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Ultrarunning and Fueling 'Paleo'

I completed the Whole30 Program in March 0f 2013. Basically it meant eating some good fats, a whole lot of vegetables of all kinds, meat/fish/poultry and a little fruit. It's delicious and satisfying, and I felt so incredible, I've continued to eat a Paleo diet.

After years of relying on gels, blocks and sugary food and drinks to fuel my long runs, I had to start from square one and work through a lot of trial and error, detailed in this post

In seeking answers I discovered there were other ultrarunners who were eating similarly and talking about it. Below are some links I hope you'll find helpful.

Heck, even Olympic gold medal triathletes and professional cyclists are jumping on the bandwagon.
Here are a few posts from others who have experimented with Very Low Carb or Ketogenic fueling:

My Experiences: Posts About Running on Paleo/Whole30

Do you eat Paleo, low carb, or simply eschew sugar and processed foods? I'd love to hear about your experiences!


  1. Hi I am new here and was wondering if anybody could advise me on what to fuel myself with for a 24hr run with a 100 miles to complete? I will have plenty of stops to refuel at my table as I will be running on a 400 meter track. All advice welcome.
    Thank you all.

    1. Hello, it depends -- and whatever you use you'll want to train with the same fuel. I use sweet potato, coconut milk and applesauce blend; EPIC bars and VFuel, with a few Nuun tabs for magnesium/calcium. I have also used VESPA with success.

  2. Hi Kirstin,
    We sell a freeze-dried backpacker meal that might work great for the Anonymous post above. We'd be willing to send you a free sample, if you're interested in helping us spread the word to the Paleo community and specifically to Paleo runners, who sometimes need a portable, lightweight, shelf stable Paleo meal. All you need to do is add water and eat from the pouch. Please let me know if you'd like more information.
    Dawn Anderson
    Managing Partner
    Paleo Meals To Go

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  4. I just discovered your blog - great stuff! I thought I would share mine with you because I'm a runner who eats Paleo too. My blog is all about eating real food to fuel running and fitness.


  5. Glad I found you ultrarunnergirl! Starting the Whole30 and training for a marathon; didn't think the two could truly co-exist! Psyched with all the ideas, positive energy and recommendations! This is my first full marathon, but have done Halfs and Half Ironman's (ironmen? Lol) in the past, but never Whole30 or strict paleo.

    What is your take on Perpetuum by Hammer? It is my go to for endurance bike rides of 60 mi+, but have never gotten the opinion of those with a good knowledge of paleo.

    Thank you!

    1. Sorry for the delayed reply! I used Perpetuum successfully for a few races before Paleo, but it suddenly became unpalatable to me and I never tried it again. It's certainly not Paleo first 2 ingredients are maltodextrin (sugar) and soy protein. The amino acids it contains could be helpful, but I'm a Vespa fan. http://www.vespapower.com/

  6. Did your times ever get better once you adjusted to the paleo diet? I know you said that you had some really bad races in the beginning, but have you seen any PR's from going paleo?

    1. I've been sidelined with a hip injury that has been hard to heal from, which happened several months after I went Paleo. I don't believe the two are related. I never had a chance to train hard and test out my speed on Paleo. I do believe dialing in your carbohydrate intake takes time and experimentation, and that you'll need to use some easily digestible form (perhaps gels) for racing at top speed (in shorter distances especially). These days you'll find me hiking, on a bike or lifting weights.

  7. Have you seen any performance improvements since you adjusted to the paleo diet? I know you said you had some bad races before it got better, but are your current PR's from the paleo diet, or from before? Just curious what kind of performance benefit you can get from this :)


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