Tag Archives: P90X and Marathon Training

Balancing P90X and Race Training Isn’t Easy

Balancing Half Marathon, Triathlon and P90X is Hard!

So if you have been looking at my workout log at all, you’ll notice that I haven’t been getting more than 3 P90X workouts in a week lately. Although we are following the P90X calendar and are technically in Week 2 of Phase 3, we have missed several workouts due to triathlon training, half marathon training and vacation. When we first started P90X again, we were more focused on building muscle and really I was focused on looking great for my Vegas and Dominican Republic trips. However, once I raced in the Solana Beach triathlon, I became more motivated to work on skills that would directly help me improve in races. Unfortuantely this meant that P90X had to get pushed aside a bit.

We have, however, managed to get in both of the upper body workouts each week (plus Ab Ripper) and we’ve managed to do Legs and Back about 5 times (out of the 7 times we were supposed to have done it). We’ve done Plyo about 5 times as well, but our Yoga disc hasn’t hit the DVD player since Recovery Week of Phase 1! I know the importance of yoga but in the end, it is the workout that gets left out. It’s just so long! Another reason why we’ve skipped Yoga is because we spent our recovery week on vacation doing other cross training activites rather than the prescribed Yoga, Kenpo and Core Synergistics.

So, although I still plan to take my after pictures and finally complete the Fit Test, I don’t really think that my results are going to be 100% indicative of someone going through the program. Not to mention that I only follow the nutrition plan about 4 days a week. However, I have seen improvements in my strength during this phase (although since our vacation I haven’t seen any improvements from the previous phases) and I certainly think that it is continuing to improve my running speed.

Is P90X Conducive to Multi-Sport Training?

Although the first time that I did P90X I was training for a marathon simultaneously (and improved my half marathon time by over 5 minutes in 12 weeks!), I don’t think that it is a good idea to do P90X in conjunction with a triathlon training program. A triathlon already involves three very different disciplines and any good training plan incorporates at least two workouts in each area each week. If you add on 6 days of P90x (or 5 in our case since we left out Kenpo), that’s 12 workouts a week. Not an easy feat for anyone. Not to mention that someone like me whose weakness is the bike should probably be biking three times a week or more, not just two. At times I’m torn and want to just continue in one direction and drop the other. I’ve considered just dropping P90X all together since I have an olympic distance triathlon coming up, but in the end, I decided to continue with my crazy dual training plan. I know that I can finish the distance of the olympic triathlon and right now is a great time to work on my strength before I go into full-time Ironman training in December.

In sum, although I believe it is possible and probably beneficial to train for a half marathon and do P9X simulatenously (as long as it’s not your first half marathon and you are in good shape to start with), I don’t think that training for a triathlon or marathon in conjuction with P90X is feasible. Unless perhaps you are unemployed and can sleep between workouts!

Workout Log

Upcoming Races:

Surf City Marathon: February 5, 2012

Ironman Oceanside 70.3: March 31, 2012

Ironman Coeur D’Alene: June 24, 2012

Week of 12/19 – 12/25

Monday: 60 min Sufferfest “The Hunted” cycling workout (easy effort)

Tuesday: 8.5 mile run + Ab Ripper AM; Sufferfest “Downward Spiral” spin workout PM

Wednesday: Easy 45 minute spin & push-up/core exercises AM; 5 mile run at lunch

Week of 12/13-12/18

Monday: P90X2 Yoga

Tuesday: Sufferfest “A Very Dark Place” spin workout on trainer AM; 7 x 800 Yassos PM (6.3 miles)

Wednesday: 45 minute easy cycle on trainer + P90X Ab Ripper AM; 8 mile run PM

Thursday: Rest (Mike’s Holiday Party)

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 18.5 mile run

Sunday: 28 mile bike + 3 mile run

Week of 12/5-12/11 (Recovery Week)

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: Insanity Fit Test & 6 mile run

Wednesday: Sufferfest – Angels Cycling video

Thursday: 6 mile run

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 16.5 mile run

Sunday: Girls on the Run 5k; 28 mile bike ride

Week of 11/28-12/4

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: Run 3.1 miles with Girls on the Run (practice 5k) + Insanity Max Plyo

Wednesday: Sufferfest “Angels”

Thursday: Insanity Max Cardio Conditioning and Cardio Abs AM; 7 x 800 Yassos PM (6.5 miles total)

Friday: Insanity Max Interval Circuit

Saturday: 38.5 mile bike (new route!) + 4 mile run BRICK

Sunday: 11.5 mile run (recovery)

Week of 11/21-11/27

Monday: 50 min Sufferfest “Very Dark Place” – easy effort AM; Insanity Max Plyo PM

Tuesday: 6 x 800 Yasso 800s – 6 miles total plus Insanity Cardio Abs

Wednesday: Insanity Max Interval Circuit

Thursday: Father Joe’s Thanksgiving Day 5k

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 43 mile bike ride

Sunday: 15 mile run

Week of 11/14 – 11/20

Monday: Insanity Max Plyo Circuit

Tuesday: 6 x 800 Yasso 800s intervals w/ warm-up and cool down – 6 miles total

Wednesday: Insanity Max Cardio Conditioning and Cardio Abs

Thursday: 5 mile easy run AM; Yoga at lunchtime

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Insanity Max Interval Circuit; 25 mile bike ride

Sunday: 13 mile run

Week of 11/7 – 11/13

Monday: Rest (Vacation)

Tuesday: Insanity Max Plyo Circuit, 1.5 mile run (with Girls on the Run)

Wednesday: 60 minute Sufferfest Spin Workout on Trainer – “Fight Club”

Thursday: Insanity Max Cardio Conditioning AM; “Yasso 800s” on treadmill PM – 5 min warm-up, 5 x 800 with 400 recovery jog, 5 min cool down jog

Friday: Insanity Max Interval Circuit

Saturday: 85 minute Sufferfest Spin Workout on Trainer – “Local Hero” and 4.3 mile run (Brick)

Sunday: 12 mile run

Week of 10/31-11/6 – “Recovery Week”

Monday: Insanity Core Cardio & Balance

Tuesday: 6 Mile Run

Wednesday: 60 min “Sufferfest” Cycling DVD -”Fight Club” AM; 60 min Dailey Method class PM

Thursday: 55 min moderate intensity spin on trainer PM

Friday: Insanity Core Cardio & Balance AM; 8 mile run PM

Saturday: Rest (Vacation)

Sunday: Rest (Vacation)

Week of 10/24-10/30

Monday: 60 minute Spinervals “Threshold Test and Sufferfest” DVD workout on trainer.

