Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Transition Week

Last week I wrapped up week 10 of the P90X program. It's actually a 13 week program, but I feel like I've gotten what I wanted out of it, and honestly I'm getting bored with it and I'm ready to get back to doing more running.

Last weekend I ran a local 5k as a way of testing myself to gauge where I'm at. I ran a 27:21, which I'm happy with considering the heat and how little running I've done until just recently. Anyway, it was good enough to convince me that P90X has served it's purpose of grinding me back into half-way decent shape after taking a few (as in 4 or 5) months off from running. I think I'm at least ready to get back to a regular running program.

So, right now my calendar has workouts for the next 14 weeks, which gets me to a half marathon in late October. My goal is to set a new HM PR, so that's the focus of my training between now and then. My training plan is based on Hal Higdon's advanced half-marathon training program. I chose it because it includes a nice mix of speed work, strength/core training, and long runs. For strength/core workouts, I will be mixing in some of the P90X workouts: Plyometrics, Core Synergistics, Ab Ripper X, and maybe some others.

Last night was the first workout of the new plan, which was hill repeats. I live in north Texas, which is pretty flat. But if you look around enough, you can find some decent hills. I found one that is about 400m long and has about an 8% grade overall. Actually it seems to get steeper as you go, or maybe it just feels that way. It was challenging, but I enjoyed being out running instead of on a yoga mat in front of the TV watching yet another P90X video.

By the way, I think P90X is a great program and highly recommend it if you are looking for an all-around fitness program. I couldn't be happier with the progress I made in only 10 weeks.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Where I'm at, where I'm going

So tomorrow will be day 45 of P90X. I'm almost half-way through, with about 6 weeks to go. That means it's about time to start planning beyond P90X.

My biggest goal for this fall/winter racing season is to run a sub-2hr half marathon. I'll have three shots at it. I'm planning to run a half in October (Boo Run in Cleburne or Allstate in Dallas), another in November (Azle Lake Run), and another in December (White Rock Dallas half marathon).

A 2-hr half marathon is about a 9:09 pace. So that's the target.

This morning I headed out for a 4 mile run. I took it easy the first mile, then picked up my pace for the remainder of the run. The result was an average pace of about 9:53, which required a moderate effort. So clearly I have my work cut out for me. I need to triple that distance and take about :45 off of my pace and I have about 4 months to do it.

Realistic? Well here's my optimistic thinking: The cooler fall temps are usually good for taking about :20 to :30 off of my pace. It was about 80 degrees this morning. A good fall racing day will be closer to 50 or 60 degrees. It makes a big difference. I'm also on a low-carb diet as part of the P90X program. So my current diet and workout regiment make running a bit more challenging. So once I've completed P90X and I start increasing my carbs a bit, hopefully that will be good for another :10 to :15 off of my pace as well.

So I think the 2hr half is a good challenging goal to reach for. It seems doable, but it's going to take some effort.

My second tier goal is to set a new half marathon PR. That means beating 2:10, which is about a 10min pace. Barring injury, I'll be pretty disappointed if I don't accomplish this one.

So that's where I'm headed, now to get busy finding a good half marathon training schedule to jump on once P90X is completed.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

P90X - Three Hardest Workouts

This weekend I'll wrap up week 4 of the P90X program. I'm following the "classic" program, plus running three times per week. I do P90X in the evenings, and run early morning on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. My runs are just easy 3.5 to 4.5 mile runs.

So while I'm only about 1/3 of the way through the P90X program so far, here's the top 3 most challenging workouts for me so far:

3. Legs & Back - I'm a runner, but I've never been a fan of leg workouts. This workout seems like it's basically a leg workout with some back work just to give your legs a break. The wall squats are a killer.

2. Ab Ripper X - 15 minutes of pain. If you can actually hang with this, you probably don't need P90X.

1. Yoga X -  The toughest workout of them all. The first 40 minutes of this are a nightmare, and could be a complete workout called squat and plank (or downward dog) because it seems like that's what's actually happening here. When Tony says it's the best downward dog of your life at the end of the first 40 min, he's not kidding. I'm always so happy to get to the balance poses. But then the ab 7 come at the end, just to give you a nice uppercut at the end of this thing for the final knockout. I sleep well on yoga nights.

So those are the top 3 most challenging P90X workouts for me so far. Although I should say that none of the workouts are easy, but these three stand out as being particularly challenging for me.