Incorporating BBG into Marathon Training

I haven’t mentioned BBG in a while and lately I’ve gotten a few emails regarding beginning the BBG program while also being in marathon training. Even though I’ve written about the basic FAQ’s of BBG here and here, I thought it might be beneficial to a lot of runners out there who have questions about how I incorporated BBG into my running.

For those of you who have NO idea what BBG is, I will sum it up briefly: “BBG” stands for “Bikini Body Guides.” It’s a 12 week downloadable PDF guidebook program designed by Kayla Itsines and her partner, Tobias Pierce. You work out for 3 days a week for 28 minutes. There are 2 circuits per each workout and you repeat each 7 minute circuit twice -this makes up the 28 minutes. It’s an ass kicking workout. The moves are easy-lunges, burpees, tricep dips, push-ups,to name a few. It’s combinations are killer.


Serious truth..

When I first started BBG, it was the beginning of June. As some of you know-I’m a teacher and have the summers off. (don’t hate me!) Without an 8 hour work day, I had bunch of extra time in my schedule so it really was the perfect time to begin a strength program like BBG. I started BBG as a way to tone up more, get stronger, and to just be a better “me.” While I was still in school, I would run in the morning, and on BBG days-I would do that after work.

I didn’t expect to fall in love with BBG the way I did-But it happened. I saw changes in my body that I have never seen before and I found the workouts to be high intensity, challenging, and fun. I love that I can do the workouts in my house. I also love that there is no one barking orders at me. I’ve never been the biggest fan of workout classes because I don’t really like instructors telling me what to do, or correcting me if I’m doing it wrong. It’s not that I don’t want my form to be correct- I just REALLY hate attention being drawn to me and people starting at me. So….the fact that I can get a good sweat on in my living room with my own music blaring in the background is pretty awesome to me.

After the 12 weeks of BBG, I have found myself to be a stronger, fitter, leaner version of myself. Running is my true love, but it just doesn’t give me the same tone and definition that it did in my 20’s. I love the moves and challenges of BBG. I’m now on round 2 of weeks 1-12 (you can buy the 2nd edition for weeks 13-24, but at this time, I chose to just restart at week 1) During the 2nd round, I’ve found that I’m actually better at it than I was the first time around.


Feeling so strong!

For the first 10 weeks, I didn’t skip a single workout (That’s kind of a big deal!). It was a new & exciting challenge and I loved mastering moves like burpees (love them), commando’s (I can do them well but I still HATE them) and I lunged like a BOSS.

The setup for the majority of BBG weeks is:
Monday- Legs
Wednesday-Arms or Arms & Abs
Friday-Abs or Full body.

For me, the toughest workout is the legs day. It leaves me VERY sore for a couple days. This was the workout that I struggled with the most: No matter what, it seemed to get in the way of running. Doing it on a Monday meant I’m leaving myself pretty sore for a tempo or track workout on a Tuesday. During 2 out of 12 week, the “legs” day falls on a Friday. This was great for my speedwork, but bad for my long run. I tend to do my long run on Saturday mornings and I’m extremely stubborn about swapping it to Sundays. Doing BBG on a Friday, long run Saturday is just sooo much soreness, I can’t even EXPLAIN it to you except to say “try it and give me a call after and I’ll listen to you whine.” I ended up making the decision that if/when legs day fell on a Friday, I would swap it over to Mondays.

All of the arms/abs/full body workouts still leave me sore, but it’s not the same as the leg soreness (for me). Please note that everybody is different, and what makes ME the most sore might not make YOU the most sore. I already have a solid core and strong arms from doing pushup and planking daily, and I think that’s why those workouts are easier on my body. On runs the day after an arm or ab workout, I would feel the muscles that I worked-but it was more like a “good sore” vs. “hate my life” sore. Does this make sense? I hope so. So for example: if I had an arms/abs workout on a Friday, I would be okay for a long run on Saturday.

Sometimes, I would end up on the floor like this after BBG…
Weeks 11 and 12 were a little bit trickier for me to handle because I went on vacation, became full time mom and went back to work all within a two week span. I still completed Weeks 11 & 12, but they were more spaced out. I did 2 workouts a week instead of 3 and it took me about 3 weeks to do those last 6 workouts. I finally completed the full 12 weeks of BBG during the 3rd week of September.

By now you’ve probably started thinking to yourself how the heck did she actually do the workouts and run? Or that I’m crazy for doing all of this strength training while training for a marathon. Or maybe you’re thinking both things? The first 10 weeks, my workouts typically looked like this:

Monday-Running: Off, BBG Legs.
Tuesday-AM: Speedwork (Tempo or track workout), typically 7-9 miles
Wednesday-AM-Easy run (8-12 miles), PM*-BBG Arms
Thursday- Speedwork (Tempo or track workout), typically 7-9 miles
Friday-AM Easy run of 5 miles or OFF, PM-BBG Abs.
Saturday-Long run, 16-20 miles
Sunday- recovery run.

*During the summer months, I would run early in the morning and do BBG later in the afternoon. AGAIN, keep in mind that I wasn’t working so it was easy to fit into my day.

BBG is only 28 minutes but it’s 28 very intense minutes. It’s the easiest and hardest workout I’ve ever done. I say “easy” because after a few reps—even a rhythmically challenged dodo like myself can pick it up, and “hard” because it’s a solid 28 minutes of working your *** off. There is no denying it: I’m dripping with sweat & exhausted when I finish, and I love it. With the exception of jumping rope (I pretend to jump rope by still doing the motions as if I’m really jumping rope because I just CAN’T do it), I’ve never modified any of the moves. Unless I physically can’t do a move, I leave it as is because I don’t want to cheat myself out of a great workout.