Tuesday: Insanity Plyometric Cardio Circuit

Wednesday: Insanity Pure Cardio & Cardio Abs AM; 5 Yassos 800s PM – 10 min warm-up, 5 min cool down jog – 5 miles total

Thursday:  50 min Sufferfest (“A Very Dark Place”) Cycling Workout on Trainer AM; 5 mile easy run PM

Friday: Insanity Cardio Power and Resistance

Saturday: 42 mile bike ride + 3.5 mile run (brick)

Sunday: 10 mile run

Week of 10/17 – 10/23

Monday: 5 mile run at lunch; Insanity Plyometric Cardio Circuit PM

Tuesday: Insanity Fit Test

Wednesday: Insanity Pure Cardio & Cardio Abs AM; 4 x 800 (Yasso 800s) w/ warm-up and cool-down jog PM – 4.5 miles total

Thursday: Rest

Friday: Insanity Cardio Power and Resistance

Saturday: Brick workout: 43 mile bike ride (flat) and 3 mile run

Sunday: 4 mile Tempo Run. Mile 1: 9:20 Mile 2: 8:40 Mile 3: 8:20 Mile 4: 7:58 + 5 min cooldown

Week of 10/10-10/16

Monday: Insanity Cardio Power & Resistance

Tuesday: Insanity Pure Cardio AM; 6 mile run PM

Wednesday: Insanity Plyometric Circuit

Thursday: Rest

Friday: Insanity Plyometric Circuit; Cardio Abs

Saturday: 50 mile bike ride

Sunday: 9 mile run

Week of 10/3-10/9

Monday: Insanity Fit Test

Tuesday: Insanity Plyometric Cardio Circuit AM; 5.8 mile run PM

Wednesday: Insanity Cardio Power and Resistance

Thursday: Insanity Cardio Recovery AM; 5.5 mile run PM

Friday: Insanity Pure Cardio

Saturday: 53 mile bike ride

Sunday: 8 mile run

Week of 9/25-10/2

Monday: P90X Shoulders and Arms/Ab Ripper AM; 1 hour Spin Class PM

Tuesday: P90X Plyometrics

Wednesday: 8 mile run (including 10 x 0.25 intervals) and Ab Ripper

Thursday:P90X Core Synergistics

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 25 mile bike ride

Sunday: Rest

Week of 9/18-9/25

Monday: 16 mile bike ride AM; 5 mile run PM

Tuesday: P90X Legs and Back/Ab Ripper AM

Wednesday: 1 hour spin class with 15 min warm up on own prior & 2 mile treadmill run brick

Thursday: 1 hour Daily Method Class

Friday: 5 mile run

Saturday: 45 mile bike ride

Sunday: Rest

Week of 9/12-9/18

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 16 mile bike ride

Wednesday: P90X Yoga

Thursday: Aquathon – 1000 m ocean swim; 3 mile  beach run

Friday: 15 mile bike ride

Saturday: 45 mile bike ride

Sunday: Rest

Week of 9/5-9/11 (End Modified Round of P90X)

Monday: 5 mile run

Tuesday: P90X Core Synergistics

Wednesday: P90X Yoga X AM; Master’s Swim PM (200 warm-up, 3 x 200 with drills, 8 x 100 medium-hard, 4 x 50 medium, 4 x50 hard, 4 x 50 sprint, cooldown)

Thursday: 4.25 mile run

Friday: 15.5 mile bike ride

Saturday: Walk

Sunday: TriRock Olympic Distance Triathlon – 1500 m swim, 14.5 mile bike, 6.2 mile run

Week of 8/29- 9/4

Monday: Run 5 miles & Technique Swim PM (less than 1,000 meters)

Tuesday: P90X Chest, Shoulders and Tris/Ab Ripper

Wednesday: 15 mile bike ride AM; 3 mile lactate threshold run PM

Thursday: P90X Back and Biceps/Ab Ripper

Friday: 60 minute spin class; 30 minute swim (focus on the catch)

Saturday: 32 mile bike ride

Sunday: 22 mile bike ride & 4.5 mile run brick

Week of 8/22-8/28

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: P90X Chest and Back/Ab Ripper AM; 17 Mile Bike Ride PM

Wednesday: P90X Plyometrics AM; TriClub Master’s Swim PM (300 warm up, 4 x 100 – 50 kick, 50 moderate, 10 x 100 base, 8 x 50 base, 6 x 50 kick, 4 x 50 fast/easy, 2 x 50 all out)

Thursday: 18 mile bike ride AM

Friday: 5 mile run and P90X Shoulders and Arms/Ab Ripper

Saturday: 40 mile bike & 3 mile run brick workout

Sunday: 19 mile bike ride

Week of 8/15-8/21

Monday: P90X Legs and Back/Ab Ripper AM

Tuesday: 17.5 mile bike ride AM; 4.3 mile run PM

Wednesday: P90X Chest, Shoulders and Triceps/Ab Ripper

Thursday: Lunchtime Yoga class; TriClub Aquathon PM (1,000 m ocean water swim; 3 mile beach run)

Friday: P90X Back and Biceps

Saturday: ~1.5 mile jog and stretch

Sunday: AFC Half Marathon – 13.1 miles

Week of 8/8-8/14

Monday: 6 Mile Run AM; Tri Club Master’s Pool Swim 1 hour PM (~2,000 meters – lots of speedwork)

Tuesday: P90X Chest and Back/Ab Ripper AM; 14.5 Mile Bike PM

Wednesday: 10 mile run AM

Thursday: Rest

Friday: P90X Shoulders and Arms/Ab Ripper AM

Saturday: TriClub Beginner Triathlon (300 meter swim, 7 mile bike, 2 mile run); 15 mile bike ride

Sunday: 8.75 mile run

Week of 8/1-8/7 (Vacation)

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: Spin Class

Wednesday: Spin Class & Core Workout

Thursday: 4 Mile Run, 10 Minute Elliptical

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Spin Class

Sunday: 24 mile bike ride

Week of 7/25 – 7/31

Monday: AM P90X Legs and Back; Ab Ripper; Tri Club Master’s Pool Swim 1 hour PM (~2,700 meters)

Tuesday: Belly, Butt and Thighs Bootcamp (30 min) & 6 x 0.25 mile intervals (8 -8.5 mph) on treadmill with 0.10 mile recovery jog (6.3 mph) & cooldown (2.5 miles) at lunchtime; 16.4 mile bike PM

