All Sweat is Created Equal

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We’ve all done it – judged someone for the workout they choose to do.

It’s second nature to feel that whatever YOU are doing is the best or is right. Runners tend to think a long, satisfying run is best. Weight lifters crave the burn in their muscles and the accomplishment of adding weight to the barbell. Zumba lovers can’t wait for the latest routine to be released so they can master it. Yogis are searching for the perfect combination of breath and movement.

I’ve tried a lot of different workouts and every one has its pros and cons. There is no perfect workout – instead there is just a perfect workout for you. And that perfect workout is also not timeless – it changes by the day, month, or year. 

Although it is natural to believe your current favorite workout is best, I’m very open about the fact that I appreciate and accept ALL types of fitness activities, not just the ones I participate in. It is one of my biggest pet peeves when I hear someone saying that someone else’s workout routine isn’t effective, considered good, or worse, they think it’s pointless or dumb. NO workout is pointless. If the only way for someone to get out of the door every day and get their heart pumping is to attend a Zumba class, then go get your Zumba on! Walking, elliptical, CrossFit, P90X, running, triathlon, Yoga, ballet, cycling, mountain biking, hiking, pilates, barre classes, boot camps, WHATEVER floats your boat, GO DO IT! If it makes you happy, it’s right.

The inspiration for this blog post is actually because of a few things that Tony Horton says in some of the P90X3 workouts. He mentions several times that his workout is superior to the elliptical machine. The elliptical is very different than P90X and there are a several reasons why someone would use it instead of an at home fitness program. I don’t personally use the elliptical anymore but when I was in college it was my jam! Did it get me in the best shape of my life – no, but did it make me healthier? Yes. I definitely agree that if your goal is to increase muscle definition or burn more calories, P90X3 is probably the way to go. But if your goal is to go to the gym and be social with friends, get your heart rate into Zone 2 for a while, or whatever reason there is, and you chose the elliptical, so be it!

My blood has absolutely boiled reading comments on social media from Cross Fitters challenging running as a sport (disclaimer – I know not all Cross Fitters are this way). I’ve also heard runners lament CrossFit as being too intense, focusing too heavily on appearance and competition which can lead to injury. I’ve listened to Tony Horton bash the Elliptical. I’ve heard men at the gym laugh at women who do Zumba and even my dad commented recently that a relative of ours has “only” been doing Pilates, as if this wasn’t really a workout. No one workout is right for everyone. Runners get their high from moving across land faster and faster and don’t want bulky muscles weighing them down. Cross Fitters want to be able to squat twice their body weight and likely have no desire to run a marathon. Those women doing Zumba are having fun with their friends while burning calories and don’t need a PR to prove anything to anyone.

We’re all different and we all do what works best for us. I will admit I have judged others for their choice in workout at times in my life, but I’ve been making a conscious effort to ignore these thoughts and not make judgments. We’re all doing our best. If you’re getting your heart rate up, you’re increasing lifespan, reducing stress, increasing your brain power, decreasing your susceptibility to disease and depression and making yourself happier. To me, that’s all that matters.

All sweat is created equal!

Have you ever been hated on for the sport or fitness activity you love? How did you handle it?

Spring Training Week 3

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Happy running in Oiselle Flyte Tank and Lesley Knickers

This week was a big one! At this point I am 7 weeks out from San Diego Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon and 11 weeks from the San Diego International Triathlon. I realized this weekend that this is the first time in nearly 3 years that I have trained specifically for a half marathon. It feels good to focus on a goal and hopefully all the hard work I’m putting now will help me with a  solid performance at Rock n’ Roll and also set me up for a successful fall marathon (TBD).

This was week 3 of P90X3 which means we did the same workouts as Weeks 1 & 2 but that next week is recovery week. Then Phase 1 will be finished and we’ll move on to Phase 2, with nearly all new workouts. P90X is all about “muscle confusion” so the workouts try not to be too repetitive and exactly as soon as your body gets used to the workouts you’ve been doing, it’s time to switch it up. It also keeps things interesting that way!

This week was a big one and I called it the “calm before the storm.” I had very few obligations outside of work and working out, so I was able to get in a lot of workouts. Soon I will have a lot of commitments, particularly on weekends which won’t allow me to do as much as I did this week (which is totally ok because all of those commitments are fun things like bachelorette parties, holidays, weddings, birthday parties and vacations!). Knowing this, I stuck to my plan this week and tried to get the most out of it.

I wasn’t sure how this week would go as I came out of last week pretty tired. I also had a busy week at work and carried a bit of stress with me which caused me to have some pretty bad nights of sleep. I could definitely feel my legs were heavier this week after two intense weeks of training but bizarrely by the end of the week, I was feeling great. I have a feeling a lot of it has to do with my renewed focus on supplements. I’m using VegaOne Performance Protein several days a week, VegaOne Recovery Accelerator after hard runs, and drinking a mix of high quality gluatmine and BCAAs 1-2 times daily. Nutrition wise, I made fewer exceptions and ate tons of whole foods including veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. There were still a few treats of course but overall it was definitely a 90/10 week or better.

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Monday: 

I slept in and then after work Mike and I went out for a very, very slow 4.5 mile recovery run. I wore my heart rate and kept it in zone 1 or 2. My legs were heavy and the pace was slow but the run did it’s job!

Tuesday: 

AM: P90X3 Total Synergistics – Core, push-ups, pull-ups, lunges – this workout has it all!

PM: Short Hill Repeat Run (6 miles). I ran about two miles to a hill on the coast (which I always hate coming back from a long run!) and did 8 x 50 second HARD effort hill repeats. The hill wasn’t super steep but steep enough to really feel it at the end. Luckily the hill was just about the right distance. I jogged back for recovery and repeated. I was tired at the end but not exhausted. I ran home for a total of about 6 miles.

Sunset During Tuesday Night Hill Repeats

Sunset During Tuesday Night Hill Repeats

Wednesday: 

I slept in again, definitely feeling like I needed it. After a long, stressful day at work I was able to get in P90X3 Agility which felt like a stress reliever!

