Changing It Up

Smiley Guy on Bike

As I have now committed to running the Boston Marathon, and my hotel room is booked, I’m supposing it is time to start seriously reevaluating my training routine. I’ve got some issues slapping me red in the face that I have to conquer if I plan to run this marathon with any kind of dignity. And things need to start changing right now.

The summer wasn’t very good to me. I’ve been plagued by a leg and butt issue that has been basically diagnosed as “just one of those things.” In order for it to completely go away, I suppose I need to reduce the amount of days spent pounding the pavement. This clearly makes the most sense at this point in time if I am to be fresh to begin my training in December. I have a few small races ahead of me in the next few months. I’m not looking to PR anything, just to get out there and have some fun.

That being said, I think that an alternating day run routine has to come back into play. I will continue with the hill repeat workout, because I think this will help with the Belle Plaine Half Marathon coming up on October 12. That one is a bear as far as hills go.

I’ll do some kind of long run, but I’ll keep the distance down to 10 miles or less for the foreseeable future. And, I’d like to get some kind of short distance speed work in, as well.

What I discovered today was my dusty exercise bike. Yeah, it’s old…but it is electronic and it has the ability to track time and distance, as well as change resistance. But I had an epiphany of sorts today as I peeked into my exercise room for the first time since summer began. Yeah, I got some good stuff in there.

The stationary bike…why didn’t I think of this before? When I ran that 20 miler last week, I couldn’t help but realize that cardio wise, I’m in pretty decent shape. I never ran out of breath that entire run, and if it weren’t for the sheer exhaustion in my legs and the nagging little aches and pains, 26 miles would have been little if any effort. Sure Focus T-25 is helping me with my cardio endurance, but a 25 minute workout isn’t going to help my leg endurance. What can help me with my legs would be the stationary bike. I can pound the pavement, so to speak, without pounding the pavement.

Woman on Exercise Bicycle

This could be me…

Today, following P90X Legs and Back, I opted for the stationary bike. Yesterday’s 8 miler was a drag because my legs just felt like lead. It seems that this is where I really need to focus in order to strengthen them for the long runs. I did a program called “Weight Loss” which is a 48 minute program featuring alternating level changes throughout. My chosen level was 4. Unfortunately, I have no idea what that translates to. I can tell you that the readout said when I was at level 4, I was burning 422 calories an hour. This seems fair. I feel I could up it to level 5, but I’ll stay here for a few weeks just to adjust. In fact, before I up the level, I may up the time first.

What I learned from my stationary bike is that it does a god awful job of tracking calorie burn. I set up my Runmeter to track that number using my Wahoo Bluetooth Heart Rate Monitor along side the bike readout. It was underestimating my calorie burn by more than 150! That was kind of shocking! Granted the beast is over 15 years old, but you’d think it would have come a bit closer that that! I’m hoping the distance readout is correct, because with that workout and a 2 minute cooldown, it put me at around 14 miles in 50 minutes. This seems fair to me.

When I stepped off the bike, I felt pretty good. I was dripping in sweat, not unlike Focus T-25, but I felt like I had accomplished much more. Plus, my legs got a good workout without the pounding force of the road.

What does this all mean? I wish I knew…LOL! Actually, my P90X routine will NOT change. It is the only thing my husband will do with me, and he HAS to do that. Therefore, that will remain Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Typically, I do hill repeats on Tuesday and a long run Thursday, then try to do some speed work Saturday. I’ll wait and see how I feel later this weekend to decide if the stationary bike will remain a fixture after P90X Legs and Back, because with that workout alone, getting down to that toilet seat becomes a BIG issue by Saturday night. I may add that bike routine Wednesday after P90X instead, or move it to my rest day on Sunday. I’m not too sure of the logistics as of right now, but I definitely want to include it in my routine. I believe it may be the key to helping with my leg endurance.

As soon as I hear from Hal Higdon over at his marathon training forums, I’ll choose either the Novice 2 Marathon Training plan, which is what I used for Grandma’s Marathon, or I’ll up it to the Intermediate 1. He hasn’t responded to my post yet, which is odd. Maybe he is mad at me? I’m thinking of reposting it today to see if I hear from him. That would put me at a December 18th start date. I figure after the Turkey trot I’m signed up for in New York, I’ll have three weeks to rest and recover before getting started again.

I’ve also got some weight issues going on right now. But I don’t want to bore you with that all at once, so I’ll save that for another post!

Clean Eating Jogger

What is your favorite cross-training routine? Do you think it works?

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