Nutrition Experiences

Okay so I have been speaking to a few people and reading some stuff on the internet but would like to gather a bit more information on a few topics, listed below.

1) Training in a carb depleted state. I'm not talking about a low carbo diet, but more specifically low carb loading for certain sessions. I.e. if running long on saturday morning having a carb light dinner on friday and running off of no breakfast, or running twice a day with no carbos in between. Has any been trying this training, any advice on pros / cons or methods to use?

2) I've been reading a little of l-caritine as a supplement to help burning fat, not that I need to lose any fat right now, but I understand this can encourage the use of fat as a energy system? Anyone using this supplementa, any benefits (even if only a placebo effect). I would be interested in hearing experiences.

3) Same again but for use of creatine.

A little more background, I'm looking at these supplements and training methods to help with marathon plus distance races.

All experiences of the above greatly received thanks.


  • -errrm - find sausage rolls do it for me image.
  • you're wasting your time considering creatine for distance running
  • 2 and 3 - a complete waste of time and money.

    1 - why would you want to?  It's likely to hinder your running ability.

  • I expected a few of these responses, but thanks very helpful.

    I think the idea behind the carb depleted state running is as to train your bodies ability to use fat as a source of energy (at least in a greater proportion than it currently does), therefore in a race there is a lower probability of falling apart when you would usually 'hit the wall'. These training sessions are apparently not the most enjoyable experiences.

    All three methods are used by a friend (who runs a 3h10 marathon, in the ironman) so on that basis I don't think they are a total waste of time / money. I was just intrigued to see if any 'pure' runners are also doing similiar things, and try and get a bit more statistical significance in my sample of one.
  • No idea if you call it "carb-depleted state" but I have to do all my running very early in the mornings, with no time for breakfast.  I eat sensibly beforehand, have a lot of my own fruit and vegetable juices in addition to a balanced diet and always go out on "empty".  I take water and Shot Bloks with me and manage to get through 20m on that.  Hasn't killed me yet, but I wouldn't dream of wasting money on that stuff.
  • Hi UG,

     1. I would have thought that to maximise your running performance you should train fully loaded. As you're unlikely to reach your full potential anyway because we simply don't run enough (reference Daniels)  I'd say that season on season improvements should help more than training like this. Considering your age as well you've got plenty of years to train fully loaded then the options there to train depleted if you hit a plateau in a few years. Personally I think you'll get a larger proportion of improvement through training progression rather than training in this way.

    2. In my experience L-Caritine is normally advertised as a weight loss supplement, but correct me if I'm wrong, I heard it is a banned substance in Canada (for what reason I'm not too sure). I do know that the dosage within most drinks available are nowhere near enough to have an effect. What would you want to take this for anyway? Caffiene does the same as well as enhancing endurance. Have some Red Bull image

    3. I'm sure you know what creatine is, but how is it relevant to endurance running. Sprints maybe, but even then not a priority, and in my view unless you're going through a power/strength phase of conditioning to support your running I'd say it's no productive use. Also has been linked to cramps if not consumed with quite a bit of water.

     You're improving year on year so just stay with it, eat well, sleep well and train responsibly.

  • ALD, thanks for the well though out response. All noted.

    From what I've read on creatine as a supplement, all though not solidly agreed from a variety of sources is that it can benefit the recovery of higher intensity sessions, in terms of the time to recoery during and after the session. This may allow harder interval work and therefore a faster progression in the improvement of say my 'crusing speed'. I believe there is the risk of water retention in using said products and so need to find out more details on using it in cycles.

    Not read about L caritine and being banned in Canada. Will have a look at that, thanks.
  • My thoughts are that creatine is mainly used to replenish the creatine phosphate energy system which expires in well under a minute, so how relevant is that to the type of intervals you'll be doing? It could possibly help with 400m reps @ mile pace etc, but bicarbonate is a well known hydrogen buffer for middle distance running which is probably better in this case. Water retention is the main reason people feel "bulkier" when taking creating, gives a false impression of extra muscle mass to weight lifters (which probably acts as a placebo to give them the break through that they'll attribute to creatine).
  • Yes, I read this could be helpful in reps up to 1km. Thank you for this explanation (where did you learn this stuff?). If it helpful for 1min effortsn why not helpful in circa 3min efforts? I assume at an intensity of training for 3 min efforts the creatine phospate energy system is not utilised as in the 1min intensity efforts? Maybe I need to speak to matey about his arguments for taking these.
  • KeirKeir ✭✭✭

    Hi UGreg.

    Below are my opinions, but I am sure there are some scientific errors and different opinions.

    1. I did a 20 mile run this morning on normal diet day before and just bowel of museli and a coffee this morning. No water and no carbs / gels on the run. Running without water isn't a good thing generally, but I used to occassionally when cycling to train me mentally if I missed a few bottle hand ups in a race.

    The running without carbs thing is being done by a few sub 3 guys in training, as you describe (no breakfast).  Again in cycling I would do this to improve fat burning after the normal 2 hours exercise limit. I wouldn't try to 'bonk' or blow up but just get the the light headed feeling a bit empty type of state. I was starting to feel that today as well and as soon as I got home I cramed down a gel, 1 ltr of energy drink and then a recovery shake. Refueling straight after is key to recovery.

    Also, don't try to combine energy depletion with speed or M paced intervals at the end of the long run. Your form can go a bit when carb depleated and injuries more likely if you push it.

    I have also heard that having a coffee in the morning rather than carbs before this session helps to kick start the metabalism and therefore increases fat burning earlier on.

    McMillian Running has some more info on carb depletion.2. l-caritine I know nothing about

    3. Creatine I used a bit when cycle racing. Meant to improve sprint ability at during long races. Good to aid recovery from those bursts you need in bike races. No help to running really. Also can lead to you gaining weight by retaining more water over time.

    They promote this on the IM talk website and sounds interesting, but I havent tried it myself.

  • CP system is used in anaerobic activity, and the reps you do up to 3mins are likely to be more challenging to the aerobic systems. True your muscles storage capacity of creatine can be increased (I think we only store around 15% or so of our our actual capacity) but again it probably won't be used in these type of reps. There's probably better things to use if you're looking for a recovery aid.  Be interesting to see what his reason is. I did an MSc in exercise physiology a few years ago and remember it included a bit on sport nutrition for that, maybe my knowledge is outdated though image
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