Thursday: 

AM: This is when the come back started to happen! I felt revived after more sleep and woke up early for a double P90X3 workout to try to catch up. I did P90X 3 Yoga X followed immediately by The Challenge. The Challenge is the workout where you pick a number of push-ups and pull-ups and try to make your goal for each set. There are 4 push-up moves and 4 pull-up moves and each are completed twice, for a total of 8 sets of each. Plus, a bonus round. This time I set a goal of 17 push-ups and 10 (assisted) pull-ups and I was able to do it! I did all of the wide and standard push-ups on my feet and the military and staggered push-ups on my knees. Then during the bonus round I did another 13 push-ups, 10 pull ups and held a plank for 1.5 minutes (I couldn’t physically do any more push-ups!!!). My upper body strength is coming back slowly bur surely.

PM: After work it was time for the key workout of the week – a 6 mile run with 2 x 15 minute tempo segments (1 min rest between).  My legs were feeling a bit heavier and I knew that I wasn’t going to have the killer run I had last week. Knowing that a recovery week was coming, I wanted to get in this workout and do the best I could. I was happy that after the 1 mile warm-up I was still able to hit beat goal pace for the first 15 minute tempo which had a decline and a tailwind. The second 15 minute segment wasn’t as great since I was going uphill and with a headwind but I was still able to manage a pretty good performance! Overall I was happy with the run and although slower on average than the prior week, I know it did the job.

Friday: As usual, I met up with my friend Allison for our Friday morning run. We ran 6 miles easy and started Friday off right.

Saturday: 

The boys getting our bikes ready for the road!

The boys getting our bikes ready for the road!

A friend of mine is training for her first Ironman and as a new cyclist, she is very eager to get out on the road as much as possible. Although I haven’t been on my bike outdoors for nearly 7 months, I figured I could handle one of our old Ironman training routes. Mike and Jeremy also wanted to join and Mike didn’t want to do the coast (i.e. flat) route I suggested, so we headed inland for a very hilly route that was part of our favorite Ironman training route.

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Me & Brooke at the halfway point representing ACTIVEx

I really enjoyed myself and was pleasantly surprised by my endurance and definitely a bit disappointed by my speed (or lack thereof!!) especially on hills. I found that my legs were just not strong enough to keep up with my breathing. This could also have something to do with the fatigue from the week but likely also that I’ve just lost a lot of my power there. I think that the P90X 3 workouts will definitely help get some of that strength back, as well as getting back out on the hills!

In total we rode nearly 40 miles with about 3,000 feet of climbing and 3,000 feet of descending. 

Determined to get in all P90X3 workouts this week, after a breakfast burrito and some relaxation time, Mike and I put in P90X3 CVX for 30 more minutes of cardio. This is the workout that incorporates a weight into the cardio so instead of focusing so much on getting my heart rate super high or getting deep into the squats and lunges, I carried a heavier weight and focused more on upper body. It helped but I was pooped by the end.

Sunday: 

Starting the run with Mike

Starting the run with Mike

12 miles with 3 miles @ marathon goal pace. I was guessing my legs would be heaving on Sunday and they weren’t as bad as I anticipated. Mike and I met up with Asia and Jeremy for our long runs. This was Asia’s final run before she leaves for Boston to run the Boston Marathon and I really wanted to join her. Luckily our workouts meshed pretty well so we were able to run almost the entire thing together. Asia and I ran the first 8 miles of the run super easy and slow and enjoyed each other’s company (the heaviness in my legs went away at mile 4) and then we picked it up for 3 miles, averaging just under an 8 minute mile (Asia’s marathon goal pace). I felt surprisingly good during this portion and my heart rate wasn’t too out of control despite the fast pace. I often found myself naturally falling into the 7:40s and having to remind myself to hold back. It felt good. I finished the run energized and feeling great!

Attempting to get a selfie with 4 people while running is not recommended

Attempting to get a selfie with 4 people while running is not recommended

After a healthy breakfast, a nap and some relaxation, I finished up the final workout of week 3 of P90X3 - The Warrior. I actually felt really good during this workout. It consists of four sets of four moves – first an upper body move (usually involving plank and/or push-up), followed by a cardio move, then a core move and finally a leg move. Pretty much all moves are full body but there is definitely more emphasis on one part in each. I really like this workout – it may be one of my favorite so far.

We just crushed the 3 mile race pace segment!

We just crushed the 3 mile race pace segment!

After writing this recap I realized that I definitely am in need of a recovery week more than I even realized! I’ve gone really hard the last 3 weeks and this week is a much deserved recovery week. I can’t let all the hard work I’ve been doing go to waste because I didn’t rest enough! Those BCAAs, glutamine and VegaOne can only go so far. I’m making a promise to myself right now on this blog that Week 4′s training recap will include A LOT of the word “easy” (today was a complete rest day so I’m on to a good start!)!!

Weekly Totals: 

  • Miles Run: 34.5 miles
  • Miles Biked: 40
  • Hours Strength: 3.25
  • Total Time: 11.75 hours

Rock n’ Bloggin !

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I am thrilled to announce that I have joined up with the Rock n’ Roll Marathon series and am an Rock n’ Blog Ambassador for the 2014 Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon and ½ Marathon To Benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society!

Our First Marathon!

Our First Marathon!

Rock n’ Roll San Diego holds a special place in my heart as not only does the course cover significant ground on the city I’ve called home for the past 12 years but it was the race that I chose to run 26.2 miles for the first time with two of my best friends in 2011. The Rock n’ Roll Marathon literally takes over the city of San Diego with over 25,000 participants whose friends and families as well as community members come out to cheer on the runners. The crowd support and entertainment is unsurpassed by any other race I have run. Runners are encouraged to dress in costume so you will definitely see Elvis, tutus, and other costumed runners throughout the entire event which helps take your mind off of the inevitable pain. And of course there are the live bands and DJs along the course playing music to help as well. 

