohydrate snack ie flapjack/malt loaf etc this will give you more fuel and aid your performance. Protein is important post run to aid recovery alongside some carbohydrate to benefit your muscle recovery. Effectively consider more a low carbohydrate diet, with an increase prior to runs, this may improve your metabolic flexibility, your ability to oxidise fats. Keto diets can be useful short term during training to lower your weight and improve your fat oxidation but as a runner it’s long term gains to provide energy, support recovery and aid performance are limited. Hope that helps, if you require more information please let me know.”

Carol Bird, Running Bear Ambassador

Hi Yvonne, I can relate as I didn’t start running seriously till after 50. I’m now 59 but have just done a 10k pb 41.21 . I’m not saying that to show off (There are better women my age in the country) but just to say that age isn’t a barrier. There are many reasons to run – physical, mental, weight loss, competitive, social & they’re all as valid as each other. The main thing is that you enjoy it. The most important part of your kit though Is your shoe. You need the right one for your gait & your running needs. If you’re local to Cheshire, it would be great to see you in the Den & chat about your running & what you want to achieve. I’m in on Wed & Thurs but there’s always a friendly helpful bear to help you out. Happy to give you advice any time.

Simon McConville, A Member of Running Bear Fast to 5k Group

 I’m no nutritionist but I can speak from my own experience, when I started running I wanted to loose weight so I was always in a calorie deficit until I reached a weight I was happy with, I then pretty much had to force myself to eat more just to maintain a steady weight as I didn’t have enough energy stored. Was quite easy for me cause I skipped breakfast so all I’ve done since then is have a bowl of porridge every morning. Think now your at your happy weight you need to try and balance out your calories compared to what your burning. I hope this makes sense 😀

Angela Jackson, RBRC Physio and owner of PhysioFit

Hi, some amazing advice re the nutritional aspects of your training. One aspect not covered is if calories in does not equal calories needed we tend to see niggly injuries. There occur due to a combination of spikes in weekly load (too much too soon), lack of hip muscle strength and lack of fuel. When we do not have enough calories the body diverts fuel to essential systems leaving the bones depleted of calcium a d the ability to repair effectively. Happy to look at your recent training diary to see if it is creating the issues nd at Physiofit we check your strength and running technique to highlight target areas.

Josh Barrow, RBRC Ambassador 

Hey, there are too many variables to make a judgement but here are a few ideas! Seasonal change in energy levels is a problem for a lot of runners right now, motivation is difficult this time of year, work days take a heavier toll as less light impacts circadian rhythm and hormone systems. We don’t recover as well, we feel as if we are always playing catch up to get runs done around work and sometimes dig a deeper hole, stress accumulates, leads to niggles as we train too much or too differently without adequate recovery.
Difficult to pin it on the diet if it’s not truly keto. I would expect removing carbs to reduce inflammation so less chance of joint issues, if anything I expect you’d feel much better, more energy, more fluid when running, lighter, sleep better, clarity of thought, all the expected benefits of keto. There are plenty of people running volume on a ketogenic diet. That’s my experience, though I do eat carbs before tougher sessions. Some practical advice may be to commit to either keto 7 days a week or reintroduce carbs 7 days a week and begin a process of elimination of foods, see how the body responds, reintroduce/ cut out etc it’s difficult to be strict during the week and not overcompensate at the weekend as a reward, particularly as runners often fall into the more polarising ends of the personality spectrum. We rarely do things in moderation (I underline my name twice here!) Drastic changes in diet would put more stress on the body than a commitment to either one or the other. That said, the culprit could be a single food or drink particularly if it’s muscular niggles (coffee, energy drinks, alcohol) – hate to remove all the pleasure in life! 2-3 day muscular injuries point more towards overtraining or a specific incompatible food/ stimulant being the problem. Then there’s all the obvious maintenance stuff, vits/mins, fruit, veg, sleep, stretching should be extra polished this time of year. Sounds like you’re putting the hours in on this front, perhaps the body just needs to catch up with the mind. Try CBD if it’s a joint issue – it seems quite an unregulated market so get a decent one. The shoes could be a big one and that’s an easy change. Really hope something from the group helps, feel free to drop me a PM x

Bill Heaton, RBRC Member and Designer of the Running Bear Collection 

I’d be very careful about having a ‘racing weight.’
A lot of people think that if they weigh a particular weight then they’ll race faster. To a degree it’s true at the elite end of athletics but they are carefully monitored but even then there are many male and female athletes who have had eating disorders and side effects to their health.
I would have a balanced diet and make sure that your training schedule is right. You may well find that your ‘ideal’ weight at which you train and race is actually a little more than a weight that actually is just a round figure that’s plucked out of the air.
A lot of runners plateau after a period of time and so think that losing weight, doing more training, taking wonder supplements, latest trainers are the way forward.
The reality is, running is like a rollercoaster and sometimes we improve, we plateau and sometimes we go a bit slower or get injured.
If runners realise that then it takes a lot of pressure from you.
Finally, remember why you run. We aren’t professional athletes but do it to keep fit, camaraderie and mental wellbeing.

Nick Bishop, RBRC Head Coach

Hi Yvonne…Two aspects to your post. Justine O’Donnell is our nutritionalist and who can best answer aspects of the question.

 In terms of the training, once you have regained what you perceive to be the best levels of fitness that you are likely to achieve in running career part 2, its more about quality of runs…quality and not quantity. Fine tuning etc. Being smart with your training. BTW…you are going great guns…well done! Nick.

Julie Phelan, RBRC Member

You have some expert help here. Talk to them. Just something to think about — I am 56 and train 6 times a week. I try to have a balanced approach to diet which i hadn’t totally had in the past bordering on nutterdom! I clock up round about 10hrs pr week and have done for years. When I was 33 I was 8:10 then could trim dow to 8:4 when I was trying really hard. That was not maintainable and I suspect didn’t help me. At 56 I can work my backside off and only get my weight down to 9:4. The women I am competing with in National races are the same. As for glutes, I have to now do lots of exercises for activation and muscle imbalance which is kinda expected, because I am essentially a cyclist who runs.
Age is not a problem , sometimes you just have to be very analytical and respond. Our resident experts will tell you how. Older athletes achieve more now than we ever dreamt of. Ask Carol Bird. You just have to box clever. Be proud because we can be formidable

Really interesting discussion there! If you want to get involved and are on facebook – you can join the group here !

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