I just got my PR at one of the most difficult half marathons in the US – La Jolla! I am bursting at the seems, I’m so happy right now. I finished with a time of 1:55:08! That’s nearly 20 minutes faster than my last half marathon in August, and 5 minutes faster than the goal I had set for myself of finishing in under 2 hours. How did I do it? Allow me to share my training journey with you.
I ran my first half marathon, Silver Strand, in November 2008 and absolutely hated it. I was miserable starting at mile 3 and said I’d never do one ever again. My time was around 2:17…Fastforward to 2010. I started running again and was craving a challenge. It had been 1.5 years since my only half marathon, and I figured I’d give it another try. My new friend Amber was a runner and triathlete, so she inspired me to get back into training mode and we started running together. Then, Nicole started running with me. We did some training runs for America’s Finest City and all ended up running at a different pace on race day. I was the slowest, barely beating my 2:17 finish time in 2008. I felt like I started off way too fast, so I slowed down after 5 miles, and the hill got me at the end. 2:13:50 was my time. I was happy to have finished, and definitely felt less miserable than my first half, but I still wasn’t satisfied. 3 minutes off my half marathon time from 2 years ago just wasn’t enough. If Nicole and Amber could run so much faster than me, I was convinced that I could too. I just needed a different approach.
With AFC behind me, I decided to introduce a new training program in my life. That program was P90X – an extreme at home fitness program based on muscle confusion. (You can find more info on it here: http://www.beachbodycoach.com/SDFITNESSDIVA .)
I give so much credit to my boyfriend for researching it and committing to do it. I was intrigued and asked if I could join him, so we started Day 1 together and stuck to the 90 day fitness program and nutrition plan. Over the next 90 days my body transformed into a very lean, mean, fighting machine! I toned up and was able to do pull-ups for the first time. My strength improved so much after P90x that we decided to do it again.
After 2 months off, in February we started P90X for a second time. That has been a huge part of my training regimen. We also joined the Vavi marathon training group which was huge for accountability. We run together 2x/week, and we’re supposed to do 2 runs on our own. Our coaches are very supportive and designed a great running program for us to follow. I layered marathon training of running 4 days/week on top of P90X 4 days/week (it’s normally 6 but I had to cut down), and the result was a PR at La Jolla Half Marathon! Not only was it a PR – I went from running 10+ minute miles to sub 9 minute miles – a huge improvement! It feels great. I am very proud of my boyfriend, Jeremy, who finished way ahead of me at 1:36:19! He hadn’t run much since our 2008 half marathon, but 2 rounds of P90X did a body good, and he had a killer time. Our good friends and couple Nicole and Mike started doing P90X around the same time we started it for a second time. They were impressed with our results and also wanted to become faster runners. Nicole finished in 1:54 and Mike 1:34. I am SO proud of all of us for PR’ing on such a tough course! The hills were still tough, but after passing several people on the steep upgrades, I knew my legs were more than ready.
Key P90X leg workouts for improving your running time are Legs & Back and Plyometrics. I’ll admit that I didn’t do Plyometrics the second time around because I was running 4 days a week, but I kept in Legs and Back, and the other total body workouts, including 90 minutes of yoga, leading up to La Jolla. We’ve been working out 8 times/week, but our bodies are so much stronger because of it.
It’s hard to believe we only have 2 weeks of P90X to go! I’ll keep incorporating P90X workouts into my marathon training as we approach the 26.2 mile mark in June. I’d say the two programs work quite well together, wouldn’t you? Now, it’s time for a cheat meal and tasty treat!