With friends before the race in 2011

With friends before the race in 2011

The 2014 race will be held on Sunday, June 1, starting in Balboa Park. In 2013, the course and finish line were changed. The finish line moved from Sea World (Mission Bay) to Petco Park (Downtown) which dramatically changed the half marathon course. The half marathon now begins at Balboa park and loops through the quirky neighborhoods of Hillcrest, North Park and University Heights (the only other race that comes near this area is the Hot Chocolate 15k so it’s pretty cool to see a different side of San Diego). The highlight of the change is the fast and furious downhill at the end of both courses. This particularly benefits the half marathoners because you never have to climb a significant hill to benefit from the decline! I had friends who ran it last year and were pleasantly surprised by PRs. 

2014 Rock n' Roll San Diego Half Marathon Course

2014 Rock n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon Course From http://runrocknroll.competitor.com/san-diego/course

San Diego Rock n' Roll Half Marathon Course Elevation Profile

San Diego Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon Course Elevation Profile

The marathon is actually still fairly similar to the course of prior years, except portions of it are run in reverse (previously you would run down the 163 freeway at the beginning of the race and now you run it at the end, up and over Hillcrest and down through East Village to the finish). Regardless of the course, the same Rock n’ Roll staples are included – live bands throughout the course, well supported aid stations and extremely lively crowd support. Another option for someone not wanting to commit to 13.1 miles, Rock n’ Roll San Diego offers a 2 person relay for the half marathon.

San Diego Rock n' Roll Marathon Full Course

San Diego Rock n’ Roll Marathon Full Course – From http://runrocknroll.competitor.com/san-diego/course

To join me in running the 2014 Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon and ½ Marathon To Benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, use the discount code below for $10 off either the half or the full.

 FITFATALESD

 Registration link and more information here: http://runrocknroll.competitor.com/san-diego

Have you ever run a Rock n’ Roll Race? What was your favorite part? 

35 Thoughts a Type A Runner Has During a Run

Last night Mike read me a witty blog post called “The 75 Thoughts Every Runner Has During a Run.” It was written from the perspective (in my opinion) of a more casual runner (as compared to a Type A competitive runner) and was pretty entertaining. You can check it out here if you’d like. I thought it’d be funny to write a similar article, this time from the mind-set of a Type A Runner (i.e. me).

  1. 6 mile “easy” run time. Must acquire sattelites, ensure my watch is set to pause at stop lights, and is set to record each mile as a lap.
  2. Brr it’s cold.
  3. Whoever put this hill at the beginning of my run should die.
  4. Why was that first mile so slow?!
  5. I wonder if I will be able to hit my tempo run paces tomorrow – I feel so slow.
  6. Hello there child on a tricycle – can you please watch where you are driving that thing?
  7. Starting to feel better. I just needed to warm up.
  8. 8:45 min/mile – yesss! I’m going to crush this run!
  9. My new easy pace is 8:45. It’s totally easy. I could run this pace all day.
  10. 2 miles to warm-up – my warm-up if some people’s full workout.
  11. There’s someone wearing a shirt from a half marathon that I’ve run –  I wonder if I ran it faster?
  12. MOVE OUT OF MY WAY walkers! Do you not know to leave a space for me to pass?
  13. My Garmin is acting crazy – but for sure when it says I’m running 7:30 it’s right and the next minute when it says 10 min/miles it’s wrong.
  14. Weee I’m running fast! I bet it’s just my fitness not a tailwind.
  15. I wonder if I can PR in my upcoming race.
  16. I wonder how fast I could run a mile.
  17. Too bad a mile race is not worth paying or waking up early for.
  18. That person who passed me is clearly not running as far as me. Or they’re doing intervals.
  19. I love running! I could do this all day!
  20. Which race should I sign up for next?
  21. Time to turn around but must turn around as soon as my watch turns exactly to 3 miles and not a step shorter or longer. Ookkkkk Homeward bound!
  22. Is that a headwind!?!
  23. Yes cyclists, I’m running in the bike lane. There’s nowhere else to go. Share the road.
  24. I think that cyclist saw my Ironman hat and gave me a head nod. Now maybe he doesn’t hate that I was running in the bike lane.
  25. Definitely a headwind.
  26. How is that girl running so fast wearing cotton?!
  27. Did that guy just look at my boobs?
  28. Geez, it’s hot.
  29. 9:30 min/mile – definitely because of the headwind.
  30. Is this run hard enough to warrant a recovery drink?
  31. What’s for dinner? What has the best ratio of carbs to fat so I can recover for my tempo run tomorrow?
  32. One more mile to go….
  33. Good thing there is a decline at the end of my run.
  34. I must have run a tangent wrong, I’m home and I am at mile 5.95. Must do a lap around the block to make it an even 6.
  35. FINALLY HOME! Time to cook a healthy dinner and prep for tomorrow.

What thoughts do you have on a run? 

Spring Training Week 2

Feeling ripped after P90X3 "The Challenge" - after seeing this photo realized it was in my head....

Feeling ripped after P90X3 “The Challenge” – after seeing this photo realized it was in my head….

This week we brought it up a notch. After missing some cycling last week I tried to fit it in among the P90X3 workouts and 4 runs. It was tough to get it all in at times, but I was still able to fit it all in! Mike and I have been regularly taking BCAAs, Glutamine and VegaOne recovery and protein supplements, and I think that is part of the reason why we’ve been feeling so good. Despite a high volume week this week (for me anyway!) I felt great.

This week was Week 2 of P90X3, which means that we followed the same format as last week (P90X3 has three phases, each consisting of 3-4 weeks plus a recovery week, to total 13 weeks/90 days). Although the workouts were still tough, it was definitely easier to get through knowing what was coming next. I was still sore throughout the week due to the workouts, particularly after Agility X (especially glutes and inner thighs) ad The Challenge (chest, back, arms, shoulders, everything after this pull-up/push-up extreme workout).

Monday - 

AM: P90X3 Total Synergistics

PM: Fartlek Run – 6 miles (with Mike!) with 8 x 50 second intervals @ 10k pace (I kept these intervals around low 7s/high 6 pace).

Tuesday: 

AM: P90X3 Agility X

That evening we went to Mike’s parents house for a birthday dinner for our future brother in law (Mike’s sister is getting married over Memorial Day weekend!).

