When writing about any subject long enough, you start writing about weird stuff just to have something new to say. This is post #1157 about running here, and I haven't resorted to reviewing shoes or showing pictures of vacations [cough cough, like every other blog], but I have veered off course a bit.
There's a weird fascination with food among runners and the latest craze is eating low-carb (defined as anything less than what one ate last week). The way these things work is that a successful runner gets interviewed and there's nothing new for them to say [I trained really hard and was a little lucky], but they mention something about their diet and voila! there's something to write about. Then another says the same thing and it's a trend.
Runner A runs 140 miles per week and eats a low carb diet. Runner B runs 130 miles per week and eats a low carb diet. Average Runner hears about this and says, "Well, I can't run that much, but I can change what I eat. That's the way to be a better runner!"
If you run 10 miles fourteen times per week, your muscles are always being depleted of glycogen and you burn a greater per centage of fat to sugar because of it. If you're doing that and eating a high carb diet, your body also becomes better at storing sugar at the same time. If you're eating a low carb diet, your body doesn't have any sugar to store, so you burn a slightly greater amount of fat than you do on a high carb diet - the difference is generally small.
Now, if you're only running 10 miles three times per week and you switch from eating 60% carbs to 40% carbs, it does absolutely nothing physiologically. If you dropped to eating 5-10% carbs, your body will indeed burn a slightly higher ratio of fat to sugar than it did before, but it will mean absolutely nothing to your racing ability.
What you eat might account for the last 5% of improvement and what shoes you wear might be the last 0.5%, but training accounts for the rest of it.
Go out and f#$%& run!
I'm really talented at squeezing out the last couple per centage points out of runners, getting someone whose run a half dozen marathons in 3:05-3:10 to finally break the 3:00 barrier, but that's really just the frosting on the cake. You have to do all the work necessary to get to 3:10 to begin with. What you eat won't get you from 4:00 to 3:10.
Stop reading this and do your workouts!!!!
5 days ago