By Shawnee Perkins, PT, DPT

Leading up to my half marathon training, my primary focus has been on getting back into shape following the holidays from all the wonderful, but excessive, amounts of food that comes along with family gatherings. Come the New Year, I began the Keto Diet and started performing High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) 3 times a week, weight lifting 1-2 times a week, and yoga once a week. Here is my current routine and how it will change once I start training for the half marathon.

The Keto Diet is something I have tried in the past and has been a great way to get rid of my bad eating habits, regulate my blood sugars, and lose weight when paired with a strict workout schedule. For those of you who are curious about the Keto Diet, the basics are an extremely low carbohydrate intake with increased fat intake. This forces your body to switch its fuel source to fat. Now, everyone responds differently to different diets. I have trialed and error-ed with countless diets to see what my body likes and doesn’t like. This lets me understand what to give my body to gain strength, endurance, or power without upsetting anything internal. I am not a nutrition expert but I find it very interesting and understand the value of knowing your own body and what works best for you. This type of diet works well for me with HIIT training because of the short duration of workouts and the protein intake for your muscles. This will NOT be the diet I maintain while training for the half marathon. Running longer distances require longer sustained energy sources that fats and protein do not fully provide. AGAIN, I am not a Nutritionist but I know my body and what I can and cannot sustain given what I eat.

HIIT training is something I utilize throughout the year. I like efficient workouts that get the job done quickly. I also like variability in exercises that allow me to hit different areas within the same workout. My workouts are about 30-45 mins depending on rest breaks. Each day emphasizes either upper body, lower body, or core so you get a targeted burn but the exercises switch often so you don’t wear out too quickly. Currently, I have been HIIT training 3 times a week but this will most likely reduce to once a week when I am training for the half marathon. My focus will narrow to power and speed activities with HIIT training verses adding strength.

I have been weight lifting for about 10 years. The amount I focus on lifting changes depending on my goals: building muscle, leaning/toning down, or just maintaining status. Over the past 3 months, my focus has been more maintaining certain strength areas that were not the focus of my HIIT training. I will continue lifting 1-2 times a week splitting into an upper body and lower body days to build strength in areas that running does not target. A BIG problem when people focus on running is that they neglect “cross-training”. Running is very one-directional but ALL muscles must be strong to prevent injury. This is why weight lifting will continue to be important while training for the half marathon.

Yoga is a wonderful way to release muscle tension and prevent flexibility limitations when performing in any type of training. All stretching is good but I choose yoga as my focus because “dynamic” stretching utilizes movement to release muscle restrictions. Yoga also places an emphasis on balance and core stability. As noted in the first blog entry, I have a long history of ankle issues that has affected my balance and control in a single leg position. You NEED single leg balance and core control to run! I attend a yoga class once a week but will most likely perform yoga at home almost daily for 15-20 mins when I begin my half marathon training.

That’s the latest update! Follow the series on the Mobilize Physical Therapy Blog or Instagram.