This week has been pretty intense, exercise-wise. As I wrote in a post this past weekend, we were fairly lax in our nutrition last week and brought the intensity of our P90X workouts way down. Although we did P90X Legs & Back, tried the P90X Upper Body Plus workout and ran 30 miles last week, I skipped Yoga on Sunday and overall didn’t feel like I really got any good strength training or ab work in. Saturday was our longest run to date, 16 miles, and it was a mental and physical battle.
This week has been a physical battle to say the least! I really decided to “Bring It” again as Tony would say. My workout schedule this week:
- Monday: AM – Legs & Back, Ab Ripper; PM: Turbo Kick Box at 24 Hour Fitness (one of my old group fitness favorites!)
- Tuesday: AM – 6 mile interval run (1 mile easy followed by 2 one mile intervals, 2 half mile intervals and 4 quarter mile intervals and a recovery jog); PM: P90X Chest/Shoulders/Tris & Ab Ripper
- Wednesday: AM – 9 mile mid-week long run
- Thursday: AM – P90X Back & Biceps & Ab Ripper
- Friday Afternoon: 18 mile run (planned)
- Saturday: Rest
- Sunday: 6 mile run (planned)
A Friendly Reminder that P90X is HARD
Although we only had the P90X recovery week and one semi-lax week in between the last time we did Chest/Shoulders/Tris, I have to admit it was VERY hard!!! My reps were lower and I had to use lower weights than I did in Week 12 of P90X. This is not good news since we still haven’t taken the post-P90X Fit Test (Mike was out of town last weekend, I’m gone this weekend, every evening is full of other workouts!). It could have been that this workout was the 4th within about a 36 hour period for me, but overall I just felt less strong. The place it showed the most was the push-ups. It felt like a 5th grader was sitting on my back. It was a struggle to say the least. Ab Ripper was also especially difficult!
I was VERY sore for the two days following this workout. It felt good though – I know that what I did was working. Thursday we did Back & Biceps and I saw less of a change in my strength during this workout. I was also better rested and ate a half banana before it, both of which could have helped.
The fact that our strength (Mike noticed it too) already declined in just 2 weeks of taking off from serious upper body weight lifting was both motivating and unmotivating at the same time. Unmotivating due to the fact that we will seriously have to keep up this very tough regiment consistently for the rest of our lives if we want to continue to see results. On the other hand, it’s motivating in that it made me want to continue to put getting the two P90X upper body workouts as a priority in my weekly routine.
Running Makes Me Hungry but not Skinny
Another thing about P90X and marathon training is that it’s hard to eat less calories than you expend. Repeat-it’s VERY difficult to create a significant calorie deficit while training for a marathon. It seems counterintuitive – wouldn’t it be easy to lose weight when you are running 40 miles a week? Well, unfortunately a raging hunger accompanies those long runs. Wednesday I ran 9 miles in the morning with my good friend Allison and we were both ravenous all day long. Another friend, Asia, did her long run on Thursday and reported the same raging hunger. I have been diligent about tracking my calories in my P90X calorie counter (see right side bar) and tracked that I ate 2,500 calories on Wednesday, which is about 500-700 more than a normal workout day. It was impossible not to eat that much and I could have easily eaten more. When I finished any meal or snack I was starving within an hour.
We watched a Nova documentary a few months ago about a bunch of sedentary non-athletes that trained for 9 months for the Boston Marathon (obviously they didn’t qualify, they had special privileges for the documentary). At the beginning of the training program they were nearly all considered obese based on their body fat percentages (they didn’t look “obese,” just slightly to moderately overweight by American standards). Their VO2 Max (how efficiently your body works during exercise) was very poor. By the end of the 9 month training period, they were able to run 20 miles during a training run and their VO2 Max was excellent or superior, yet none of them lost weight. They were all still considered obese! Their body fat percentages didn’t even change. The only person who lost weight (40 lbs) was the woman who joined a boot camp class(ie strength training) and followed a low calorie diet. Unfortunately, cardio alone won’t make you skinny, but cardio, weight-lifting and dieting will.
18 Miles or Bust
Since I will be out of town this weekend and unable to attend my group run (which was a scheduled train run where the group takes the train out 18 miles and then runs back to their cars), Mike has agreed to run 18 miles with me Friday afternoon. My boss is also a runner and has agreed to let me leave at 2 p.m. Our plan is to leave one car in La Jolla cove and create our own version of the train run by running all the way back to our house in Encinitas. This is actually the reverse route of the very hill La Jolla half marathon that we ran on April 17, plus 6 miles or so. Are we crazy? Probably. I’m pretty nervous for this run for more than one reason. The first is that 16 miles was way harder than I expected. The second is that I’m running with Mike, who is much faster. Although I know he will go at my pace, I will probably go a little faster than I normally would. Third, we are running at 3 p.m. on a very warm day (expected to be 72 degrees). Last, we’re running up Torrey Pines hill, which is ok for a 6 mile jaunt but not the easiest hill to fit into a 18 mile run, especially when you’ve never run 18 miles before!
The plan is to carbo-load (bagel for breakfast, bagel sandwich for lunch!), drink LOTS of water (luckily this route is near several public beach restrooms for bathroom and water breaks), nutrition correctly with Cytomax and Gu, and just take it easy. No time pressure – just FINISH! Mike and I are kind of trying to look at the run as an adventure that we are doing together. We’re also rewarding ourselves by going to our favorite Thai restaurant afterward. We haven’t had Thai food since January (pre-P90X of course).
100 Days Down
I hope I make it through this week! If I complete my scheduled 6 mile run (which I will have to do at my grandma’s house as I will be there for Mother’s Day) and make it through this 18 miler, I will have run 39 miles this week. This is by far the most miles I’ve covered in 7 days, not to mention the 3 P90X workouts on top of it. I’m amazed at how far I’ve come since I started this program 100 days ago! Yep – today markes the 100th day of our P90X and Marathon hybrid training program. I’ve never looked or felt better in my life and I can’t wait for the next challenge!
Bring it! 🙂