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Half Marathon Training on a Paleo Diet: Part 6

In my previous post I talked about how horrendous my very last long run of my half marathon training was, why I went back to martial arts (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) to become ‘fighting fit’, and I gave you a swift review of the Suunto Ambit3 Run GPS watch with HR strap and Pip and Nut’s delicious Coconut Almond Butter Squeeze Packs.

This fortnight I’ll be talking about pre-race nerves, my 100 rep kettlebell challenge I’ve set myself, how Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is increasing my stamina, the new UV Headband BUFF, and why the TRIBE subscription packs are the best natural, Paleo-friendly, and nutrient rich snacks currently available to the UK running community.

I’ll be running the Leeds Half Marathon on Sunday, May 8th, in order to raise money for Mind – the mental health charity. If you’d like to donate just text GOSA60 £1 (or an amount of your choice) to 70070, or alternatively click here to donate online. All donations will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

The Training

The past 2 weeks have been both exciting and draining – going back to throwing big sweaty men around on the mats has been an exhilerating and uplifting experience but sadly it has also taken away my enthusiasm and focus from running. I adore running but mainly when it is under my own terms, heck I enjoy everything that way – I mean who doesn’t?! Running a dog (built for pulling sleds) around a busy park full of doggy distractions in sweltering hot weather, over a grueling 12 miles is not at all something I adore.

What I adore about running is the freedom, the freedom of being able to run whenever and wherever you want, the freedom of being outdoors and away from the pressures of modern day life, the freedom of inhaling fresh air, leaping over any natural obstacles that might fall into my path, and the freedom to just be myself. So although I have been consumed by the restrictions of a rigid training plan (that I inevitably strayed away from) I am excited to be able to have that freedom I utterly adore back, tomorrow on race day.

But with excitement comes pre-race nerves. I woke up this morning with a ridiculously sore throat and runny nose and the temperature on Sunday is set to be 24°C. It’s safe to say that I’m slightly concerned I might collapse or just get a time which is far worse than last year’s, and to be honest I think it’s the latter that is scaring me the most. I know most people would say not to run when ill but I’m following the neck or above rule – meaning any symptoms at the neck or above are safe to run with but if any below the neck occur, I won’t be running. Either way I’m telling myself that completing the race will be the easy part – the hardest part will be pushing my training into the realms of the dreaded marathon!

I’ve really been enjoying my time back at BJJ (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) and I am already feeling a difference in my stamina and strength every time that I roll. BJJ is neither an anaerobic nor aerobic sport but rather a mixture of the two, using both the glycolytic and oxidative energy systems. In Layman’s terms this simply means that it is a combination of moderate power and low power intensities, making it a truly mixed sport. You could be an athlete that runs only long distances or a power lifter or sprinter who excels in your discipline, but spend 5 minutes rolling and by the end you’ll be an exhausted, sweaty and breathless mess.  This explains why overall I am starting to feel a difference in my fitness levels, just after 2 to 3, 5 minute rounds of rolling twice a week.

My time at BJJ has also been an incentive to pick up on my strength and conditioning training at home. As a result I have opted to use my largest kettlebell (28kg) every day, and do short bursts of exercise, as long as I always hit 100 reps a day. For now to make it simple I’ve just gone for 50 deadlifts and 50 Russian swings, and throughout the day I simply pick up my bell and do 10 reps before carrying on with my daily activities. Because my day is so busy it’s been an easy way to get some exercise in and I’ve not found it hard to complete. Deadlifts are a runner’s best friend and so are Russian swings as they help to stabilise the core and strengthen various leg muscles, and of course increase my endurance.

Enough gabbling though, here’s what this fortnight’s training has looked like:

  • Mon 25th April – 1 hour BJJ; basic drills and foundation work, plus 30 minutes rolling.
  • Tue 26th April – 6.01 miles in 1:12:10, making it a 12:01 min/mi pace.
  • Weds 27th April – 1 hour BJJ; basic drills and foundation work, plus 30 minutes rolling.
  • Sat 28th April – 30 mins yoga, mainly concentrating on forearm poses.
  • Sun 29th April – Kettlebells and calisthenics – 5 sets of; 5 x 20kg clean and press, 5 x 16kg snatch, and 10 x press ups.
  • Mon 2nd May – 40 mins easy run –  3.58 miles, meaning an 11:14 min/mi pace.
  • Tue 3rd May – 1 hour BJJ; basic drills and foundation work, plus 15 minutes rolling.
  • Wed 4th May – 100 Kettlebell reps (50 x 28kg deadlifts, 50 x 28kg Russian swings), 1 hour BJJ; basic drills and foundation work, plus 30 minutes rolling.
  • Thu 5th May – 100 Kettlebell reps (50 x 28kg deadlifts, 50 x 28kg Russian swings)
  • Fri 6th May – 100 Kettlebell reps (50 x 28kg deadlifts, 50 x 28kg Russian swings)
  • Sat 7th May – 100 Kettlebell reps (50 x 28kg deadlifts, 50 x 28kg Russian swings)

The Gear


BUFF UV Headband, RRP £14.00

The BUFF UV Headband is made with a stretchy 100% Coolmax Extreme Fabric that has been bonded in such a way that it is virtually seamless, giving it an innovative headband shape that fits perfectly and causes minimum friction against the hair and skin. The Coolmax fabric allows the headband to absorb perspiration and the breathability is fantastic. BUFF will never lose its elasticity either.