Wednesday: P90X Chest, Shoulders & Tris/Ab Ripper AM

Thursday: Plyometrics

Friday: P90X Back and Biceps/Ab Ripper

Saturday: 12 mile run

Sunday: 18 mile bike ride and 1 hour Dailey Method class

Week of 7/18 – 7/24

Monday: P90X Chest, Shoulders & Tris/Ab Ripper AM; Tri Club Master’s Pool Swim 1 hour PM (~2,550 meters)

Tuesday: 9 mile cycle AM (race course)

Wednesday: P90X Plyometrics

Thursday: P90X Back and Biceps/Ab Ripper AM; Tri Club Aquathon PM (1,000 meter swim; 3 mile run)

Friday: 9 mile cycle AM (race course)

Saturday: Open water swim clinic – short swim; 1.5 mile easy run

Sunday: Solana Beach Triathlon – 400 meter swim (plus uphill run to transition); 9 mile bike; 3.1 mile run

Week of 7/11- 7/17

Monday: P90X Chest, Shoulders & Tris/Ab Ripper AM;  Tri Club Master’s Pool Swim 1 hour 10 min PM (~2,700 meters)

Tuesday: P90X Plyometrics AM; 16.4 mile bike ride PM

Wednesday: P90X Back and Biceps/Ab Ripper

Thursday: 9 Mile Interval Run (1 mile warm up followed by 1 mile hard/1 mile medium intervals)

Friday: P90X Legs and Back/ Ab Ripper

Saturday: Rest (Vegas)

Sunday: Rest (Vegas)

Week of 7/4 – 7/10

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 16.4 mile bike ride

Wednesday: P90X Yoga AM; Tri Club Master’s Pool Swim 1 hour PM

Thursday: P90x Core Synergistics AM; 5.3 mile interval/hill run on treadmill at lunch (30 min “Tread and Shred” class plus 20 min on own)

Friday: Yoga X

Saturday: 12 mile run

Sunday: Core Synergistics

Week of 6/27-7/3

Monday: Yoga X

Tuesday: Plyometrics

Wednesday: Cycle 7 miles AM; Chest and Back/Ab Ripper PM

Thursday: P90X Shoulders and Arms/Ab Ripper AM; 5.3 mile treadmill interval run at lunchtime

Friday: Swim – 100 m warm up; 5 x 4 of 50 m drills with 10 seconds rest (Thumb to Thigh, Catch Up Stroke, Closed Fist, Sprint); 50 m breaststroke, 150 m cooldown – 1,300 meters total (~30 min)

Saturday: 10 mile run (9:05 pace)

Sunday: P90X Legs and Back

Week of 6/20-6/26

Monday: Yoga X AM; Swim 1,300 meters PM

Tuesday: Chest and Back/Ab Ripper AM; Cycle 12 miles PM

Wednesday: Plyometrics

Thursday: Arms and Shoulders/Ab Ripper AM; Aquathon PM (1000 meter ocean swim and 3 mile run)

Friday: 70 minute spin class; 10 minutes of stretching

Saturday: 9 mile run (hilly route up Torrey Pines)
Sunday: P90X Legs and Back/Ab Ripper

Week of 6/13 – 6/19 (Start of P90X Round 2 and Triathlon/Half Marathon Training)

Monday: Yoga X

Tuesday: Chest and Back/Ab Ripper AM; Learn to ride road bike PM (not much actual riding)

Wednesday: Plyometrics AM; Swim Technique Workout PM

Thursday: Arms and Shoulders/Ab Ripper AM

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Beginner’s Practice Triathlon (300 meter swim, 7 mile bike, 2 mile run); P90X Legs and Back/Ab Ripper

Sunday: Beginner’s Ocean Water Swim Clinic; 7 mile run

26.2 Miles is Just a TINY Part of It

Wow! I officially conquered a marathon! There was so much training and planning in anticipation of June 5 and it came and went so quickly! I am having a lot of mixed feelings now that my first marathon is over – relief that I finished without injury, pride in completing the race in just over four hours, disappointment that I didn’t finish in under four hours, thankfulness for my great friends Allison and Asia who finished the race with me hand in hand, love for Mike who made training so much easier and enjoyable, heightened admiration for people that run ultra marathons (because believe me 26.2 miles wasn’t easy), and sadness that my first marathon training experience is now complete.

The Expo & Running Club Pasta Dinner

Counting Down at the Expo!

Friday afternoon I left work around 4 p.m. and carpooled with Allison and Mike down to the San Diego Convention Center, where the San Diego Rock n Roll Marathon Expo was being held. This expo was bigger and more entertaining than any I had been to before. After we checked in and got our “scwhag bag” (string bag full of coupons and advertisements for races and sports gear) and our t-shirts (I was disappointed that the t-shit was the same for both marathon and half marathon runners  and mine was a size too big), we switched our corral numbers. When we signed up for the race originally, we had guessed that we’d finish in 4 hours 30 minutes. Therefore, we were assigned corral 19. Now that we were anticipating closer to a 4 hour marathon, we wanted to makes sure that we could start closer to the front and wouldn’t get bogged down by passing slower runners in the beginning (at big races you are assigned one of many groups. Once the gun goes off, the first group begins and usually there is a wait time between one or more corrals so that everyone doesn’t start at once. You wear a timing chip on your shoe that activates when you cross the start line, so it doesn’t matter that you may start nearly 20 minutes after the gun goes off.) After we had changed our corral to 10, we made our way through the Expo, meeting up with the rest of our friends from our running group and perusing the stalls, eating samples of protein bars and shakes, drinking a beer (they sold $1 beers at the Expo), and talking to vendors.

The Vavi Running Club Crew!

After the Expo, we headed to the Vavi Running Club carbo-loading dinner, which was held at the Gaslamp Marriot. The first hour of the dinner consisted of drinks on the rooftop lounge called Altitude, which overlooks Petco Park, where the Padres play. After another beer (coach Blake assured us that beer is good carbo-loading), we headed downstairs for a carb-fest with our friends . Blake also had compiled a video that included pictures and video clips from the nearly 8 months of training together. I’m so thankful to have found an incredible group to run with and to have made such great friends in the process.

The Main Event – Marathon Summary

Ready to Race!

There are too many details to include them all and I doubt anyone really wants to hear them all, so here are the main points:

  • Wake Up Time: 3:30 a.m.
  • Race Day Breakfast: Peanut butter and banana toast/sandwich and coffee
  • Arrival at Race Start:  Just before 5 a.m
  • Corral Number: 9 (we somehow slipped into 9 instead of 10)
  • Race Gun Start Time: 6:15 a.m
  • Panic Moment: Trying to get my Garmin watch to work as we walked to the start

Getting My Garmin Ready - As Usual!

