When he set the age group record in Kona, Dan Plews consumed only 50 gm of carbs per hour on the bike… and just 40 gm of carbohydrates during the entire marathon!
How was this possible? He was “fat adapted” and supplemented his metabolism of carbohydrates with a steady burn of endogenous fats.
As long-distance triathletes, it’s critical that we preserve glycogen for as long as possible to maintain energy and avoid hitting the wall deep into the race.
Ingesting carbs through bars, drinks and gels throughout a race is a popular strategy for preserving glycogen. However many of us have discovered the debilitating stomach problems caused by consuming too much; we can only absorb, process and utilize a limited amount of carbs during exercise before overwhelming our GI systems.
As demonstrated by Dr. Dan Plews, there’s convincing evidence that, by training the body to be more efficient at metabolizing endogenous fats through a lower carbohydrate diet, we can increase our efficient use of fat during exercise. This preserves glycogen and reduces our dependence on carbs, helping to prevent the stomach distress that derails so many races.