Wednesday: 

AM: P90X3 Yoga X . For some reason this workout felt WAY easier this time than last time. P90X3 yoga has a lot of moves crammed into 30 minutes but you don’t hold any move for too long to get an super intense burn like in the original version. However, it’s still a great workout and I could tell my muscles were much looser by the end.

sunset on my tempo run

sunset on my tempo run

PM: I left work at a descent hour and felt pretty good so I decided to follow the workout from Brad Hudson’s “Run Faster” workout plan as he wrote it this time. In general his workouts are pretty high mileage so I’ve been adjusting them down a bit, but this time I decided to go for the full workout. After a 2 mile run, I did two 15 minute intervals with 2 minutes recovery jog between, followed by a 2 mile cool-down. In total I ran nearly 8.5 miles and my intervals averaged 7:29 over about 4 miles. I was really happy with this workout. I felt VERY strong despite some serious headwind on the way back. My legs felt light despite the heavy load I’ve been putting them through with P90X3 and my lungs were strong. I really feel like I’ve recovered from the marathon now and am making gains in my training. This workout was proof of that.

Thursday: 

AM: SLEEP. I try to sleep in at a least one day per week day so that I don’t get run down. When I try 5:30-6 a.m. wake-up calls for five consecutive work days I’m seriously dragging by the end of the week.

PM: First, P90X3 The Challenge. This workout is 8 sets of push-ups and pull-ups (4 moves of each in total, repeated twice) plus a “burn out” session where you are supposed to do as many pull-ups and push-ups as possible. Over the course of the 8 sets, Tony encourages you to pick two numbers and stick with them. I picked 8 pull-ups (assisted) and 15 push-ups. I was able to stick with my goal for the entire time, although I did go to my knees for the military push-ups. I was happy with this and I felt like I worked really hard for the entire workout. I was very sore the next day so I definitely think it worked!

After The Challenge, we got on the trainers for a 45 minute spin. I didn’t wear a heart rate monitor, but I’m pretty sure this was a Zone 1 or low Zone 2 spin (read: easy).

Friday:

AM: Early morning 6 mile run with my friend Allison. We ran easy but our pace was faster than it has been in a while. I feel like I’m getting my mojo back!

Saturday: 

Post Run Beach Shot

Post Run Beach Shot

AM: 15 mile run with 10 miles at a moderate/hard pace. Asia is running the Boston Marathon in 2 weeks and her coach prescribed her a 2 hour 30 minute run with a 45 minute warm-up and 10 miles at goal pace (8-8:10ish miles). I told Asia I’d help pace her on this run but didn’t want to run more than 15 miles (my plan called for 13). I’ve been feeling good lately but was still a little nervous that I wouldn’t be able to hold the pace for 10 miles.

However, I actually ended up feeling really good on this run and we ran the majority of the 10 miles at the goal pace. Asia wasn’t feeling as great since she had a very high intensity/mileage week behind her but I was able to help motivate her to keep going. We had a fun run together and it reminded me of the old days when we used to train more together! It was also fun because our normal running route is on the Ragnar SoCal run course so people thought that we were running the race and were cheering for us! It was almost like we were running a race for part of it and had a free cheer squad!

Sunday: 

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AM: P90X3 Doubles – “CVX” (cardio/plyometrics with a weight) followed by “The Warrior” (push-ups, core, cardio/plyometrics, lunges, etc). We had to get in the final two P90X3 workouts of the week today so we ended up just doing both back to back. By the end of the second workout I was toast!

PM: We took a break between and then got back on the trainers for a 60 minute spin in the late afternoon. I wore my heart rate monitor and tried to keep it in Zone 2. I was surprised how hard I had to work to keep it in Zone 2. I was drenched in sweat by the end! My leg strength really needs to catch up with my lungs on the bike. Hopefully all these lunges, squats and plyometric moves in P90X3 will help with that!

Zucchini pesto pasta and kale

Homemade zucchini pesto pasta and kale

Indulgent dinner with friends on Saturday! Worth it!

Indulgent dinner with good friends on Saturday! Worth it!

This week was great. I really feel like my running is improving and I’m already seeing big changes in my body. Nutrition wise, I had a great week Monday-Friday and kind of dropped the ball over the weekend. I think a lot of us struggle with the same challenge with keeping nutrition good over the weekend. It is hard to manage with meet ups with friends and the allure of delicious beer and wine! But, in the end, I have to remind myself that I’m still eating healthier far more than not.

Totals:

Strength: 3 hours 15 min

Running: 35.5 miles

Cycling: 1 hour 45 minutes

Total Time: 10 hours 20 minutes

Do you tend to eat healthier on week days than weekends? 

Adaptive Running Principles

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I started reading Brad Hudson’s “Run Faster” book a few weeks ago and devoured the entire book within days. I really like Brad’s philosophy and the fact that he’s successfully coached Olympic runners definitely helps build his credibility as a coach. His running methodology is called “Adaptive Running” and is based on the principle that there is no single training formula that works perfectly for every runner.

How do you write an entire book (including training plans) if everyone’s plan is different? Well Brad does have some principles that he believes in and follows with all his athletes. He also believes that in general, there are certain truths in running that work for most people (i.e. run long to build endurance, etc.). These principles along with running truths help guide him as he creates their individual training plans and if you learn and follow them, he believes you can successfully coach yourself to achieve your goals.

Before we get to the 4 principles, there are 2 truths (I feel like I’m writing a philosophy term paper!).

Truth #1 : Understand how the human body adapts to different types of training and train accordingly. To summarize: there’s a lot of knowledge out there about what makes people run faster and you should understand it.

Truth #2: Learn how YOUR individual body adapts to various types of training, and train accordingly. To summarize: what works for someone else might not work for you. Learn what works for you and go with it. Pay attention to your body and adjust accordingly.

Truth #1 can be accomplished fairly quickly – lock yourself in a room for month and read everything you can get your hands on about running and you’ll figure out historically what makes people run faster. Unfortunately, truth #2 can only be learned over time and can only be learned by you (or a coach that follows your training over time). There is some patience required here.

View from the turn around point during my great tempo run tonight!

View from the turn around point during my great tempo run tonight!