  • Food Consumed on Course: 5 Vanilla Bean Gus, Otter Pop (mile 22), orange slice (mile 18.5), 2 salt packets (mile 0 and 14), several cups of Cyotmax and water
  • # Aid Stations we Drank Water at: 16 (it was hot!)
  • Weather: VERY sunny with a high of 72
  • Easiest Mile (s): 1-5 (downtown San Diego), 19-21 (picked up the pace and was feeling good)
  • Hardest Mile (s): 8-9 (hill on the 163 freeway), 15-17 (boring road with no Ipod), and 21.5-25 (hit a “wall”).
  • Sidelines Cheer Teams: Mile 1 – My boss, Mile 6 – Former coworker Nichole, Mile 8 – Current Coworkers Michelle and Lisa, Mile 14 – Jen’s mom and boyfriend, Mile 20 – 4 of Jeremy & Asia’s close friends

Around Mile 8!

  • Most Horrific Sight: Woman who had crapped her pants and was running with liquid poo running down her legs.
  • Favorite Saying of the Day: Allison repeating “Best day EVER” over and over
  • Biggest Disappointment: Not having an Ipod (battery ran out)
  • Finish Line Pose: Holding hands over our heads with Allison and Asia

Post Race Relaxation at the VIP Tent

  • Finish Time: 4:02:00 (Allison crossed at 4:01:59 somehow even though we were holding hands!)
  • Average Pace: 9:14 min/miles
  • Overall Finish: 1,769 of 8,267 (21st percentile)
  • Division Finish (Females 25-29): 148 out of 1,029 (14th percentile)
  • Gender Finish: 543 out of 4,012 (13th percentile)

Celeb Sighting!

  • Celebrity Spottings: #3 marathon finisher, #1 half marathon finisher (Meb, San Diego local) and actress Chandra Wilson (who plays Miranda Bailey on Grey’s Anatomy) – all in the VIP section
  • Best Perk of Having VIP (thanks to a friend that works for Competitor): VIP parking at the start line and VIP bathroom

  • Post race feast – all you can eat and drink champagne brunch at Bali Hai restaurant on Shelter Island

I’ve Come a LONG Way

In sixth grade I ran a (timed) mile for the first time. It was a requirement in my P.E. class and at the time, it was the most difficult physical task I’d ever taken on.  I was fascinated by the students in class that could actually run the track four times without stopping (I would run the straight always and walk the corners). Needless to say, I wasn’t born to run.

At the end of 2008 when I decided to run my first half marathon, I was so proud of myself the first time that I ran four miles without stopping. Four whole miles with ZERO walking! I remember getting pedicures with a high school friend and her mom that afternoon and my friend bragged,  “Nicole ran FOUR miles today! Can you believe it?” The day that I finished the Carlsbad Half Marathon, I told myself I probably wouldn’t run another half marathon, let alone a full marathon. Although the race was fun, training alone and mostly on a treadmill just plain sucked.

My Support Group (couldn't have done it without them)!

A lot happened between my first half and my first full marathon, enough for a blog post in itself. The main reason I’m here today is from my support system: my boyfriend Mike,  my good friend Asia and her boyfriend Jeremy, my former coworker Amy, my new coworker Allison, and new friends Miranda and Jen, who I met through the VAVI running group back in October. Without these incredible friends motivating me, I wouldn’t have made it. Now here I am today, a marathon finisher. I crossed the finish line not alone, but holding the hands of two of my closest friends. What an incredible journey!

Now you may be wondering, will I do it again? HECK YES! I plan to do it all over again next year – VAVI Running Club and all.  I even have my sights on qualifying for the Boston Marathon. It may take a few years, but I think I can do it if I put my mind (and body) to it!

More Info on San Diego Rock n Roll Marathon

Course Map Link:  http://runrocknroll.competitor.com/files/2011/03/SD_11_Course-Map_05-12-11_vweb.pdf

Course Tour Video Link (see the course in fast motion!): http://runrocknroll.competitor.com/2011/05/san-diego/dodge-rock-n-roll-san-diego-course-tour-video_13398

Finish Line Video and Professional Pictures Link: http://www.asiorders.com/view_user_event_video.asp?EVENTID=75623&BIB=19449&S=230&PWD=

Getting Speedy with Yasso 800s

Last night at my Vavi Running Club weekly Tuesday night run, we did something a little different. Rather than our typical out and back 5-6 mile run, we did a group speedwork drill. In the past when we do intervals, we just run out a mile, then pick it up for the desired length (either 1 mile or ½ mile) then do a recovery jog then pick it up again. Although we definitely get a good workout by doing this, nothing could compare to last night’s Yasso’s 800s interval work!

What are Yasso 800s?

Bart Yasso, a manager at Runner’s World, invented this speed workout nearly a decade ago. According to an article on Runner’s World, since then literally thousands of runners have claimed that the program has worked for them. Here it is:

  1. Run 800 meters (that’s half a mile or two laps around a track) repeats in the same minutes/seconds as your hours/miles goal time for a marathon (ie if you are shooting for a 3 hour, 30 minute marathon, run each 800 in 3 minutes and 30 seconds).
  2. Between sets, jog or walk for the same amount of time as your 800 meter run (3:30 in this case)
  3. Do this work out once a week, starting with 4-5 and building up to 10.
  4. If you can consistently finish all 10 800s at your desired pace, you should be able to run the marathon at this pac

How We Did Them

Our running coach, Blake, had us start out with a nice “easy” 1.25 mile warm up jog. We ran from our meeting point in Crown Point to the Fanuel Park that is on Sail Bay. Then, we ran back at lactate threshold pace (about 1 min/mile faster than your normal “easy” pace). I think we were a little excited because we ran our first 1.25 miles at a 8:55 pace (usually easy would be 9:20-30ish) then ran the LT 1.25 miles at a 8:10 pace.

After we arrived back at the meeting point Blake announced that we were in Group A (the fast group!) since we arrived back soonest. Our group of five girls were the only females in the pack – the rest were super fast boys! Blake had set up two sets of two cones, one set at the start and the other set 400 meters down the boardwalk. Since the boardwalk is busy, we actually ran the majority of the first 400 meters on the grass. Once our group had dispersed, we were allowed to run on the boardwalk. Oh yeah, and the set of two cones that we had to loop around to come back was at the top of a grassy “knoll” has Blake called it. Basically a small hill. No fun!