Right now I’m on my second round of BBG and I’ve just finished week 1. Since I’ve got a marathon on Sunday, I decided to completely give in to the last week of taper and not do any BBG. My body will be much happier on race day if it’s well rested! As I mentioned above, I finished the 12 week program the 3rd week of September. I loved/love every minute of BBG and I decided that going forward, I wanted to keep up with it. I’ve been back to work for 1 ½ months and I’m facing new challenges in life: I’ve got a 9 year old and I’m learning all kinds of new mom things! Trying to keep up with everything is a lot of work.

Running is, and always will be, my true love, and it will always take precedence over BBG. What works for me (right now) is a 2 day week of BBG, and sometimes one of those days in on a Saturday or a Sunday. I’m not placing any pressure on myself to do it. If I did? I would be SUPER stressed trying to cram every little thing into my day and when I did get a change to do BBG, I would feel like I’m forcing it on myself. It’s so dark in the morning that I end up doing the majority of my runs at night. If I can get my booty out of bed at a decent hour in the morning, I will cram in a few miles on my treadmill and do BBG at night while my daughter is doing homework. I still see results even though I’m doing it 1-2 times a week. I try to look at it like this: Even 1 workout a week is better than NO workouts a week.

The last two weeks, my schedule has looked like this:
Sept 28-Oct 4:
Monday: BBG Legs Week 1
Tuesday: 6 miles (PM)
Wednesday: 6 miles (PM)
Thursday: 6 miles (tmill/PM)
Friday: 6 miles
Saturday: 2 tmill miles followed by BBG Arms & Abs Week 1
Sunday-16 miles

October 5th-October 11th:
Monday: 4 miles (PM)
Wednesday: 7.5 miles (Track workout in the early afternoon)
Thursday: 6.35 miles (AM), PM BBG-Week 1 Full Body
Friday: 5 miles (PM)
Saturday: 11 miles (AM)
Sunday-5 miles (AM)

So you can see: It took me 2 weeks to complete Round 2/Week 1 of BBG, and during the 2nd week, I only did one workout. I would have started week 2 of BBG however, Oct 5/11 was a crazy busy week and I just couldn’t fit it in anywhere.

My advice to runners looking to incorporate this program into their lives and don’t have much time because LIFE gets crazy is this: You’ve got to learn to adapt. Don’t put pressure on yourself. If you know you have a busy week ahead of you, try to fit it in when you can. There have also been weeks that I have done two days back to back with BBG. It is what it is. Just like with running: If you WANT to do it- you will.

I hope this super long post is helpful to those runners out there who have been inquiring about this. Please comment here if you have a question, or email me at thegirlwhoraneverywhere@gmail.com 🙂

Happy Running,  my friends!

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17 thoughts on “Incorporating BBG into Marathon Training

  1. Thanks so much for writing about this! I just finished my third marathon and was looking for a strength training program I could take up before I start training for my next race. Was wondering if BBG would complement running and it sounds like it’s definitely doable. Really hoping it makes me not just fitter all around, but a faster and stronger runner.

    Thanks again for sharing!

  2. Thanks for an amazing post. I found this so helpful. Please advise. Do you only do the bbg resistance training ? How do u do LISS if you marathon training ?? I am a marathoner and battle to walk for liss sessions when I shld rather be running at a pace- 70%+ my max HR zone

    Thanks for your inspiration and looking forward to your response.

  3. Half a year late but thank you for sharing! I am about to finish round 1 and I want to start running regularly as I do round 2 of 1.0. My idea was the same as what you did in the beginning so I think I will stick with it. Thank you for the encouragement!

  4. I’ve been meaning to check this out! It sounds totally do-able and I keep telling myself to add in more strength training! Might have missed this, but do you need any weights or other equipment? Or is it mainly just body weight exercises?

  5. great post girlfriend! I feel similar from when I did the 12 week LiveFit program… I had to learn to be adaptable.
    and helloooooo Nicole Guns!! get it girl 😉

  6. Thanks for this! I’ve been really curious about BBG. For now I think I’m gonna stick with gym-based strength training, but I love the idea of having some quick circuits to do at home! Also…how do you arrange leg day and running? When I do proper gym squats etc they leave me crippled for a few days and you couldn’t pay me to run. It’s kind of a problem. Like, do I do my long run before leg day, or wait 2 days? Aah so confusing!

    • you’re welcome! So leg day and running is tough: I’m always sore for a few days afterwards. I usually do 2 days of speed work and 1 long run, the rest are easy runs…a lot of runners only incorporate one speed day into their running. If you do the one day-I would put legs on a Monday and speed on a wed/thurs. The further away it is, the better off you are!!
      I don’t like to put it back to back with my long run..the earlier in the week you put it, the better off you will be 🙂 Hope this helps!

    • SMOOCHIES!!!!!!!!!! Yesterday, I found a website that offers it for only $20 vs the $70 I spent! I have no idea if its legit or not-but I was thinking that I want to buy round 2 for that price bc that’s a STEAL! If you want the site, let me know and I’ll send it to you!! 🙂 🙂

      xoxo I hope I can be a rockstar like YOU!

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