About this time last year I started to experiment with the maffetone method. That is running to a heartrate of (180 – age) and eating a diet with low carbs and low refined foods. The diet also emphasises a low stress lifestyle which is somewhat harder to achieve.
I found that I lost 10lb in weight and 4% body fat, and I was able to run fairly consistently through the year, averaging a mile a day.
Over the last couple of months though it’s all gone awry.
I blame my sons birthday and the quest to make the perfect ginger cake. In the month of March I made about 4 or 5 ginger cakes trying to get it just right and probably ate most of them. Since then the floodgates have opened and I have eaten quite a bit of cake and bread. Not huge amounts, but sometimes having a bagel for breakfast, pasta for dinner or a piece of cake when out for coffee with friends. And I have piled the weight back on, 5lb in 2 months.
Now that I’m back on the carbs, I’m finding it hard to drop them again.
I also had a dip in the running, but I’m picking that up again now. Ive stopped looking at my HRM and started just running as I feel.
I ‘m enjoying the running more.
I don’t think that my running improved with MAF. I used to run at a 12min/mile pace, not fast by any account, but with MAF to keep my HR down it was about 15-16mins per mile. I suspect that I really needed to do more miles to get the benefit and run faster at that HR but although I tried, I struggled to fit in more than 4hrs per week.
Now I’m back to running by feel, I can’t do a 12min mile, not even downhill! Maffetone says that running at tempo, which is what most people do naturally left to run to feel, releases cortisol and gives you carbohydrate cravings as you aren’t fat burning when you run.
So what to do now?
So far I’m enjoying my early morning runs. It does seem to be the best way to fit it into the day, and just 30minutes every morning has doubled my weekly mileage.
Can I and will I run off the weight gain? I know, because I read a lot that the evidence suggests running alone will not help to lose weight, it has to be combined with diet.
Will the low carb diet work along side running to feel? will the running make me hungry, craving carbs, or will the low carb diet mean that I don’t have the energy/ motivation to run?
one way to find out is to give it a try. So for this week only, low carb, run to feel, 30 minutes every morning.
FYI my version of low carb includes lots of veggies, except potatoes, so it isn’t an unhealthy ‘packed with saturated fats and meat’ diet. Though I do get through a lot of cheese and Greek yoghurt!