For the past couple of months I have been on Tim Ferriss’ “Slow Carb Diet” from the book “4-Hour Body”.  To me, this diet and others like it (Paleo) are great diets because they are more about controlling your insulin levels and giving you fuel than calories in, calories out.  While I have been able to stick with it and get through the first couple weeks where I experienced carb withdrawal, my wife struggled with it and was not really able to work the plan.  Last week she asked me if I would be willing to go on weight watchers with her.  I agreed to it but wanted to finish out this past week because I didn’t want all my slow carb food to go to waste.

New Day, New Diet

Today I’m switching to weight watchers.  I’m a little nervous about it because my body has not had to deal with sugar and bad carbs in a while.  I’m also worried about getting addicted to carbs again.  While I do plan on eating with my family for dinner, I’m going to stick to a carb restricted breakfast and lunch (which due to my work schedule comes at the end of the day).

I’m also a little worried about gaining weight initially on weight watchers.  I believe running will help me quite a but in that department.  I’m at a good point in couch to 5k where I’m burning a lot of fat with longer runs and before too long I’ll be running 3.1 miles three times per week.

Weight Watchers has been very good to me in the past.  I lost 50 lbs on WW in 2010.  This was the weight loss that set me up for what I am doing now.  In fact, my wife and I were watching some old family videos and I cannot believe how big I was back then.  I was over 260 lbs, I had sleep apnea, acid reflux and high cholesterol.  Right now I feel healthy as a horse.  I ran 20 minutes straight yesterday for crying out loud (my grandma used to say for crying out loud all the time).

Taking A Day Off

Today, in addition to starting weight watchers, I am taking a day to rest.  I have struggled a little lately with certain exercises.  Some of the struggle was to be expected but I feel as if I’m a little too worn out and therefore am taking today off.  Yesterday I did Week 5, Day 3 of couch to 5k.  Up until this point, all c25k runs have been intervals.  W5D3, however, is a 20 minute run with no walking.  To me, this is the run that makes people realize they are runners.  I believe you are a runner the day you first put on your shoes and start running but that 20 minute run gives people a lot of confidence because they have proven to themselves that they can do something they never knew they could do.

Couch To 5K Week 5 Complete

At 5.6 miles per hour I ran less than 2 miles which is behind the normal pace of the program.  Most people do not run the 10 minute mile pace that is laid out in the original couch to 5k program.  I had been running at a pace of 5.5 until this point but am trying to slowly build up my speed.  If I increase my speed to 5.7 in week 6 and 5.8 in week 7 I will be close to the 6 mph point by the time I finish my program.  I plan to go on to work on my speed.  When I ran the program in 2008 I always wanted to get to the 10 minute mile point but I ran closer to a 13 minute mile.  This time around I started the program running faster on week 1 to set me up for that 10 minute mile target.   At 5.6 mph I would only get 2.8 miles in 30 minutes.  While I intend on running the entire 3.1 miles I would like to do so in the shortest amount of time.

If you have been planning on starting the couch to 5k program I recommend you don’t worry about speed or even distance really.  Work on completing the program and becoming a 30 minute runner.  You are supposed to run at a pace where you could have a conversation with someone.  A lot of people go very slow but they are running.  At the end of the program, if you wish, you can work on speed or simply increasing your distance at the speed you are running.

A Couple Tips On Running

I’ll give you a couple of tips I discovered on speed.  While I’m not a running coach, I discovered that once you get to 3 miles, 1 mile is so much easier.  You could run 1 mile much faster than you’d be able to run 3 miles.  If you want to run 3 miles faster than you should train at a greater distance.  Also, running isn’t completely about how fast you move your legs.  It is how much pressure you apply to the ground.  This is why Usain Bolt has such big leg muscles and a marathon runner doesn’t.  He is built for speed, not distance.  Distance runners have to have a certain amount of muscles but are built for endurance.  Simply because someone can run 26 miles doesn’t mean they can run 100 meters very fast.  There is a balance between the two.  I looked it up and in 2009 Usain Bolt ran an average of 23.37 mph (see comments on reference page) with a top speed of 27.45 mph.  By comparison, the world record time for a marathon is roughly 2 hour 3, minutes.  That is an average of about 12.7 mph.  Why couldn’t the world record marathon runner beat Usain Bolt in a measly 100 meter dash?  Because his legs are too skinny.

Work on the overall package.  Distance runners have to have strength to get to 12 mph.  My minimalist workout is very complementary to running.  By doing sit ups your work your core, by doing push ups you work your arms which are very important to running.  Squats will give your legs the strength to run faster.  The complete package will take you farther and faster so do yourself a favor and don’t just run, build muscle.