Carbohydrate cycling with Viktoria Brown

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    Viktoria Brown hasn’t been within the ultrarunning scene for lengthy, however the 46-year-old from Whitby, Ont. has already broken three ultrarunning records since she began doing ultras in Sept. 2020. Most lately, she set the Canadian W45 100-mile document, posting a time of 15:24:23 at a 24-hour race in North Carolina. She can also be the founder and CEO of Maintain the Carbs, a line of low-carbohydrate, keto meals merchandise. We caught up with Brown to speak about diet, how she fuels her coaching, and the place carbohydrates do (and don’t) match into her food regimen.

    Photograph: Instagram/viktoriabrownathlete

    RELATED: Viktoria Brown wins That Dam Hill outright, sets course and Canadian soil 24-hour record

    It might appear counterintuitive that an ultrarunner owns a low-carb meals firm, however Brown is fast to make clear that she does, in reality, eat carbohydrates. When requested how she fuels for her coaching and for these lengthy races, she explains that the way in which she eats throughout coaching is completely different from how she eats for races. 

    “For coaching, I completely do love to make use of the Maintain The Carbs merchandise,” she explains. “The reasoning behind it’s that for these extraordinarily lengthy occasions, you’ll want your fats shops, so going low-carb in coaching teaches my physique to faucet into these fats shops far more effectively.”

    Brown explains that she periodizes her diet to coincide with the periodization of her training. Throughout sure coaching phases, she follows a low-carb food regimen, however for sure exercises or throughout different phases she eats a high-carb food regimen. Doing so, she says, teaches her physique use each fats and carbohydrates effectively to gasoline her exercise, and he or she provides that there’s analysis to assist each diet methods.

    “I wish to reap the benefits of each these methods (fats and carbohydrate metabolism),” she explains, “as a result of I feel that provides the very best end in a race state of affairs.”

    On race day, nonetheless, carbs are positively on the menu. Brown says it’s because she doesn’t must top-up her fats shops throughout a race, since she already has a plentiful provide, however her physique will run by way of her carbohydrate shops far more rapidly. Since she has skilled her physique to make use of each effectively, she feels she is ready to get probably the most out of each methods.

    Brown doesn’t sugar-coat the effect a low-carb diet has on her performance, nonetheless. She readily admits that when she’s consuming little to no carbohydrates, she is far slower than she usually can be. Because of this, she solely follows a low-carb food regimen when it is sensible along with her coaching, akin to through the base section, when she isn’t doing any laborious exercises, or throughout her taper, when she’s chopping again considerably on mileage. She provides that going low-carb through the taper reminds her physique use fats effectively proper earlier than the race.

    “I discover that it’s crucial earlier than a race through the taper interval that I do the high-fat, low-carb food regimen,” says Brown. “And sure, the paces are going to drop, however that’s high quality.”

    To do that, Brown begins consuming low-carb about two weeks earlier than her race. Three days earlier than race day, she switches to a high-carb food regimen to load up for the race. She emphasizes that she’s not rising or reducing her total calorie or meals consumption, solely altering the macronutrient (carbohydrate, fats and protein) ratios. Throughout a race, Brown says she depends predominantly on liquid nutrition, as a result of, for probably the most half, that’s all her physique is ready to deal with. Throughout any race over 30 hours, nonetheless, she is going to start to complement with stable meals.

    Brown’s recommendation to runners

    For any runner who is considering utilizing carb biking of their coaching, Brown’s greatest piece of recommendation is to assume it by way of rigorously. The kind of fuelling you select, she explains, will change the results of your exercises, so you want to match your fuelling strategy along with your coaching. Moreover, she admits that following this sort of diet protocol is just not straightforward, so she solely follows it when she’s making ready for vital races.

    “Know what you’re doing, lookup the science behind it, and be sure to’re doing what’s supported by science and never simply what you assume is true,” says Brown, “not simply asking round, however really wanting on the analysis.”

    Lastly, she says that in case you have a coach, ensure that they know what you’re doing to allow them to modify your coaching accordingly. That approach, they gained’t offer you speedwork once you’re in a low-carb diet section, which might be a waste of your time.

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