My story starts with a Christmas gift of a book called Primal Endurance, given to me by my best friend, a bodybuilder and physical therapist.
I chewed my way through the book and was intrigued by the process and science behind it. As I read on, I felt like I was reading a transcript of my training season for the 2015 Richmond Marathon (think injury, illness, burnout). Constantly training as hard and often as I could all summer long left me fatter and hungrier than ever and with a lower back injury weeks before the race. I completed the marathon but hit my wall at mile 18 and had to recover and run/walk most of the subsequent miles. I muscled my way through it rather than being at peak performance.
Fast forward to 2016! A generous aerobic base building phase, serious diet overhaul (no grains, limited sugar, and no industrial oils), and a whole new training mindset. I was after higher highs and lower lows, which meant more sprinting and no more blended HIIT workouts that last too long and are too stressful.
I inked the page on two full marathons, 6 weeks apart, and set to work. I ran every single training run using the Maffetone 180-age formula, keeping my HR at 147 bpm. Since I was training in South Georgia and Virginia, the heat really took a toll on me and I had to slow way down to maintain my HR. It was very hard to run so slow, but I worked to keep myself mentally engaged.
My training progressed well. I began to lose body fat while maintaining lean mass, thus improving my power to weight ratio. All of this happened while eating more fats than I’ve ever eaten in the past. Since I was feeling great, I decided to add in a MSP workout every week along with a sprint session on the track.
The final test came at the “Reston Perfect 10 Miler,” just two weeks before my A race, the Chicago Marathon. Come to find out, my patience had paid off, and the heat had masked the full potential of the fitness I had built. I was able to burn up the 10-mile course in just 1:15! That’s 30 seconds per mile faster than I planned to run in Chicago! Suffice to say, I’m ready to go.
The restful MAF training and primal-aligned eating habits have supercharged my aerobic system and will allow me to lay it all out there in Chicago! I’ll take the start line fully rested, with my brain ready to compete since it won’t have to compete with my muscles for whatever sugar is left in my blood at mile 21.
Thanks to Brad Kearns and Mark Sisson and the entire Primal Blueprint Publishing team!