We were instructed to run at 95% of our full exertion. The first 800 I went all out and ended up coming in around 3:15. The next few were closer to the 3:20s. The 4th I came in at 3:30. During the 5th, which I believed to be the last, I pushed t really hard and sprinted to the finish, coming in at 3:19. However – Blake announced that we were doing a bonus 800! I told Mike that we don’t quit when Tony adds in bonus rounds during P90X so we obviously have to do this one. I was out of energy but pushed through and honestly can’t’ remember what my time was on the 6th one.

3:20ish Average Equals 3:20 Marathon? Not Quite…

I was absolutely exhausted by the end. Blake only let us rest and recover for 3 min between sets (which is less than I should be since I was doing the 800s closer to 3:30). I jogged a little bit after each 800 and then walked and then rested for the last minute or so. These were exhausting! But, the good news is that my times were fairly consistent and really fast! I think with several more weeks of these, I really could get up to 10 at a 3:30 average. I think I’d need to actually jog the entire rest/recovery segment to make my results completely valid though. But one thing I am pretty confident in – I think I could do 10 of these at a 4:00 average! Which means…. a sub 4 marathon? Hah! Not getting my hopes up but you never know (we are guessing we’ll finish around 4:15 and our wave start is the 4:30 group)!

This exercise really proved to me the value of a group! I definitely wouldn’t’ have pushed myself to run these intervals at at sub 7 min/mile pace had I been alone. Last week I ran my intervals on my own and did 2 one mile intervals, 2 half mile intervals, and 4 quarter mile intervals. Most of the intervals were run at about an 8-8:15 min/mile. I definitely had more gas in the tank that morning but without the group competitiveness to get me going, I slacked a little (don’t get me wrong it was still very difficult and I’m sure it was an effective workout!). At this point, my ultimate goal has remaining consistent - I just want to finish the marathon, not race it.

I definitely want to incorporate speed training into my workouts at least once per week. This was the third week in a row that I ran intervals sand I think that it builds mental toughness as well as increases your VO2 Max. Additionally, it is a confidence booster to see that I can run that fast! I highly recommend this exercise for anyone who wants to increase speed (and burn major calories)!

Lift. Run. Repeat.

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! :)

Marathon Training in the Heat

This weekend we ran our longest training run to date – 16 miles! Lately San Diego weather has been absolutely perfect – for most people that is. For runners, it’s been a little on the warm side. While 75 degrees doesn’t sound too miserable, runners are always told to dress for runs as though it is 15-20 degrees warmer due to the fact that the body heats up internally during a run. So basically, if it’s 75 and sunny in San Diego it feels like 90 and sweltering inside my body.

After running 16 miles, most of which were down a long, flat, boring highway on Coronado Island called the Silver Strand, in very warm weather this Saturday, I decided to do some research on running in the heat. Also, this blog was partially inspired by Robin’s recent blog post about running in the Florida heat. Last, this weekend I will be otherwise engaged and won’t be able to join my normal Saturday morning group run. Luckily, my boss is allowing me to leave at 2 p.m. on Friday to run my scheduled 18 miles. Even more fortunate – Mike has agreed to run it with me. The bad news? It’s supposed to be 73 degrees on Friday and we’ll be running right in the middle of the day. 

How The Body Works Differently in Heat

I began writing this blog yesterday and ironically this morning our running coach sent out an email and included a link to a blog with some info on running in the heat. It was very interesting (see it here ). Based on this blog and other online reserach, I came up with some of the ways our bodies change when the temperature gets over 65 degrees (yes 65 degrees seems cool, but like I said – it feels like running in 80 !):

  1. When the temperature gets over 65 degrees, your body physically can’t get rid of the heat as fast as you are producing it, resulting in a rise in core body temperature.
  2. A rise in temperature also decreases the time it takes for you to start sweating, dipping into your precious water reserves early (as compared to  a run under 65 degrees where you won’t really start heating until until 30-45 minutes of running).
  3. As your body temperate goes up, it triggers a rapid dispersion of blood into the capillaries of the skin which reduces the amount of water that it can hold and disperse to your muscles.
  4. Less water dispersed to your muscles means the receive less water and nutrients.
  5. Less water and nutrients increases the time it takes for your body to remove lactic acid build up.
  6. And last, lactic acid = fatigue.
  7. Fatigue = a grouchy, slow runner!

10 Tips For Running in the Heat

  1. Schedule your runs in the early morning or late evening (in humid weather, early morning is always better).
  2. Hydrate BEFORE your run (your urine should be light yellow).
  3. During the run, aim to drink 16-28 ounces of fluid PER HOUR. It’s better to carry a water bottle or wear an uncomfortable fuel belt than end up cutting your run short from exhaustion!
  4. Find a course that involves shade and run on the side of the street that is shaded, if there is one.
  5. Drink or eat salt. If you are drinking a lot of water and not adding any salt back, you can suffer from hyponatremia. Sports drinks with electrolytes contain salt but some runners even carry salt packets and get their goodness straight from the source!
  6. Don’t wear cotton clothing and wear as little as possible. Purchase moisture-wicking clothing that literally will remove the water from building up on your skin and warming up.
  7. Pour water on your head! It really does help (but watch out for too much water as it can cause chaffing if your shorts get wet)!
  8. Drink the coldest water possible.
  9. Practice in the heat – if you race day may be a warm day, be sure to practice some shorter runs in the heat and then work your way up to longer runs.
  10. Wear sunscreen! Sunburn can further dehydrate you.

Look out for signs of heat exhaustion, heat stroke, heat cramps and hyponatremia. If you feel dizzy or lightheaded, are disoriented, have stopped sweating when you know you should be, have goose bumps in hot weather or your skin feels clammy, stop exercising, get out of the sun and seek medical attention.

Heat Here We Come!

This Friday I plan to carry a water bottle along with a baggie with a couple of scoops of Cytomax so that I can mix it in during one of our water stops (we are running along the water mostly so there are several public restrooms). There is plenty of sodium in my Cytomax sports drink and my GU packets to get me through the run. And of course, I plan to cover myself in sunscreen and drink plenty of water the morning and evening before the run. If anything, this could be great practice for the actual race. Atlhough June is typically very cloudy and on the cool side in San Diego, you never know what kind of curve ball mother nature is going to throw you! And with a 6:30 wave start and an estimated 4:00-4:30 finish time, we won’t be finished running as late as 11 a.m.!

Wish us luck!

P90X Day 90 – Before and After Pictures & Measurements

We made it!  After so much talk and anticipation about starting our P90X journey, it’s hard to believe that it is over. Well, our first “round” is over. P90X is definitely going to continue to be a big part of our workout routines each week even though we are now “P90X Graduates.”

