Mike McKnight Discusses Going the Distance as a Low-Carb Ultra Endurance Runner


What if you were given a second chance to push your body to the limits of its capability? Today we discuss Mike McKnight’s running journey and what led him to become the low-carb runner. 


At 22 years old, Mike broke his back (and barely escaped paralysis) in a skiing accident and was told he’d be bedridden for up to a year.  Three weeks later, he was out pounding the pavement and actually ran a 10k race six weeks after surgery. Since then, he has dedicated his life to putting in the miles on trails in Arizona, Colorado, etc. When he started running eight years ago, he followed a typical standard American diet, which included carb-loading prior to races.  When he noticed how he was fueling his body affected his performance, he switched to a low-carb approach and has been killing it ever since.  His next race is the Cocodona 250, and we can’t wait to see him crush those miles. 


What we discuss in this episode:


  • Mike’s transition to a low-carb lifestyle and the reasoning behind it (1:40)
  • His atypical introduction to running at 21 years old (4:30)
  • How a serious back injury and life-change led to embracing the ultra-runner lifestyle (7:03)
  • His gratitude for healing and how it has enhanced his love of running (9:15)
  • The embracing nature of the ultra-running community while still remaining competitive (11:06)
  • Knowing and working within your body’s limitations to play to your strengths and remaining competitive while avoiding injury (16:40)
  • Mike’s quest to achieve the fastest known time on the 500 mile Colorado Trail and what it took to accomplish that (19:02)
  • His training schedule and how he prepares for ultra-endurance races (20:41)
  • Running technique and shoes and how the various modifications can affect your feet and joints (24:08)
  • Mitigating the potential risk for injury when you’re constantly putting your body through such stress (28:54)
  • His strategic keto approach to training and how his nutrition will vary depending on his training and race schedule (33:21)
  • How he navigates sleep deprivation during a major endurance race (38:38)
  • The benefits of cold therapy for recovery (43:12)
  • His nutrition during longer races and how he switches to more of a ketogenic approach during those distances (50:37)
  • Handling naysayers and toxicity from those who don’t understand your goals and approach (53:42)


You can pace Mike here:




Written By

Robert Sikes

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