Sunday, August 10, 2014

Focus T25 and Running the Distance

Focus T25 and Running the Distance --  Half Marathon Training

I love P90X3.  It is probably my favorite program.  P90X, the original, is a close second and it is only second because it is 60 minutes rather than 30 minutes like X3.  But I am not doing P90X3 now.  Right now I am in Beta phase of Focus T25. Right now I am training for two Half Marathons (The Maple Leaf Half in VT and the Mohawk Hudson River Half in NY) and Reach the Beach Relay in NH).  I have to concentrate on running right now.  I have a goal of a Sub-2 hour Half for the Mohawk.  In order to achieve this I need to increase my mileage and do a little speed work.  Strength training is important but my main focus is running.  It is also a wonderful feeling to go for a run outside on cool, crisp mornings as the sun is coming up.  It doesn’t get much better.   

Although I am a big fan of doing a hybrid of P90X3 and running See Previous Post, I find it easiest to do X3 while running 3 days a week at most.  Some people might run and do X3 on the same day but I don’t recommend it for everyone while training.  It is fine when you are just going out for a run to keep up your conditioning but when you are in training mode you don’t want to over do it.  Strength training needs to complement your running. Specifically, strength training while training for a race should focus on building lower leg balance, hamstrings, core, back and shoulders.  Again, the focus is running so if you are fatigued you should go easy on strength training days.  Recovery/rest days are important while training too, even if it is just one day a week.

So considering all of this, I don’t like doing P90X3 at the same time as I am training for my Half.  Let me be clear that I am only saying I don’t want to do it when training for a Half because I prefer different strength workouts while training for distance.  Prior to being in full training mode I think it is one of the BEST workouts for runners.  I also push myself hard when doing X3 and am often sore.  I wouldn’t want to compromise my running since I need to build up my monthly mileage.  

Cross training and strength training however, are really important while training for distance races. I like full body, body-weight workouts.  I’ve read that bodyweight workouts help you recover from running but still help you build the strength necessary to help prevent injuries.  That is why I like Focus T25 while training for the Half distance. 

Focus T25 is a cardio based workout that incorporates body weight strength training.  Squats, lunges, planks, burpees and push ups to name some, all use your own bodyweight to build strength.  These are also the perfect moves to do while strength training for running.  Squats work all of the running specific muscles.  All of the planks and Burpees work the core, and really all of the moves do since you are focusing on your core the entire time!  A strong core is so important to runners! Runners often ignore their upper-body so all of the push-ups and planks help strengthen the chest and arms.  With Total Body Circuit, Lower Focus and Ab intervals, you have the tools you need!  The second month, called Beta phase, uses weights. You are using lighter weights so there is some toning but there’s little chance of overdoing it.

I don’t want to leave you with the impression that these workouts are easy.  They’re no joke.  But they’re not demanding in the same way as P90X3.  With X3 I was always trying to see if I could do another push up or an additional pull up.  With Focus T25, you can certainly vary the intensity or follow the modifier but you can’t add reps or go up in weights the same way.  I also think that the way the workouts are designed helps your body from becoming overworked.  Specifically, the workouts us a progression.  You progress further and further into the moves. They don’t start out easy.  They just start out less intense.

I also don't want to leave you with the impression that incorporating Focus T25 into your running routine only works with longer distances.  I think it would be great while training for 5K or 10Ks.  Let me tell you, Speed 1.0 and 2.0 get you moving!  I just don't run 5K races much.  My latest experience with a 5K was while I was in the middle of P90X3 and let me tell you it was my fastest 5K ever!! Yes, at 40 years old I ran my fastest 5K.  Thanks, Tony Horton! 

And I just want to mention quickly that I was hosting a PiYo challenge group so I added PiYo to the mix.  This has been great for my flexibility.  I haven’t been doing it enough to notice if it is helping to sculpt my muscles but I do feel like I am recovering faster from my long runs and I don’t feel as tight.  I will definitely be keeping this in my mix.

I’ll continue to track my progress using Focus T25 while training.  I’ll also continue to see how PiYo is helping me be a better runner.  

If you are interested in either of these programs, let me know.  The Focus T25 Challenge Pack is on Sale this month (August 2014) and it is the best way to try it along with Shakeology — the healthiest meal of the day.  I love my Chocolate Vegan Shakeology after my run in the mornings!  You can get the Challenge Pack Here.  Or email me with questions. 

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