If you want to purchase P90X and have me as your Beachbody Coach, click here.

How I Did It

First, in order for everyone to understand exactly how I got where I am now, I want to list some of the nuances of how we followed the P90X fitness and nutrition program. The main factor that will be different from most people’s P90X experience is that we were training for a marathon during P90X. Here is how I got my results:

Phase 1:

  • Completed every P90X workout
  • Starting Week 2, ran twice a week, no more than 12 miles/week (double day blog post here)
  • Followed the P90X nutrition plan portions very closely (i.e. only 1 carbohydrate/day!)
  • Ate 1,800-2,000 calories/day
  • Only one cheat meal
  • Cut out completely: soda, coffee, caffeine, fried food, chocolate and alcohol
  • See more about how we tackled Phase 1 on my blog post here

Phase 2:

  • Completed every P90X workout, except Kenpo (replaced with long run on Saturdays)
  • Ran 2-3 times a week, from 17-22 miles/week
  • Followed Phase 2 P90X nutrition plan closely, but with more exceptions (more carbohydrates and fruit on double workout days or long run days)
  • Aimed to eat between 1,800-2,000 calories on single workout days and 2,000-2,200 calories on double workout days (i.e. P90X in the morning, 6 mile run in the evening)
  • Had at least one cheat meal/week
  • Drank alcohol on three occasions (2-5 drinks at each)
  • See more on Phase 2 results at my blog post here

Phase 3:

  • Completed every P90X workout, except Kenpo (replaced with long run on Saturdays)
  • Ran 2-3 times a week, from 22-27 miles/week
  • Followed Phase 3 P90X nutrition plan closely, but with more exceptions (more carbohydrates and fruit on double workout days or long run days)
  • Aimed to eat between 1,800-2,000 calories on single workout days and 2,000-2,200 calories on double workout days (i.e. P90X in the morning, 6 mile run in the evening)
  • Had about 1-2 cheat meals/week
  • Drank alcohol on three occasions (1-3 drinks at each)
  • More on Phase 3 nutrition plan here

Results

Ok now on to the good stuff. Where did all this working out and dieting get me? To a GREAT place. My boyfriend Mike also followed the plan with me and is training for the marathon as well. Check out our measurement changes (mine are in pink, his are in blue):

From Day 1 to Day 90

Weight Change from Day 1: -10.8 lbs; -5.6 lbs

Waist Change from Day 1: -2.25 inches; -3.5 inches

Hips Change from Day 1: -1.5 inches; -1.75 inches

Chest Change from Day 1: -1.75 inches; +0.75 inches

Legs Change from Day 1: -1.5 inches;  +0.25 inches

Bicep Change from Day 1: -.05 inches (apparently overall my arms shrank!);+1.25 inches

I was so pleased with our measurements. I was definitely not expecting to lose nearly 11 lbs during this program and over 2 inches off my waist! Mike’s waist shrank by 3.5 inches – incredible! It’s interesting to look back at my before pictures. At the time, I was pretty content with my body. I knew that I could make improvements, but I was happy enough with the fact that I could eat whatever I wanted on weekends, indulge a few times throughout the week and still be considered in fairly good shape. My clothes all still fit (I would always cut back when they got too tight), and I had just achieved my half marathon goal time of less than 2 hours.  I felt that I was fairly healthy and that my weight just seemed to want to stay where it was, as it had for the last several years. My current weight is less than I can remember seeing on the scale. It’s just a little more than the weight as I was when I was 19 years old (and I didn’t have a 4 pack then!).

Before and After Photos

We’re planning to take the Fit Test within the next week so stay tuned for a post on that. But now let’s get to what you really want to see – before and after pictures!

Ab Ripper Really Works!

I plan to write an entire blog entry on my thoughts on P90X as a whole, but to sum it up – I LOVE this program. As I’ve mentioned before, prior to P90X I had run 3 half marathons and consistently worked out 5 times a week for the last year and a half (and probably 4-5 times a week for years prior to that). However, I wasn’t seeing the results I wanted. I hopped from workout fad to fad diet, trying to find something that worked, and ultimately I think I wasn’t really focusing on anything. The biggest change for me with P90X was the diet – cutting way back on frozen yogurt, alcohol, sugary coffee drinks, diet soda and big meals on the weekend really made the difference. Another huge change was going from strength training possibly 1-2 times a week to consistently 3 times a week, with less focus on full-body strength training and more focus on specific body parts.

I am SO pleased with my results. I can’t wait to see how we look after the next 90 days! No, we aren’t starting P90X over from day 1, but we do plan to incorporate it into our marathon and triathlon training (marathon June 5 and triathlon July 24). Another blog post to come on my post P90X workout plan! Stay tuned for even more changes!

Update – since receiving such amazing feedback on my results I have become a Team Beachbody coach. If you would like me to be your coach or if you want to purchase P90X or P90X2 for yourself, please go here: http://beachbodycoach.com/esuite/home/fitnessfatale . I would love to help you!

P90X Made Me a Faster Runner

Yesterday I completed my 4th half marathon (3rd within the past year), the La Jolla Half Marathon. As I’ve explained in previous posts, this race was definitely not the focus of the past 3 month’s training. After my last half marathon, I started P90X. (January 27). For the first phase of P90X, I ran 2x/week and starting in the 2nd  phase, jumped it up to 2-3x/week and starting skipping Kenpo in favor of long runs that were anywhere from 8-14 miles long. The whole reason I ran La Jolla was because I want to be a San Diego Triple Crown finisher (complete 3 local San Diego half marathons within the same year) and I wanted to use it as a training run for the Rock n Roll Marathon, my ultimate goal.

Going into this race, I was a little nervous. First, La Jolla is the hardest course in San Diego, and one of the more difficult halves in the U.S., as it is very hilly. The ultimate challenge is the 420 foot climb beginning at mile 6 (about a 6% grade) and continuing to mile 7.5.  The steep decline on the other side is even worse on some runner’s poor knees and quadriceps. The race finishes just after a 150 foot hill climb and decent (see the race profile in my blog about hills here).

As emphasized in my post about the Carlsbad half marathon, I was dead set on breaking 2 hours. My friend Asia and I attempted this feat last August at AFC and failed. Although I was able to break 2 hours at Carlsbad, Asia was out of the country for the race, and she was determined to break 2 hours at La Jolla. Asia is the friend that introduced me to P90X and she is currently on her 2nd round (modified for marathon training this time). So, although I was trying not to put pressure on myself to break 2 hours again this race, I knew that if my good friend and running partner was trying to do it, I would be too.

Pre-Race Preparation

One thing I tend to do before races is get a little excited about the “carbo-loading” aspect. I tend to go a little overboard and ultimately feel stuffed and bloated before the race. Not a good idea! This time, I tried to stick to mostly P90X friendly foods (swapping out whole-grain bread for white bread when possible to avoid a lot of fiber). However, I still ended up eating a little too much on Friday and Saturday and was feeling pretty lethargic by Saturday afternoon. At around 5 p.m., Mike and I laced up our Nikes and headed out for a super easy 1 mile run (see my other pre-race taper exercises here). San Diego was unusually warm on Saturday (about 80 degrees), so the 1 mile run was enough to work up a sweat. We came home and stretched for about 15 minutes and then showered and ate my ceremonious chicken sausage pasta (I’ve had it before every race). We also decided to have a recovery shake after dinner as our dessert. I went to bed Saturday night feeling a little too full (not a good idea for race preparation!).

As for hydration, I definitely had that one down. I drank massive quantities of water on Friday and Saturday and was going to the bathroom every 45 minutes it seemed! I was worried about the heat wave approaching. The morning of the race, I drank about 16 ounces of water about 1 ½ – 2 hours before the start. My breakfast was my typical banana peanut butter toast.

On the way to the course, we decided to do something VERY off-routine and stop for coffee. Our running group had a nutrition clinic a few weeks prior and the nutritionist said that if a non-coffee drinker (or former coffee drinker in our cases!) were to drink coffee on race morning after not having it for at least 10 days, their performance would be boosted. Given that we haven’t had coffee since the day before we started P90x over 80 days ago, we were definitely prime candidates to feel the effects of coffee. Although I was worried about it upsetting my stomach, I went ahead and got a small cup of coffee with creamer and 1 sugar. It tasted like heaven and Mike and I were bonkers for about 20 minutes afterward, hopped up on caffeine.

The Race

The Vavi Running Club - The La Jolla Half Marathon 2011

Luckily, the fog rolled in for the race and the sun was nowhere to be found on Sunday morning. It was nice and cool – perfect racing temperature! We met up with our friends, took the traditional pre-race pictures with our VAVI running group, made one  last bathroom stop, and then lined up for the start. The La Jolla Half Marathon has two different start groups – the sub-8 min/mile group and the above 8 min/mile group. We decided to start in the middle of the first group, although our estimated time was 9 min/mile, mostly because we didn’t want to spend the first mile dodging slower runners. We figured we’d let others dodge us!

Pre-Race Excitement!

I was very nervous waiting for the race to start – more nervous than before Carlsbad. After the horn blew, we took off, and were glad to find that we weren’t being passed by all that many people. Apparently a lot of other runners had the same idea as us to start with the faster group. Our plan was to run the first 5 miles at a 8:50 average so that when we got to the bottom of Torrey Pines hill at mile 5 we’d have some cushion to work with when our pace significantly decreased up the hill. We ran the first mile at a 9 min/mile pace. For mile 2, we increased our speed and clocked about a 8:35 mile pace. By the 4th mile, our average pace was down to 8:45 or so, despite having run up a two fairly significant rolling hills. Around mile 4.5 I downed my first GU, in anticipation of the water station at the bottom of the hill at mile 5.

The Dreaded Hill

When we reached the hill, I was feeling good. As predicted by both Blake, our running coach, and by Mike, my boyfriend, we flew up the hill…well maybe not flew, but we definitely passed a TON of people. In preparation for the race, we ran up Torrey Pines hill a total of 6 times. Two times we met after work and ran up it TWICE in one workout (a 6 mile hill workout). We were ready for this hill! We took the most direct route up the hill – straight up the center and never hugging the corners. Although I was very winded and my legs were screaming, I felt pretty good going up the hill. I was confident in our pace and our ability to achieve our goal. At the end of the most difficult and steep portion of the hill (about ¾ a mile up), some people hooted and shouted in excitement. I would have, but I was too winded.  After slowing down a bit to catch our breath, we powered up the remaining ¾ of a mile until we reached the top. I opened another GU and had about half at this point, with water. We continued on the flat part of the race that overlooks Torrey Pines golf course. At this point, I was elated. I took off one of my headphones and excitedly told Asia that we were on pace – our average pace had only dropped to about 8:55 and we still had a two mile run downhill to take advantage of. I was so proud of us! This was the first time that it crossed my mind that I could break 1:55 (which was going to be my goal time for AFC in August).

Right before we headed down the hill, I took the 2nd half of GU and stopped at the aid station, then we powered down it. Some people were literally sprinting down, but we kept a steady pace of between 7:30 and 8 min/mile, not wanting to do damage to our quadriceps and knees. I definitely felt it in my knees! By the bottom of the hill, I felt great. I had total control of my breath, my legs felt light, and I was ready to get after it. We were now at mile 11. I took another half of a GU, and set my sights on the finish. Around this time, we hit another water station, but I was so amped up that I ran through it. I had been going through the aid stations slightly faster than Asia, but she would catch up to me shortly after. However, this time I was feeling so fantastic that I kept up my 8min/mile pace and unfortunately I didn’t see Asia again until the finish.

Finishing Strong

At this point, I was passing people pretty frequently. As I approached the last hill, I knew I’d have to dig down deep but that I could do it. I powered up the hill, passing several very fit men on my way up, including one that I recognized as a strong runner from my running group. I felt great. As I reached the top of the hill, there was a group of supporters with signs indicating that the end was near. I dug down deep and powered forward down the hill, at one point slowing down significantly in order to avoid slipping on wet cobblestones. After a very steep section of the hill, I saw the La Jolla Cove, one of the most beautiful sights in San Diego, and more importantly, the finish line.  For the last few hundred meters, I literally sprinted my heart out. I had plenty of gas left in the tank! When I crossed the finish line, I knew it had done it – a sub 1:55 half marathon! And the best part was that it wasn’t that hard! It was by far the most energized I’d ever felt after a race. I felt like I was walking on air.

I looked back and Asia crossed just about 45 seconds behind me. I was elated. I couldn’t believe how much we had improved since we re-started our endurance journey just less than a year prior.  Last May I struggled to finish 6 miles at a 10 min/mile pace and here I was running 13.19 (according to my watch) miles at a 8:44 pace!!!

P90X Improves Running Speed

We all PRed - Winners!

Now, let’s recap. After running AFC at a 2:01:59 last August, I took a month off and then ran 4x/week in preparation for Carlsbad in January. I finished this relatively flat course exhausted with a 1:59:26. I started P90X three days later, completing 6 P90X workouts/week plus running 2x/week for the first month, then 5 P90X workouts and running 2-3x/week for the next 1 ½ months. I then proceeded to run 5 minutes and 5 seconds faster on a significantly harder course just 12 weeks later…. With LESS running? Hmm… Do you think P90X had something to do with this?! I do!

I’m not the only one that showed drastic improvements. Asia PRed by TWENTY minutes! Asia is on her 2nd round of P90X. Her boyfriend Jeremy, who hadn’t run a half marathon since he ran with Asia in the Silver Strand Half Marathon in 2008, ran La Jolla in 1:36, a whopping 40 minutes faster than his first half marathon. And then there’s my boyfriend Mike,  whose previous PR was at La Jolla two years ago when he was training for his Iron man triathlon. He improved his PR by 2 minutes this year, with a of 1:34:00.  More significant though, is that this is a 7 minute difference from his time at Carlsbad 3 months ago (pre-P90X).

How My Results Have Changed My Marathon Training Plan

I was planning on dropping the Legs & Back and Plyometrics workouts of P90X after we finish our first round, since I would be adding one more run per week and also adding a mid-week long run of 8-10 miles each Thursday. However, after my results at La Jolla, I think I am going to continue to work in Legs & Back every week (except recovery weeks) and try to get a few more Plyometrics sessions in (probably not every week). I really think that strengthening my legs was the main reason why I was able to PR on such a difficult, hilly course. Hills are about strength more than endurance. I want to be as strong as possible when I run 26.2 miles in 6 weeks!

Stay tuned for more improvements and hopefully more (personal) record breaking runs!

P90X & Marathon Training – My First Double Day

The Vavi Running Club - Pre-Carlsbad Half Marathon

 The VAVI Running Club

As I did for the Carlsbad half marathon,  I joined the VAVI Running Club to train for the La Jolla Half Marathon (April 17) and the Rock n Roll Marathon (June 5).  The VAVI Running Club meets twice a week – once on Tuesdays at 6 p.m. for either an easy, short run or an interval/lactate threshold run, and then again on Saturdays at 7:30 a.m. for the long run. I trained for my 2nd half marathon (Carlsbad being my 3rd) with a good friend of mine, Asia, who runs about my pace and was also aiming for that coveted 2 hour half marathon. I found that it was MUCH more enjoyable to run with a friend and that the 2 hour chats we had on our runs brought us even closer. However, Asia would be out of town for the  Carlsbad half and therefore I was faced with the daunting task of running up to 12 miles before the race, all alone. Luckily, I found Vavi, and the rest was history. I met some really awesome people in the Vavi group and haven’t had to run solo since!

Because I liked the Vavi running club so much, I encouraged Asia and her boyfriend Jeremy to sign up with me for the Rock n Roll full marathon. One of the advantages to having a running group is that on the longer runs, there are aid stations set up with a jug of water and a jug of a sports drink. Another advantage is that Vavi sets up our courses for us so that we aren’t running the same ‘ol route every week.

 My First Double Training Day

This Tuesday Mike and I did our P90X Chest and Back workout in the morning and I was able to get to work in time to be able to leave at 5 to get to the first Vavi run of the new season. Although as a Level 1 nutrition plan follower I am only allotted one fruit per day, I “splurged” and an extra piece of fruit an hour before my run to ensure I had enough energy to make it through.

This would be my first run since the half marathon, nine days previous. As it’s the beginning of the running season, we only ran four miles, and luckily, it felt great. We took it easy (about a 9:40 pace) and I was able to catch up with Asia, who had just returned from her trip to Brazil, while we ran. Overall, the run went smoothly and I didn’t feel exhausted the next morning for the Plyometrics workout.

Attempting to Incorporate P90X into the Marathon Training Schedule

 

 

 

If Homer can do it, I can!

 

This morning our coach sent out the 18 week marathon training plan. I mapped out the plan on my google calendar and then added my P90X workouts. I have to say it was overwhelming to look at it! And the scariest part is that I didn’t even add the mid-week runs that I’ll have to do on my own to the calendar! The plan right now is to run on top of the normal P90X workouts only two times per week for the first three weeks of training. After three weeks (and when we enter Phase 2 of P90X and get more carbs) I will ramp it up to three runs per week. As of now, the calendar has us doing the Back and Legs workout the day before or the day of our Saturday long runs. Whether or not we’ll continue to work our legs the day so close to our long runs is still up for debate. We are considering swapping Legs and Back for the Chest and Back day in order to ensure that our legs are rested for the long runs. The downside is that this switch would mean we’d be working our legs the day before plyometrics. Ultimately, I think it’s more important to be well rested for long runs than plyo. We can turn off a plyo dvd but we can’t magically finish a nine mile run halfway through. Once the long runs ramp up to 7 or 8 miles, I plan to substitute in my long runs for Kenpo X. Basically, after that point, we’ll only do Kenpo during recovery weeks.

Although the aforementioned workout routine sounds frightening, P90X does have a “doubles” program which incorporates extra cardio three days a week. Someone following the doubles plan would do the regular six workouts each week and then add the Cardio X dvd three times a week. Although Tony Horton P90X guarantees that P90X will get you in the best shape of your life, there is still an option to accelerate results by adding cardio. The mere fact that the creators think that there is a select group out there capable of NINE very intense workouts a week gives me some reassurance that I can train for a half marathon while on P90X, especially with the substitution of the long run for KenpoX.  I’m not trying to break any records at the half in April and we will finish P90X with six weeks left to solely focus on training for a full marathon (I’m sure we’ll sprinkle some P90X dvds in each week). I think if I were truly focused on achieving a personal record in the half marathon, I’d have to take P90X down a notch and running up a notch. However, since I’m looking at the La Jolla half as a training run (albeit a very difficult one – starting at mile 6 there is a 420 foot hill which you later have to run down from miles nine through eleven), I think I’ll be ok.

And of course, I will be eating additional calories on the days that I run, although I do not plan to eat as many calories as I burn (ie not adding 1,300 calories to my day for a 13 mile run). It should be interesting to see how my results pan out if I keep up with this lean diet through the race.

P90X Doubles Forum:

 I found this great forum for questions from P90X users who are planning on doing the doubles program or incorporating running:

http://www.extremebodyworkout.com/blog/2008/07/01/p90x-approaches-doubles-approach/

Last – if any P90X users who are also runners stumble upon my blog, I’d love to hear your experiences.

TAKE IT ONE DAY AT A TIME & KEEP PUSHING PLAY