LCHF & Ultra Running

 

As a start-up, you're continually told by every consultant and his dog to; "identify your key consumer" and learn everything about them so that you can match your product with their demands. However, sometimes you'll be surprised what your product means to whom. Turns out our customers, love eating fat and running a long way.

Ben Scott (@therunningmanx) is one such dude. An early adopter of Fori bars, Ben is now our go-to-guy as we aim to push our running, longer, deeper and darker. Here's Ben's story about how a Low Carbohydrate High Fat (#LCHF) diet drastically improved his ability to run a very long, long, way.

I fell into ultras accidentally really. The first one was supposed to be a 20 mile training race prior to my first marathon but the thought of doing the 40 mile route got the better of me.  Once I’d experienced the joy and satisfaction of finishing that I was hooked.  And it is a bit like a drug, 40 miles became 56, then 85, then 24hours, then 184miles…….. 

I used to be that carb loading, wall hitting athlete who sucked down gallons of Lucozade (other sugar filled options are available) to get to the end of a race. In fact I ran the IoM Mountain Ultra (50km fell race) and used a Camelback full of Lucozade! I got the shakes after about two hours. The same happened again in March this year, I did the coastal path of the Isle of Man, with a mate, and on one of the training runs for that (28 miles) I took a couple of bottles of Lucozade. 16 Miles in I had the same thing: calorie crisis, shakes and the desperate need to fuel up. 

Something had to change

It was Dean Karnazes who got me on the path to LCHF.  I read in his book that he had given up refined sugar, decided to do that, found the book “Fat Chance: The Bitter Truth About Sugar” by Robert Lustig, increased my fat intake, found Tim Noakes et al on Twitter and the rest is history. 

In April, I did the Keilder 100km trail race I stayed off the carbs and finished 2nd in a time that would have beaten last year’s winner. It was highly amusing picking the pasta out of the chicken sauce at the pre-race carb-fest the night before! 

The biggest difference I have noticed with going LCHF is that I am far, far less hungry.  I used to eat a huge bowl of pasta or rice and within 30 minutes be in the fridge looking for more food.  Now I can go far longer between meals and snack a fraction of the amount. 

I’m no expert on the biochemistry behind inflammation etc. However, I do think that your body is going to appreciate a natural diet far more than a load of chemicals out of a box. My initial argument for pork scratchings, before I got into the LCHF thing, was that pork fat is almost identical to human fat and given that we are able to break our own fat down to use as energy it should follow that we should be able to break pork fat down easily too. Far more easily than some bright orange or blue food dye that makes your energy drink look…….err…..appetising?

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If I was ever in doubt of this fat adaptation business, which I wasn’t, I have comprehensively put all doubts to bed over the past six months. I'm now running faster, with less effort and the sight of energy gel fuelled runners coming into view and disappearing behind me is all the evidence I need.

The people I get most of my information from are all on Twitter. They are: