Ketogenic Diet Ultramarathon

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Western States 100 – Low Carber Wins Ultramarathon – Steve Phinney And Jeff Volek Study

Earlier this summer, Steve Phinney and Jeff Volek, authors of The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance, headed to the Western States 100-mile Endurance Run, to study how runners in this grueling race fared, literally, for they were checking how the athletes performed, AND how they ate. Steve Phinney says that more and more endurance athletes are choosing low-carb, high-fat. They’re choosing this diet both to get over digestive problems that hit in such a demanding event, and to win the race, and win it BIG! That’s what Tim Olson did this year. A self-proclaimed low-carb eater, Tim won the race — with a record-breaking pace. — Shelley Steve Phinney, earlier this summer, you were at an Ultramarathon Race. STEVE PHINNEY: It’s called the Western states 100 or also the Western states endurance run. The race was first held, I think it was 1974, and has been held almost annually since then, except for years of wildfire or other unexpected things. It starts at Squaw Valley by Lake Tahoe and runs up over the Sierra Nevada Mountains and down to the western foothills town of Auburn, which is just about 40 miles north of where I live. Did YOU run? STEVE PHINNEY: Oh, no no! Continue reading >>

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Popular Questions

  1. jfsavage

    As some of you know, I'm a competitive ultrarunner; I've won a few races and represented the US at the world 24 hour championships. Like many people, I've been intrigued by the possibility that the ketogenic diet could help performance, especially at ultramarathon distances. Therefore I went on the Ketogenic Diet for 7 months, running 85 miles/week, including 50 marathon length runs and 3 ultramarathons. It's taken me over a year to finalize my write up of this experiment, and I've tried to be as objective as I can. Obviously my experiment is not scientific, but hopefully it will be useful.
    As always, I welcome questions and feedback. (Edit: I checked my training log again and my average mileage was 85 miles/week, not 70)

  2. Spectralblr

    I won't have a chance to read this till later, but I just wanted to say thanks for all the great work you do. The whole fellrnr.com site is an amazing resource that I recommend to all my running friends.

  3. VicunaLlamaAlpaca

    The ketogenic diet was great for me when I was sedentary and wanted to lose weight. In 2012 I lost around 45 pounds (roughly 195 down to 150) over 7 months, and kept it off eating similarly for another 16 or so months.
    In January 2014 I took up running, and I had similar defects in my running as you noted. I could run and generally exercise fine, but any attempt at a race pace or tempo run was disastrous. After two years of Keto, I upped my carb intake. It was like magic to my running and cardiovascular performance when stressed to higher heart rates.
    I am still probably well below than the Standard American Diet, but I wouldn't even call it Low Carb anymore.

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