Friday, April 10, 2015

Fitness Friday: 2 Weeks til Race Day, Weekly Workouts and Body Combat Review

It's Friiiiiiiiiiday!  This week flew by, and I suddenly find myself 2 weeks away from the St Luke's Half Marathon.  That's what happens when you sign up for a half marathon 6 weeks out!  HA 

Two weeks left means I only have one more double-digit training run this weekend.  The following week will be a taper week and my last 'long' run will probably be about 1/2 the distance of the race, so around 7 miles. 

Do you embrace the taper before a race?  I just read this article re: tapering mistakes on Runner's World, and it has some good pre-race reminders.  I personally always taper one week before a half-marathon, and I can definitely feel the difference/freshness in my legs and entire body on race day.  Sometimes, I even take a few days off running before shorter races like 5k's too.  After a hard training cycle, you will not lose any fitness in a few days' time, but this break gives your body a chance to reload its glycogen stores and your muscles a chance to rest and rebuild themselves as well.  I really believe it gets you to the finish line faster.

Since I'm currently not in taper, this is what my workouts looked like the past week:

Saturday - 11+ miles outside
Sunday - Rest day (Easter!)
Monday - Strength training (Upper & Lower body - combo of free weights and machines) + core work (variety of crunches/twists)
Tuesday - 3.3 miles outside
Wednesday - 1 hour Body Combat
Thursday - 3.2 miles outside
Friday - Rest day
Saturday - 10 miles (planned)

My friend has been inviting me to take Body Combat with her for weeks and I finally went this week.  It's been awhile since I've taken classes at the gym. I used to take Body Pump religiously.  That was my favorite.  But when my work schedule changed a couple years ago, I couldn't get there for awhile and then just fell off the wagon.  I've been lifting weights on my own but I do miss Pump.  The only other Les Mills class I've taken is Body Attack and I am not really a fan.  It's HIIT which I like but there's too much choreography to learn!  Most of the time I was getting lost with the moves so I didn't feel like I was getting the best workout. 

But I thoroughly enjoyed Body Combat this week!  It was a great way to mix up my cross-training workouts and left me sore (in a good way).  I definitely used muscle groups in that class that I haven't used in awhile/forgot existed!  A bit of history here.  Years ago I used to take a kickboxing class at my old gym that I LOVED.  The instructor was phenomenal and many of us developed a personal relationship with her.  A coworker and I used to attend her classes 2-3 times a week.  After a year or two, she had such a following that she was able to coerce the gym to get us standing bags like this:

which were AWESOME!  Obviously, I'm not a physically violent person but having something to punch and kick after work was pretty cathartic! Hahaha

Ok, getting back to Body Combat.  If you've never taken it, Les Mills describes it as "the high energy, martial arts-inspired, non-contact workout".  If you did Tae-Bo back in the day, it's like that!  This is a non-contact class, meaning there are no punching bags, so you are punching/kicking 'air', however it is definitely a high intensity class that moves quickly.  If I did not have a history with kickboxing, I probably would not have been able to pick up the moves so fast on my first class.  Luckily, I remembered most of the punch and kick moves and was able to get into the combos pretty quickly.  There are low and high intensity variations for most combos so you can adjust the workout to suit your current fitness level or needs.   My shoulders, biceps, triceps and back are sore today so I guess I've not been working them as much as I should be!  Upper body strength is an area often neglected by runners (myself included) but the more of it you have, the more power you will have for your runs.  True story.

A few tips I would offer for those new to Body Combat.  First, if you've never taken a kick boxing type class, go slow the first class.  It is high intensity and you don't want to overdo it or pull something your first time out.  Secondly, and this one is for myself as well, wear proper shoes.  I wore an old pair of running shoes (I never wear my current pair of running shoes for anything other than running), which was not the smartest choice.  The cushioning in them was long gone, and since I'm a neutral/supinating runner, there is very little support.  Because of all the pivoting and jumping, I could definitely feel some discomfort in my feet and I was wishing I had a more supportive cross training shoe. 

I'm looking forward to working more classes back into rotation after my race and Body Combat will  be one of them.

Hope you had a great week of workouts and enjoy the weekend!  Catch you on the flip side :)

Do you like taking group exercise classes or do you prefer solo workouts?

Ever take any Les Mills classes (Body Pump, Body Combat, Body Attack, etc)?

Any spring races coming up?


  1. Yay for the last long run. I am prob the worst at tapering!

    1. Ha! I feel super restless during taper week but I know it does me good on race day, because I have so much energy!

  2. I'm not big on half marathon tapering except for probably week of, maybe 2 weeks out if I'm feeling perky. Marathon? I truly taper for about 2 weeks, but I still do 16 milers 3 and 2 weeks out. Then the last 2 weeks are pretty taperific. I used to do soooo much kickboxing--I loved it. Now? TOO MUCH MOVEMENT

    1. Oh Susie you are a warrior. I like a week of taper for my half marathons because come race day I am just raring to go!
      Yeah, I agree with all the movement in kickboxing. I was def a bit wrecked after that class but the nostalgia factor got me and I remembered why I used to love it.

  3. Tae bo!!! Maybe one of those dvd's is what i need to dig out to help me lose baby weight!! I loved my billy vlanks workouts!! :)

    1. I was thinking of you when I wrote that! I remember how much you used to love Billy back in the day. I bet you would get right back into it.