Building on the truths, there are the 4 principles:

Principle #1: The goal of training is to stimulate the precise set of physiological adaptations that are needed to achieve maximum performance at a peak race. In sum: You need to pick  peak race and do the workouts that work best to achieve your goal pace at that race. What works for a 10k runner won’t work for a marathoner and workouts you do 10 weeks out won’t be anything like workouts you do 3 weeks out from your goal race. Brad strongly emphasizes spending the final three peak weeks of training focusing on race pace runs. These weeks are intense but prepare the athlete for running the pace required to achieve their goal.

Principle #2: Training programs must be adapted to individual strengths, weaknesses, needs and goals of each runner. No plan is one size fits all. Some runners have more fast twitch muscle fibers, a higher natural VO2 Max, more or less muscle, etc. and a good plan will improve their weaknesses but also boost the runner up with runs that emphasize their strengths. Time constraints of the runner, desire/ability to stay injury free under higher mileage and your current fitness level are just some of the considerations needed when building a plan.

Principle #3: Individualized training schedules must be adapted daily, based on a runner’s response to recent training and any other factors that may affect the runner’s readiness for planned running. This means – LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! If you’re running yourself into the ground, do not do a hard workout. If you are feeling good, it’s ok to go a little harder than the schedule calls for (not too much harder though).

Principle #4: The runner must adapt his or her training from season to season, year to year, in response to the effects of the most recently completed training cycle, to stimulate further positive adaptations. What worked last year might not be your best bet this year. The body remembers past training and will adapt. You must take a look at what worked and didn’t work in the past and learn from it.

So how am I incorporating Brad’s methodology into my training? First and foremost, although I’m utilizing one of his training plans as a guide, I made the training plan completely customized to my own schedule. I basically took his 3 key workouts per week and put them in my plan and then added my own tweaks. Brad believes in high mileage but since I’m also juggling P90X3 and triathlon training, I am not going to run 5 days a week. Some of the mid-week runs are quite long and I’ve cut some of them down a bit to be more realistic for me as a 8-9 min/mile runner (if you run 6 min/miles, 8-10 miles on a weekday is much more feasible).

Second, as of now, my training plan is kind of a skeleton. I added the long runs and a few key workouts but I don’t fill in the days until the week or two before. I have been basing my training on how I feel. Tonight for example, I felt great so I decided to do the threshold run as scheduled (2 mile warm up, 2 x 15 min @ half marathon goal pace with 2 min recovery between, 2 mile cool-down). Last week, I pushed this run up a day in order to accommodate my schedule and did it at lunch. Instead of 2 mile warm-up and cool-down, I did 1 mile warm-up and 1 mile cool-down. Both achieved my goal and worked with my schedule and I felt great for both of them.

First marathon - 2011 - I've learned so much since then!

First marathon – 2011 – I’ve learned so much since then!

I’ve been running consistently for about four years now and I’ve learned a lot about what works for me. I definitely respond well to threshold/tempo intervals (Yasso 800s, 5 min-15 min tempo intervals, race pace runs) and I am weak at climbing hills.  I gain a lot of confidence from race-pace runs and need them in my training plan to be confident going into to a race.

As a result, my plan incorporates strength (P90X and short, steep hill sprints), threshold runs, and long runs with fast finishes. I really like Brad’s philosophy that toward the end of a training cycle there is a lot of running at race pace. Come race day, that pace doesn’t feel so foreign.

So far, I’m loving the training. I am sure to keep the easy runs easy, and then I let it go on the fast ones. When I feel good, I push it more and when I’m tired, I take it easier. I’m feeling optimistic that Brad’s principles are going to help make the San Diego Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon a great race!

What have you found works for your run training? Do you find yourself comparing your training to others? 

Spring Training Week #1

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I haven’t posted weekly training recaps since Ironman CDA training but I decided to start for my “Spring Training” plan as I call it because I want to keep myself accountable. My 3 main goals for this training cycle, which ends just before the 4th of July are:

  1. Complete P90X3 (which means completing 6 strength 30 minute workouts per week for 13 weeks – due to travel plans in June we will likely finish just before the 4th of July weekend).
  2. Put down a solid effort at the Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon (June 1) using a plan using the principles from Brad Hudson’s “Run Faster.”
  3. Finish strong at the San Diego International Triathlon (Olympic distance – June 29)

I’m not putting any time or age group goals on my races. Instead, I want to race them strong. I know I’m going to be very fit for both these races and I want to race them without time pressure. Just see what is under the hood.

Week 1 went well. I had planned to get on the bike this week, but triathlon training will have to start in week 2. Although we’re not following any nutrition plan, we are trying to make less exceptions and make it more of a 90/10 ratio. I’d say we achieved about 80/20 instead, with Friday and Saturday being a bit questionable but today we got back on it. Overall I feel good about what I put in my body this week despite some indulgences.

Here’s how it went down:

Monday

PM: P90X3 workout number one – “Total Synergistics,” a full body workout which includes push-ups, pull-ups, core work, squats, lunges and much more, working more than one body part/group in every move.

Tuesday

AM: P90X3 “Agility X” which is sort of like plyometics – jumping and running around the living room. Our living room is pretty small so this one was a little tough but I just modified by jumping up and down a bit more than side to side.

Lunch: Threshold Run. 1 mile warm-up with 2 x 15 min @ half marathon pace with 5 min recovery jog between, 1 mile cool-down. I did this run at lunch on the trails and I was surprisingly speedy and felt great. My times were WAY faster than my tempo run from the previous week and I finally felt like I was officially recovered from the marathon. I love progress!

Wednesday -

AM: 6 mile easy run with my friend Allison. Totally easy and fun run. My legs were now VERY tired from the P90X3 workouts but the miles went by quickly since I had a friend to keep my mind off of them.

PM: “X3 Yoga”. Since this is only 30 minutes, Tony tried to fit as much as possible in. I think that this 30 minute session covered the same number of moves as he covered in 60 minutes of P90X yoga -we just held everything less. It was pretty tough!

Thursday

AM: 6 miles easy with strides (with Asia!) plus 2 x 8 second steep hill sprints. Legs were still heavy.

