Burning Runner: The Paleo-Zone 2-Week Challenge

T.J. discusses the importance of diet in relation to his new CrossFit Endurance training approach.

T.J. discusses the importance of diet in relation to his new CrossFit Endurance training approach.

Written by: T.J. Murphy

In discussing the diet that mixes best with the Crossfit Endurance approach to training, the Paleo diet is the one that founder Brian MacKenzie advises—summed up as lean meats, fish, lots of vegetables, some fruit, nuts and no sugar. A few days ago, talking to Brian about the proper CFE diet, I mentioned the idea of combining the Paleo diet with the measuring, weighing and timing principles of the Zone diet and he suggested I do the measuring deal for a one or two week period. We plan to talk a bit more about specifics but I’ve committed to a two-week period of measuring every food and beverage I consume between April 1 and April 13.

The idea is (from what I understand) to get a proper perspective on proportion—proper timing of meals, plus eating smaller, frequent meals with a balance of protein, fat and carbs  is the goal—giving the pancreas a break from high-carb intakes that aren’t balanced out by protein. It’s all new territory for me to explore and as I follow the 2-week challenge I’ll report on what I learn.

So I bought a digital food scale and made sure my measuring cups are in order. The next two weeks is a good time frame because I don’t travel again until April 14, which is when I leave for the Boston Marathon. I intend to get some interviews published during this phase with the likes of MacKenzie, and diet book authors Robb Wolf and Barry Sears.

One of the things I’ve learned firsthand this past year is that nutrition plays an even more important role than I’d thought—in maintaining wellness and elevating performance. This should be a fun project to report on.


T.J. Murphy is the Editorial Director of Competitor Magazine. A 2:38 marathoner and five-time Ironman finisher, he is the former editorial director of Triathlete Magazine and Inside Triathlon. His writing has also appeared in Outside Magazine and Runner’s World.