Tuesday, 19 March 2013

WSER Training and Paleo diet

Its been a while since my last post. However this is not because nothing eventful has happened in the last month or so. Quite the opposite is TRUE actually. I haven't stopped and continue to enjoy my most consistent training period ever. From the 31 December i have maintained my weekly average mileage of 50 miles (49 to be exact but I'm rounded up which is what all runners do ;-) However I'm not simply trying to log the miles at the expense of everything else e.g. Quality. Again the opposite is true. I'm mixing up the long steady trail runs with shorter tasters road efforts. The result two weekends ago was a new Half Marathon PB at Milton Keynes. I smashed by previous 1:27 best effort (Royal Parks) and managed a 1:20.23 :-D to say I was happy with this is an understatement. I simply didn't believe i had that kind of speed so early in the season and I'm training for a trail 100 miler not a marathon however the consistency I'm achieving is the key. The race itself was run on a freezing cold day with snow falling however running in compression tights, club vest and arm warmers i didn't feel the cold at all. I ran by 'feel' and didn't look at my Garmin after the second mile. Only looking at it again in the 12th mile to see i was averaging a 6:06 pace :-0  I couldn't believe it especially as 1:25 was my target time. So a breakthrough race for me and I'm now back to upping the weekend long runs in distance.

This past weekend I enjoyed two back to back 17.5 milers on the Ashridge Boundary Trail starting and finishing at Ivinghoe Beacon. A great trail even despite the rain, mud and gale force winds.

But now to the main point of this post - my new diet. If you've been unfortunate enough to see any photos of me then you may be asking why I have to diet. There's not a lot of me! However this 'diet' is not conventional in the sense that I'm not looking to lose weight (although this is an unintentional side-effect!). I was listening to Talk Ultra podcast which is a really good listen and well worth checking out. Anyway the topic of conversation was the Paleo Diet, also refered to as the caveman diet or primal. I was intrigued. The basic message was that the food pyramid which promotes a high carbohydrate diet is a big fat lie and to compound this at the same time as we are encouraged to eat whole grains, with plenty of pasta, wheat, rice and sugary processed foods, told not to eat high fat foods. Going 'primal' turns this completely on its head and says no to any type of grain, bean, processed sugar etc. There is a lot of science behind the reasoning for such a shift in diet but essentially scoffing carbs prevents your body from burning fats which is an essential component of good health. Shifting to a low carb, high(er) fat diet 'promotes' fat burning which your body is designed to do. FATS are good for you and carbs aren't the good energy source that we have be led to believe for so long. But the prove is in the (paleo) pudding and after a month now of following the 'Primal Blue Print' i can categorically say that i have NEVER felt better both generally, and with increased energy levels, improved performance, and most notably of all my recovery time from hard and long efforts has drastically reduced. I did a lunchtime group interval session the day after the MK half with no fatigue in my legs whatsoever.

So if you are even the slightest been intrigued as to what eating 'primal' is all about then check out www.marksdailyapple.com (the same author as the book - The Primal Blue Print) which i can also highly recommend. And for awesome paleo recipes check out www.paleomg.com and www.primalpalate.com
Both these sites have opened my eyes to the amazingly delicious meals you can prepare. And if you are following me on Facebook you will be no doubt aware that i like to post pics of my recent culinary creations :-)

Next up is the Lakeland recce Easter weekend and then the Fellsman at the end of April. Can't wait!!!


  1. Another paleo convert..Fellsman will be interesting this year when the Stonehouses checkpoint is left with a large vat of untouched pasta.

    Well done on the pb Stu

  2. haha good point Simon!! Yes I'm looking forward to testing the Paleo approach at the Fellsman. I've always like the approach of being self-sufficient anyway so I will have a backpack fall of Paleo treats. I have to say my homemade energy bar is out of this world and soooooo easy to make. recipe as follows:

    Ultra Disco Stu's Primal Energy Bar

    2 cups raw or slightly roasted almonds
    1/2 cup ground flax seeds, chia seeds, or pumpkin seeds
    1/2 cup raisins, currants, dried dates
    1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
    1/2 cup unsalted peanut or almond butter
    1/2 cup melted coconut oil
    2 tsp. vanilla extract
    1/2 tsp. sea salt
    3 Tb. honey
    4 ounces dark chocolate* optional

    Prepare the almonds, flax seeds, dried fruit, and coconut by processing them in the food processor until they are coarsely ground. Add almond butter, salt and mix. In a small saucepan, melt coconut oil over low heat until it becomes liquid. Stir in honey and vanilla extract. Combine the melted coconut oil with the nuts and fruit, working with a few pulses in the food processor until it forms a coarse paste. Spoon the mixture into the 8 x 8 inch baking dish, letting it chill for 1 hour in the refrigerator. Using a small saucepan melt the chocolate over low heat, stirring frequently so that the chocolate does not burn. When melted, spread over the bars and return the baking dish to the refrigerator for an additional 30 minutes, or until the chocolate hardens. Cut into bars, then wrap individual bars in freezer paper, or wax paper. Store in cool, dry area, or freeze. Yields about 12-16 bars.