PM: P90X3 “The Challenge” – 30 minutes straight of push-ups and pull-ups. This workout was tough!!! I use the P90X pull-up assist for my pull-ups so that I can do them but it doesn’t make it any easier! My chest, back, and arms were sore for days after this one.

Friday

AM: SLEEP! I needed to sleep in after three early mornings.

PM: “CVX” Holy crap. This was basically full body plyometric moves all while holding a weight. I held a 5 pound weight and it was tough. I was absolutely drenched in sweat at the end of this workout. It might be my favorite!

Saturday

10 mile progression run with last 30 minutes at moderate effort. Mike ran with me and my legs were tired (surprise surprise) at first and it took a while to warm-up. We ran pretty slow but once I got to 30 minutes to go, I picked it up and was easily running in the low/mid 8s which felt good. Sometimes running faster actually feels better!

We spent a large portion of Saturday spectating Ironman California 70.3 which is only a 20 minute drive north from Encinitas. We got there in time to see the pros on the run course, and walked right by Andy Potts as he started on his 2nd loop on the run. We also saw Heather Jackson, local triathlete who placed second, as well as many other extremely speedy pros working hard. I had two friends racing as well as knew several people from social media out on the course and it was a great time. Asia and Jeremy came out too and we were reminiscing about 2012 when we all raced it. I got major race envy and was plotting how I could race it next year.

Beautiful Course at Ironman California 70.3

Beautiful Course at Ironman California 70.3

Team WODS spectating this year instead of racing

Team WODS spectating this year instead of racing

 

Go Stephen!

Go Stephen!

That night we went to a 90s birthday party and had a great time dancing to 90s songs and reminiscing about our favorite TV shows, movies and teen crushes (hello Andrew Keegan and JTT – who’s with me!?). I dressed as Ty from Clueless, Asia as Kelly Kapowski and Mike and Jeremy as Kris Kross.

Kelly & Ty

Kelly & Ty

Kris Kross in the house!

Kris Kross in the house!

Sunday

After a fun night of partying, we slept in late, took a walk with our coffee, and cleaned before finally putting in the final P90X3 workout of the week – The Warrior. It was full of great core moves as well as some plyometric type lunges and squats. Another sweaty one. We planned to get on the trainers later in the afternoon for a spin but a nap won.

It was a great start to P90X3. Mike and I are really amped on the program and excited to see where it takes us. It will definitely be a juggle to get in triathlon training on top of it, but P90X3 and the half marathon are my priority for now. I hope to include at least two bike rides or spins per week in the coming months and then after the half marathon focus mostly on the bike and the swim in the final 3 weeks leading up to the triathlon.

Totals:

  • Strength Training: 3 hours
  • Running: 28.5 miles
  • TOTAL: 7 hours 40 minutes

What 90s character would you dress up as for a 90s party? What strength move is hardest for you (assisted pull ups is mine!)?

Our P90X3 Journey Begins!

The whole reason this blog exists is because back in January 2011 Mike and I decided to “push play” on our first P90X workout DVD. We completed all 90 days of the program while also following the fairly strict nutrition plan and training for our first marathon (the marathon was 6 weeks after we finished). I am dead serious when I tell people that P90X changed my life. It elevated my interest in health and fitness from moderate to extreme and it changed my body, attitude, and overall health for the better. The strength I gained from P90X gave me courage to dream big and sign up for my first Ironman and the belief that I can qualify for Boston one day.

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I was so embarrassed to share these photos at first!

It’s hard to believe that it has been over 3 years since then. Our lives have changed in so many ways yet stayed the same in so many others. Instead of dating less than a year, we’re now married. I weigh 15 pounds less than the day I started P90X in 2011, have run 4 marathons and am now an Ironman. During P90X, particularly Phase 1, we consumed turkey, chicken, fish and dairy in mass quantities. Now, we follow a mostly plant based diet and I haven’t eaten chicken in nearly two years. But, we still live in our tiny apartment steps from the beach and we still attempt to workout in our living room despite the tight quarters. Mike and I still love and support each other and we are still passionate about fitness.

Although strength has definitely still been a part of my fitness routine since Day 90 of that first round of P90X, there has never been a commitment to it as intense as then. After the marathon, I set my sights on the Ironman and then qualifying for Boston. Strength has always been extremely important to me and I’ve dabbled in various ways of maintaining it but never more than two or three days a week. I’m happy with how my body looks now but I miss the strength that I had during P90X. I was able to bust out over 30 push-ups and now I grow tired quickly after 10. My legs were stronger and hills were easier to climb. I could do an unassisted pull up!

P90X3

When Beachbody came out with P90X3, I knew it was the perfect program for me right now. I really want to continue the foundation I’ve built in running and I love to do a triathlon or two in the summer but I also want my strong, more muscular body back. I made serious gains in endurance in 2011 due to the strength I gained during P90X and I think that I can make more gains in running with P90X3.

The reason I knew P90X3 was the best move is that it’s only 30 minutes a day. A total of 3 hours of strength a week spread out over manageable 30 minute workouts. The workout can be done in the morning with a run at night (or vice versa) or if a dual morning/evening workout isn’t possible, I could do two P90X3 workouts in one day or add on one P90X3 workout at the end of a run or spin. P90X is an amazing program but the number one criticism is how long it is (on average 1 hour 15 min a day) and P90X3 has the solution. Another great aspect of P90X3 is that it requires the same equipment as P90X – simply a pull up bar, dumbbells or bands, and a yoga mat.

On Monday I took my “before” photos and my measurements. Despite weighing less than I did on day 90 of P90X, my measurements showed me that I’ve lost some muscle, which I definitely expected. My advice to anyone doing any Beachbody program is to be sure to take before and after photos and take measurements! So many people email me (I’m a Beachbody Coach) lamenting their lack of weight loss in the beginning of these programs even though they say they feel better and look better. Weight isn’t everything! Measurements and a before photo will tell you way more about your results than your weight ever will (case in point that I weigh 3-4 lbs less than my 2011 P90X “after” photos yet my waist is nearly an inch bigger).