I found the UV BUFF Headband perfect in both hot and cold weather, it mopped up my sweat, didn’t slip off my head at any point, was incredibly light (only 16g), and I’ll be honest – it looks super cute too. The one thing that I love the most however, is the fact that it has been treated with Polygiene. This means that you can wear it a few times before having to machine wash it. If you’re a frequent runner you’ll know how frustrating it is having to throw your running gear into the machine after every run. I opted for the ‘Orm’ design – a sort of funky, psychadelic 70s print but there are so many different designs available and some even have reflective stripes added for night time use.

If you’re familiar with BUFF then you’ll be aware that their products always have multiple functionality – the UV Headband can be worn as a headband or as a hair band to secure your pony tail too. When you don’t want to wear it you can simply wrap it around your wrist a few times until needed, but it is a little tight.

The BUFF UV Headband is the perfect addition to any fitness enthusiast’s wardrobe but also doubles up as a fab piece of summer casual wear too. You can buy yours direct from BUFF at £14.00. Stay tuned for my BUFF Wear Giveaway!

The Fuel

Last time I spoke about how I was upping my starchy carbohydrate intake and struggling to stomach the sweet potato overload due to a suspected blood sugar spike. So now I have been playing around with eating white rice, glass noodles, cassava fries, and making flat breads from sweet potato flour. It’s been a lot of fun and I’ve discovered that my body seems to be tolerating white rice pretty well – so I might well treat myself to a post race sushi binge! Today is going to be a mammoth carb loading day, I’m a little concerned because the previous two days I haven’t been eating as many carbs as I should be for pre-race carb loading, purely because of the heat reducing my appetite. I’m also really working on my hydration today (especially as I’m ill), and tomorrow morning I will be downing a glass of Himalayan pink salt dissolved in water first thing to help reduce fatigue and increase my hydration. I’ll also be making my race hydration drink which I’ll talk about next Saturday.

I’ve been continuing to drink  Vivo Life’s PERFORM (in Madagascan Vanilla) 90 minutes before my runs, workouts, or BJJ classes, and then again within 30 minutes of arriving back home. It’s basically a raw plant protein with bio-fermented BCAA’s and turmeric extract which help to optimise recovery and increase digestive enzymes for faster absorption. It has a much smoother texture than other plant based proteins and won’t feel too heavy on your gut like whey does (you all know what I’m talking about).


But what I’m really excited to talk about is TRIBE!

TRIBE was founded by 3 Londoner’s who decided to run 39 marathons in 30 days across 9 countries in eastern Europe to help raise money to fight the battle against child trafficking. After this experience they realised just how important whole and unrefined, natural nutrition was for running, and set up TRIBE, a natural snack subscription service to help other runners hit their goals using sustainable and wholesome energy sources. They also host regular running workshops across the UK and offer online training plans too.

I was lucky enough to be sent out a TRIBE pack to sample and help to push me through my training and I was blown away. My box contained 5 different snacks; Cacao & Almond Bar, Sour Cherry & Buckwheat Bar, Cape Trail Mix: Goldenberry & Pecan, Bogoya Banana Bar, and Cacao & Coconut Mineral-Boosting Seed Mix.

All of the snacks are sulphite and refined sugar free and you can opt for gluten-free, dairy-free, or vegan snacks too. Although my pack was gluten-free it wasn’t 100% Paleo due to one of my energy bars containing gluten-free oats and another buckwheat flakes but for me this wasn’t much of a problem.

So far I have tried out the Cacao & Almond Bar, an energy bar with 20g of carbohydrates for optimal energy and organic cacao, packed with antioxidants to help prevent oxidative stress. It tasted absolutely gorgeous – just a really pleasant, chocolaty date bar with the crunch of delectable cacao nibs. It gave me a good energy boost that was long lasting. It’s made from all natural ingredients too; Dates, Almonds, Cashew Nuts, Cacao Nibs, Gluten Free Oats, Cocoa Powder, Chia Seeds, Vanilla Powder, Cornish Sea Salt, and Almond Oil.

The 2nd snack I tried was the Cacao & Coconut Mineral-Boosting Seed Mix, purely because I bloody love chocolate. It’s a lovely mixture of Sunflower Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Desiccated Coconut, Date Syrup, Cacao Butter, and Cacao Powder and was not too sweet at all. Again it’s high in antioxidants and vitamin E. It’s supposed to be sprinkled over porridge or yogurt but I just devoured it straight for a delicious but nutritious boost.

I’m saving the other 3 snacks for race day so come back next Saturday and I’ll tell you what I thought.

All of the snacks are tailored to meet specific needs such as; energy, endurance, recovery, and even keeping minerals topped up for the next day’s run. There are 3 different plans to choose from which cater to the needs of those running 5K to ultra marathons or even obstacle courses. The subscriptions are available weekly, fortnightly, or monthly and range from £6.50 to £8.00 per pack. Alternatively bulk packs are available from the Tribe Store, as well as some awesome TRIBE apparel.

To pick up your own TRIBE pack click here to find the right plan for you!

The Pampering

I have to say that not much pampering has been going on over the past fortnight as my running training has tapered off gearing up to the race but I have continued to regularly use my Badger Organic Peppermint & Tea Tree Foot Balm to help to keep my feet moisturised and Athlete’s Foot free, and of course I’m still loving my Green People’s Quinoa & Prebiotics Deodorant and Shower Gel. I’m very much sure that after tomorrow I’ll be slathering myself in magnesium spray, soaking in Epsom salts, and foam rolling like there’s no tomorrow!

So that’s it for this fortnight, don’t forget that I’ll also be raising money for Mind – the mental health charity. If you’d like to donate just text GOSA60 £1 (or whatever amount you’d like) to 70070, alternatively click the button below. Thanks guys <3

JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

Come back next Saturday to find out how race day went! Have you fueled a half marathon Paleo? How did you find it? I’d love to hear from you so why not share your experience below.

Vivo Life

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