For the first time ever, I’ve figured out how to be on a low carb diet and run at the same time. I’ve tried this in the past, and as soon as I did any exercise that took my heart rate very high I immediately felt sluggish and out of breath.
I just assumed that fat took too much oxygen to metabolize and my poor inefficient lungs couldn’t’ keep up. But it turns out that I just wasn’t eating enough. Eating enough on a low carb diet is hard – very quickly the awesomely rich and forbidden foods become tiring.
The key was to add some heavy cream to my coffee, adding some fat calories first thing in the morning. Turns out I wasn’t eating enough. I’ve always been a black-coffee guy, but I gave this a try to get rid of ketone flu, and it worked.
So, with that problem solved I have lost some weight while getting mileage in.
Now my pace isn’t getting much faster, but for now the weight loss is what I’m after.
I’ve started running again, as you might have noticed from some of the tweets that RunKeeper has produced. It’s going better than last time, and I’ve even signed up for a 5k in April.
Here are some neat things I’ve discovered this time around:
- Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen [affiliate link] is a very good read, exactly the kind of running book I needed right now. Along with a gripping story that was a little slow to start there are a few digressions into shoes, nutrition, and other running topics. I found the arguments for vegetarianism and barefoot running pretty compelling.
- I don’t think I’m ready to swear off meat – and those who know me know how much I love red meat – but adding more beans and veggies to my diet to displace some of the lower-quality meat in my life would be a good idea. Heck, last night I even ordered fish while out with my father for dinner. I’m usually not too fond of finned food, but the mahi-mahi was very good.
- As for barefoot running, I had already been a bit unhappy with my old running shoes, and based on the comments in the book I decided to try the cheapest shoes I could find. The theory is that the excessive padding in higher-quality shoes is actually causing injury. I found some $15 Jacek shoes at Target, and they do exactly what they were supposed to: Discourage heel strikes, and promote mid or fore foot strikes. It worked like a charm. Yesterday I ran faster and farther than I had before, and today I have the pleasant mild soreness of muscles that are being productively reawakened. One run doesn’t make a conclusion, but so far it’s encouraging. $15 isn’t so much to experiment.
- I’m oogling a pair of Vibram Five Fingers, and when I can get to an REI I think I may get a pair. My wife will enjoy another ‘I told you so’ moment, as she’s always enjoyed going barefoot, and I’ve been the one saying she should wear shoes. I think I will start wearing my thinner-soled dress shoes to work to provide whatever foot conditioning they can.
- RunKeeper and Runmeter are two neat iPhone apps that track runs. RunKeeper is more polished, a bit more beginner friendly, but it’s also apparently not very reliable. I’ve had it get very confused about locations, and others in RunKeeper’s forum seem to have the same problem. Runmeter is more techie, so far is more reliable, and is more iPhone centric where RunKeeper is really an interface to a website. Both are cool, and I wish I could use both simultaneously.
- I’ve been tracking my weight with Track Your Weight, which seems unique in its ability to track % water and % body fat, which I like to keep track since my scale measures both. I find that when my weight is unexpectedly climbing, it can be traced to changes in water and body fat.
- My wife bought me a Brooks Men’s Nightlife Vest , which is about as visible as anything can be. My running time is usually in the evening, when it’s dark this time of year. It’s got a nice pocket for stashing my iPhone, and it blocks the wind nicely.
I’ve just ressurected my run log, which is really also a workout log, after it being inactive since last August. Try as I might last year, I never could get to the point where I could run continuously. I finally pushed hard enough that my knees started bothering me again, or something else would get sore, or whatever. It just wasn’t working.
So I gave up.
This year I once again got some resolve together, and instead of running I tried weights. I just got some dumbells out after a few weeks of doing pushups and crunches, and eventually started following the Men’s Book of Muscle routine. It’s been working ok, I’ve lost about 8lbs and a few inches off my waste, and things are fine.
But Tuesday I decided to see how far I could run, and the results were much better than I expected. Yee Ha!
Now, I’m not yet going to start thinking about a marathon this year, but if I could get to 3 miles/day by April…
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Well, it’s not really another blog, I just wanted to take advantage of the ability to put graphs and charts in a WordPress blog, as I saw on someone else’s nifty “Jog Log“. You can get to it by hitting the “RUN LOG” link at the top of the page, or by going here.
It’s pretty cool stuff, really, and when you think about the ability to add charts to a blog the business applications really start coming to mind. You could probably do a pretty effective dashboard system using this stuff, and given that it is driven by PHP it probably wouldn’t be that painful to interface it with many systems.
So, effective now I’ll put a probably-weekly running/workout-update post up there instead of here.