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Monday was also Day 1 of the workouts and now we’re on Day 3. We also watched the intro DVD “How to Accelerate” and even spotted ME making a cameo appearance!!! After I submitted my P90X results to a contest on Beachbody, they contacted me about adding me to the infomercial. Apparently they’ve also used some of the footage for this video!

Doing Ab Ripper in the P90X3 "How to Accelerate DVD"

Doing Ab Ripper in the P90X3 “How to Accelerate DVD”

So far we’re really liking the program. It is 90 days with 3 phases with varying workouts, just like P90X. The workouts go by super fast and have very little warm-up and cool-down (sometimes the countdown on the video stops at 30 min and then continues with a cool-down) and there is no rest between moves. You basically are working your entire body hard for the full 30 minutes. The moves are a little more complex than P90X (in order to get multiple muscle groups working at once) but not so much that it’s impossible to do them. I’m not able to do any pull-ups yet I can still get a great workout in using a chair or the pull-up assist. The yoga is super rushed and definitely NOT zen, but I actually really liked it. You have to just take it as it is – a workout, not a yoga practice. P90X yoga was 90 minutes and it was the chief complaint of most P90Xers. And…I know it’s working because I’m SORE!!!

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Our P90X3 Calendar to help keep track of the workouts

If you’d like to join me in completing P90X3 you can purchase here: http://www.beachbodycoach.com/esuite/home/fitnessfatale (click Shop Team Beachbody and find it under fitness programs).

Do you like the idea of home fitness or do you prefer to work out at the gym or outdoors? 

Running For Fun & Chocolate

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This weekend I had an absolute blast running just for fun (and for hot chocolate and fondue) at the San Diego Hot Chocolate 15k. I found the sweet spot where I was able to run a race without caring about time and just enjoy myself.

It started Saturday morning when I had slated myself an 8-10 miler, all completely dependent on how I felt. I ended up settling on 8.5 miles since I woke up a little late and had to meet Asia and a few other fellow bridesmaids at 10:15 to continue our search for the perfect bridesmaid dress for Asia’s wedding. Mike doesn’t run with me often and lately he hasn’t been running a whole lot since he has been more into weight lifting and cross training and isn’t signed up for any running races. I was very happy when he said he wanted to join me on my run that morning. It was a perfect day for running – in the low 60s and gloomy. We had a great time running to Fletcher Cove and back, all along the coast. I felt really good and we picked it up a bit at the end – nothing too hard, just comfortable. My heart rate monitor hasn’t been working lately and instead of focusing on that, I just focused on how I felt. I found running in the high 8s was quite easy so I went with it. I finished the run feeling strong and good. I felt very optimistic about my upcoming half marathon training cycle. 

Sunday was supposed to be a rest day since I ran 4 times over the course of the week, with the majority falling at the end (tempo run Thursday, 6 miles Friday, 8.5 Saturday). We planned to go cheer on my Dad and Step Mom Denice at the Hot Chocolate 15k, have breakfast with them and then kill some time before we had to make it to a 1 year old birthday party that afternoon. I didn’t want to try to cram a workout in somewhere in the day so it was deemed a rest day. I had decided NOT to sign up for the Hot Chocolate 15k because I knew that I wouldn’t be fully recovered 3 weeks post marathon and I didn’t really want to pay $70 to run a race “for fun.” However, when a friend told me that her sister and boyfriend couldn’t  run the race, I thought it over for a bit and then decided what the heck!? Might as well run one for fun! Even better, Mike could also run with me!

At the expo!

At the expo!

Because I had someone else’s bib (and tore the timing chip off of it), it truly was a FUN RUN. The night before the race we met up with my parents and went to the expo to get our bibs and sweatshirts. We then headed to Little Italy, which is one of my favorite parts of downtown San Diego, and had a beer on a sunny outdoor patio before a delicious Italian dinner at one of the best Italian restaurants in little Italy – Bencotto Italian Kitchen.  I had a glass of wine, ordered an entrée I would never normally order the night before a race (pumpkin ravioli in a butter cream sauce…YUM!!!) and enjoyed it all.

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We weren’t stressed or rushed getting to the start line Sunday morning. We planned to meet my parents at 7:15 for the 7:45 start and left home around 6:15 to give ourselves time to get coffee, drive down and find street parking. We arrived with plenty of time and it was an easy race morning. We hung out and took some photos before the start and before we knew it, it was time to run!  We decided to start with my parents in the 2nd corral to the front. We started at the very back of this corral which was nice because as soon as we started to run, we weren’t getting passed or having to pass anyone – we were running very undisturbed which was nice! The corrals went off with 3 minutes between so it was peaceful. There wasn’t anything much to look at for the first mile so I people watched and chatted with Mike and with my Dad and Denice when possible. We stayed with my parents for about the first mile but then it was a little slower than comfortable for us to run, so we picked it up a little and pressed onward on our own.  

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IMG_3787Just as I remembered from last year, this course was very hilly and most of the climbing takes place in the first five miles. We kept the effort easy and continued to have fun through the miles. AT the second aid station we stopped and drank water and I used the porto potty during a race for the first and only time since my first ever half marathon in 2009. I usually would try to hold it but I didn’t really care so took a break! I even stopped to drink water before continuing to run. When we crossed the 5k mark I yelled “1/3 of the way there!” and jumped in the air. Let’s make this fun!! 

Dad and Denice at Mile 1!

Dad and Denice at Mile 1!

One of the best parts of starting in a slower corral and also not caring about your time, was that even though we were running easy, we passed people the entire time. This not only made me feel fast despite running way below PR pace, it also made the people watching better since we saw a variety of people along the course. There weren’t a ton of costumes but it’s always interesting to get a few sentences of someone’s conversation or check out people’s outfits or read their shirts. I was racing with a whole different lens than usual and it was pretty cool. Around mile 5 they were handing out chocolate and I eagerly slowed to take a photo and grab some. I considered eating it since I hadn’t’ brought any GU with me but it didn’t sound that great so I stuffed it in my belt.

Chocolate Aid Station!

Chocolate Aid Station!

