Can you run on fat?

Conventional wisdom advises us to carb load before we train. We know it pumps up glycogen stores, which means quick access to quick energy to power those runs. But have you considered running on fat? Carbs get results It’s true that carbohydrates are the macro of choice for runners. Carbs have been known to be the body’s primary source of fuel, and most nutritional advice reflects that (imagine the food pyramid with that large base of carb heavy pasta, rice and bread). Because the glycogen in the muscles is so easy for the body to access, it’s a fantastic way to boost performance, especially in competitions that rely on speed or quick bursts of explosive energy. Fat goes the distance If you swap to a primarily fat and protein based diet, you’re sure to experience some differences in performance. Reducing the amount of carbs will teach the body to reach for the other energy resource in the body – fat – over the glycogen. If you’re an endurance runner or a trail runner, you may find your times improving while running on fat. That’s because long distance running is not about short bursts but settling in for endurance, and fat stores are perfectly designed to support endurance activities. There’s also usually more fat on a body than total glycogen stores. A person can store around 15g/kg of glycogen. If you take a 70kg runner, they can store around 1.05kg of glycogen. It’s certainly not enough to carry them through a long trek or even a half marathon. Running with fat stores is far more likely to support the longer distances. Fat is more efficient, too A distance runner often needs to pack their own sustenance for the trail, especially if it’s remote. Lighter loads make for easier races. Consider that fat contains 9 calories/gram, compared to carbs at 4 calories/gram. You get more energetic bang for your buck by running on fat rather than carbs. Is this definitive? Not yet. There are studies happening all the time. Scientists are constantly exploring the best ways to get the most out of runners. The best way to test this is to experiment on yourself. Invest a few weeks on a lower carbohydrate intake with higher fat and protein. See what happens.   About Enertor Advanced Technology InsolesEnertor insoles are designed to prevent a number of common running injuries and provide more comfort. Designed by leading podiatrists to reduce your risk of injury, the unique design features support your foot throughout training. Enertor insoles are enhanced by D3O impact protection technology, which means they can provide more shock absorption than any other insole. Our expertise, combined with the patented D3O shock absorption technology, enables Enertor to deliver the most advanced injury prevention insoles on the market today. Enertor insoles are available to buy from our online shop . Whilst Enertor has over 18 years Orthotics experience, our blog content is provided for informational purposes only and it is not a substitute for your own doctor’s medical advice. Enertor advises anyone with an injury to seek their own medical advice – and do not make any health or medical related decisions based solely on information found on this site.