Saturday, July 9, 2011

Off Season Training

"Summer has set in with its usual severity."  
~Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Its summer time.  Time for pool parties, watermelon and for many runners in many parts of the country this is ideal running time.  Beautiful warm weather perfect for heading out for a good early morning hard workout.

Here in Arizona that is nearly unimaginable.  Well maybe not the pool parties and watermelon.  We know how to have a good pool party here.  But the running thing, yeah that's not happening.

It is not at all uncommon for it to hit 100 degrees by 8 am this time of year and it only gets hotter as the weeks go on.  It will get to a point where the over night low might not get below 100 degrees and I don't even want to think about what the mid day high temps can be.

Last summer I was in the middle of marathon training this time of year.  I ran a late August marathon so around this time I was doing some of my highest mileage weeks.  I was super motivated and was willing to get the training however I needed to.  I did some running outside very early on my weekend mornings (4:30 am) through June and maybe even early July, but I did my longest runs at the gym.  On a treadmill.  That's right I did a 22 mile run on a treadmill!  

I am very proud of my dedication and what I accomplished last summer but when I think about going to the gym day after day even for just a 3-5 mile run, it makes me want to cry.   It's just not happening this year.

So instead of forcing myself to run in far to hot weather at ridiculous hours on my days off or joining a gym for the summer I think I am going to be going light on the running.  Every sport needs an off season and it looks like this summer is going to be mine.  As much as I love running I think maybe its not so bad to take some time off. 

Well not off-off, more like taking time away from running to work my butt off in other areas of fitness.

Remember a couple months back when I talked about wanting to focus on doing some more core work to help my running.  Well I have been working on that and I do think it has been helping.  It takes me longer to get tired in my runs because my core muscles are doing a better job of supporting me so I can run more efficiently. 

Well I think maybe this summer is a good time to take that idea one step further.  I am going to take some time to focus on building  my overall strength and fitness for a while and then jump back into training for a new big race challenge with a new higher level of strength and fitness (I'm thinking the Rock 'n' Roll half marathon in January).

So what is my training going to consist of?  I'm doing P90X baby! 

We have had these videos for a while.  My husband has done a few of them (though not the full 90 day schedule) and we have had friends who have done them.  I have been using the ab ripper workout and the yoga workout from time to time.  It seems to be a very thorough and well constructed plan so I have decided to do the whole 90 day plan!  Yikes!

This is going to be a lot of upper body work that will not necissarily translate directly to running fitness but it will help my overall fitness.  I don't want to just be a strong runner, I want to be strong and fit overall.  It would be pretty cool to be able to do a few pull ups.  As of now I can't do a single one without a chair.  I'm just a weak little girl!

I do think much of the plan will translate directly to help me become a better runner.  Much of the core training will help I know.  There is also a plyometrics workout which many professional runners use in their training.  It helps to strengthen all the small muscles in your lower legs and gives you that explosive push off in your stride.  I also think the Kempo workout with all the kicking will help to strengthen my hip flexors and help me have better flexibility and overall range of motion.

I am kind of excited about this!  Instead of spending the next several months trudging along on a treadmill or dreading heading out into the heat at 5:00 in the morning and wondering how hot it is already to try to get my workouts in I am going to be doing something different, exciting and challenging every day right in my living room. 

Hopefully when I am done with the program on September 30th I will be glad I did it and not wishing I had spent the summer running instead.  Only one way to find out!  Wish me luck.

P90X Before Photo July 5th 2011

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