The race really got fun once all the declines started. We continued to pass people and running got easier and easier. Every time we passed a DJ playing loud music we’d dance along to it. I had been telling Mike about that obnoxious “selfie” song but he hadn’t heard it yet and it was blaring over the speakers just before we started going up the final (and steepest) hill of the race around mile 7. It gave us a boost and we danced our way up it. At this point were now running the fastest yet. Once we got to the top of the hill we made our way through a small park and I knew it was all downhill from there.

Let's Take a Selfie!!!

Let Me Take a Selfie!!!

I was in a great mood heading down the hill toward downtown. There were more spectators out now and there was a row of little kids with their hands out and I went out of my way to slap all of them but they were all so distracted by a girl running in a Hello Kitty outfit behind me that they didn’t even pay attention! I got a little ahead of Mike down the hill and snapped a great photo of him running toward me

Mike Coming Down the Final Hill

Mike Coming Down the Final Hill

race front property!

race front property!

Once we were down the longest final descent there was one last steep hill and then we were officially in the home stretch. The final home stretch of the race somehow ended up on a street where many of the city’s homeless call their home and their tents were lined up on the side and a bunch of them were watching us and cheering us on. Around one last corner we saw the finish line and Mike and finished together. I jumped in the air as I crossed the finish line. Time for chocolate!!

Dad and Denice heading to the finish

Dad and Denice heading to the finish

Just as I said last year, the Hot Chocolate Race series is very well organized and I definitely recommend it to anyone who wants a fun race with some cool perks. The course itself isn’t a fabulous representation of San Diego and is pretty hilly but if you can get past that and just enjoy yourself, it’s a great race.

Have you ever run without a timing chip? 

Getting Ready for Spring Training

Happy first day of Spring!

The last three weeks were pretty great! Although I was a little low after returning from Phoenix, I’ve crafted myself up a nice little Spring Training Plan (as I call it) and I’ve spent quite a bit of time getting excited about things to come. At the same time, there has been plenty of relaxation. I took three full rest days post marathon and took the rest of the first week very light, with another full rest day to make it 4 for the first week. In the past I haven’t given myself as much rest the first week following the race and I think this really helped with my recovery (although I also think that it affected my mood at times as I’m so used to the daily endorphin high!).

View From Mt. Woodson

View From Mt. Woodson

At the top!

At the top!

The second week I got a little excited and signed up for three days in a row of 6 a.m. Pilates and added in more running, an easy spin, a 2.5 hour hike to Mt. Woodson and a long beach cruiser ride (any hill on a beach cruiser is like a mountain due to the fact that they only have one gear) for Mike’s birthday and a long run which ended up being longer than expected. I was planning on meeting Asia for the last few miles of her run but left a little too early and by the time I got to our meeting point she was still about 20 minutes away. So I just kept running and ended up running 10 miles. It’s not outrageous but probably a little more than I should have done two weeks after a marathon. I tried to spend as little time on my feet as possible the rest of the day to make up for it.

Wall Sit Contest!

Wall Sit Contest!

This week I was better about resting more and even had my first tempo run – the pace wasn’t fantastic but it felt good to push the pace a bit. I also got to join in on an ACTIVEx workout after work tonight with Mike’s coworkers. The workout was tabata style intervals of things such as push-ups, burpees, jump squats, and rows, among others. Each station has a workout and we rotated through in intervals. We wrapped it up with a wall sit contest. This workout definitely made me realize that P90X3 is going to kick my butt next week! I’ve lost a lot of push up strength!

One of many yummy meals with Mike over the weekend for his birthday celebrations!

One of many yummy meals with Mike over the weekend for his birthday celebrations!

In addition to my workouts easing, my diet has been much more lax. Leading up to the big race I was trying to avoid too much alcohol, sugar and dairy (though not strictly) and after it was all over, I enjoyed plenty of all of the above. It has been a fun three weeks of sleeping in, no scheduled or forced workouts, plenty of wine and beer, and treats. And that is exactly what I needed.

My homemade banana bread! It was an awesome mid-hike treat!

My homemade banana bread! It was an awesome mid-hike treat!

However, as I mentioned in my post about what’s next for me, I wasn’t necessarily feeling overtrained or burnt out leading into the marathon as I have in past big races (CdA, Euguene/OC), so my mind has been preoccupied a bit with big plans for my racing future.

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This weekend I started to read one of the two running training books I bought before I started training for the Surf City Marathon about a year and a half ago. I did read Advanced Marathoning and attempted to follow one of the plans in the book to prepare for Surf City (but ultimately wasn’t feeling ready for a full marathon attempt there and dropped to the half and then ended up hiring a coach to help me for Eugene), but I never touched the other book. The book is called “Run Faster… From the 5k to the Marathon” and it’s written by Brad Hudson, a former Olympic trials qualifier and current coach to Olympians and other professional runners. I started to read it on Saturday and ended up nearly reading it cover to cover over the weekend.

I will definitely write a more detailed post about Brad’s philosophy, which he calls “training responsively,” but the gist is that although he believes there are certain things that are proven to make you a faster runner, every runner needs to take in their individual strengths, weaknesses, experience, etc. into account when making a plan. Basically, you need to learn as much as you can about yourself as a runner and adapt the plan to you. I like this idea since I have struggled with truly believing in myself when following plans set by others.

I’ve decided to use Brad’s Half Marathon Level 2 plan to train for the Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon. Although it is a plan which contradicts what I just wrote above, it will be tailored to fit what I think I need going into the race. One of those things of course, is adding in cycling to get ready for the triathlon (oh yeah and swimming at some point…) and my 30 minute P90X3 strength workouts. I haven’t finalized the plan yet but I get excited thinking about it! wrote my own training plan for Ironman CdA based on lots of my own research – it wasn’t perfect but it worked! As a born planner, I really enjoy putting together my training plan. Also, putting it together myself allows me more flexibility in shifting workouts when needed based on how I’m feeling, my schedule and what I think I need to accomplish before going into the race.

I have one more weekend of low key workouts on the schedule, including a rest day on Sunday to go downtown San Diego and watch my dad and step mom run the Hot Chocolate 15k. And then….it’s on!!!

Do you like to make your own training plans? Has anyone ever used “Run Faster”?