Changing Gears

After spending most of the year training for two marathons that never happened I decided for my own sanity that I needed to take things in a new direction for a little while. As soon as I got home from the-marathon-that-never-happened I shifted my training focus from long distance running to strength and conditioning.

Personal Training

All along I have been meeting with Trainer Dave once or twice a week for strength training workouts. But our sessions were always moderate in intensity because I was: a) either recovering from a long run or b) had to "save my legs" for one that was coming up. And we never did any conditioning. {Note: By conditioning I mean circuits with cardio intervals mixed in.}

So at our first session post-New York I gave him the green light to up the intensity level on the workouts. And has he ever.

He has me running (endless) stairs....

Running Stairs
Running Stairs

....steep hills...

Hills for Running Repeats
Hills for Running Repeats

...swinging kettle bells, and so much more. Things I would never bring myself to do on my own.

TRX Boot camps

TRX Training
TRX Training

I also added a third day of strength training by redeeming a Groupon for 15 TRX Boot camp sessions. The Groupon was for 15 sessions. I've been attending one class a week, which should extend till next March.

The classes are a full hour of short-circuits the address the warm-up, core, mobility, overall strength and flexibility. We do lots of lunges, squats, burpees, jumping jacks, inchworms, and so many other great things.

Each class always ends with a TRX Challenge. A TRX Challenge is a circuit of anywhere from 2-5 exercises and you have to get through as many rounds in a set period of time. The idea is to end the class with this burst to increase and prolong your metabolism for the next 24-36-48 hours until your next workout.

What I've loved about these boot camp classes is that they are never the same; each week brings a different workout.

It's ridiculously hard, but SO. MUCH. FUN. I feel on top of the world after every class.

Running

As for running, I asked my running coach for the same type of intensity for my running workouts.

So for the past 4 1/2 weeks I've run nothing but track workouts and hills with a few easy runs interspersed in between.

Track Workouts
Track Workouts

As a result, my longest run since October 28th has been 7-miles, and let me tell you, it felt like I was running 20.

So How Has It Been Going?

I'm not going to lie or sugar coat it. It was a tough transition to make.

My upper body constantly ached from all of the TRX work. At times it hurt to laugh because my abs hurt so much. And that was nothing compared to the soreness I felt in my lower body.

It's funny - I thought that because I had trained for two marathons that my muscles would be fit enough to handle track and hills.

I was wrong. Sorely wrong.

Little 3-4 milers left me barely able to walk. My hamstrings that hardly bothered me during marathon training screamed after a 40-minute workout of running 200's. Or after continuous hill repeats at a pushing pace. I've been more sore over the past four weeks than any time during marathon training.

My running coach told me this was to be expected as my body adjusted to the change. My sports massage therapist told me my legs were, and I quote, "a wreck." My Thai massage therapist told me its the most inflexible he's seen my joints in the 2+ years he's been working on me.

But now that it's been a little over a month it's finally getting easier.

I am a lot less sore after workouts. My recovery times have been getting shorter. I'm also finding the workouts not as tough or overwhelming as they were in the beginning.

As someone who HAS TO (and loves to) cross-train, this change has been good for my mind and body. It's been such a change of pace and mentality from marathon training, but an absolutely necessary one.

I'm feeling stronger, confident and empowered. And I am loving it!