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Running With P90X: The Runner’s P90X Training Schedule

Running With P90X: The Runner’s P90X Training Schedule

Back in the day, I used to joke the only time I’d ever run was if I was being chased by an angry shih-tzu or a pack of brain-gnoshing zombies– and even then I could kind of just jog or maybe even walk at a brisk pace. I was never a running fan simply because, like anything else you’re not used to, running can be… no, IS… uncomfortable.

Running also happens to be ridiculously cathartic, fun, relaxing and satisfying if given the chance– which is probably why it’s so universally popular and continues to gain momentum and why I changed my tune. I mean, strap on a pair of shoes and you’re out the door as far as your legs –and will– can carry you. And from spring to early fall, there’s no shortage of relay race, marathon, half, marathon, 5k, fun run or social jog to fill your schedule. During the winter months, it’s just a matter of planning your vacation around a balmy race in Arizona, Florida, California or Hawaii. Sigh.

Strengthen Your Run With P90X

Still, running isn’t– and shouldn’t– be the be all end all. Serious runners do more than just run non-stop– they cross train, eat right and take care of their bodies. After all, running miles on end –with your knees, hips, IT Band, feet and ankles taking the brunt of your body weight… BANG, BANG, BANG…– can take a toll on you if you’re not holistically strengthening all the moving parts to keep them honed for optimal road punishment.

Lucky for us, P90X happens to be one of the most customizable, versatile training and fitness programs ever. I get plenty of questions from avid runners on how to incorporate P90X into their training program in a way that won’t hurt their personal record… and make it even better. That’s not to say P90X in and of itself is a training program for runners– it’s not.  But it can be great for cross-training, and can definitely be incorporated into your running schedule for noticeable gains.

So here’s where we turn to my go-to training guy: Steve “I designed P90X” Edwards. Here’s the deal:

We’ll focus on the more popular “distance running” distances, from the 10K to the marathon, for which training is similar. This article will not discuss what to do for you running. That’s what [you or] your running coach is for. Instead, we’ll look at how to structure P90X around your current workout schedule, and when to alter it.

“Off Season”? There’s No “Off Season” in Running…

Since, in most parts of the country, we’re heading into cooler temperatures, now might be the perfect time to simply tackle P90X in its full entirety during off-season training. Running takes a back-seat (gasp!) for a few months as you build other aspects of your fitness. But hey- I know runners (my Lady-Friend is die-hard) and that, in most cases, isn’t going to happen. Still, to make this work, it needs to be set up properly with an eye toward completing it. As Steve says:

“…Very few of us can carve our schedules into neat training blocks. This means multitasking. Most of us will likely find ourselves in a situation where we need to look as good as we can for a class reunion in July and are still trying to get a PR in an August marathon.”

Double Your Pleasure, Double Your Run

Most runners I know love intensity– pushing past boundaries and eeking out faster times or more distance despite a few aches and pains…. which makes this training program right up your alley as it’s a bit more intense and follows a “doubles” routine. IE- plan on two or so hours a day after the first few weeks of this program.

If you’re familiar with P90X, you know the trick to the program is “muscle confusion” which is basically a trademarked term for the more scientific training approach of “periodization”. Periodization is basicially short-hand for “training in phases’ meaning you train in blocks– taking weaknesses and turning them them into strengths through adaptation until all strengths are employed in in spanking the training regime silly in the last phase or “Game Day”. In the Steve Edwards P90X/Running schedule:

“Unlike the normal P90X schedule… [we'll] sacrifice some of the ultimate goals of the classic X schedule in order for you to adapt more quickly and to leave you with more energy for the higher volume of running you’ll be doing later in the program.”

Like I mentioned, this is a more intense training program that dips into “doubles” (two workouts a day- one morning, one night) territory. Still, keep tabs on yourself. Overtraining will cut any training goals short so if it’s too much, readjust to make it work for you.

P90X and Running Got Married And Had a Baby: The P90X Running Schedule

So after aaaall that set-up, here’s what it boils down to: the schedule (you can find the printable PDF here). As with all things P90X, it’s adjustable and should be made compatible with your schedule to make it work for you.

This model should fit for most of you trying to get the most out of both your running and P90X. It’s important to remember that while you’re training for running, your speed will likely decrease. This is because you’re creating muscular breakdown in order to improve your capacity to run faster later on. This means you’ll be slower early in the program, but once your recover and convert your new strength into running speed, you’ll be faster.

In other words, once you commit here (and be sure to do so with more than a month or two before your next race)– TRUST THE PROGRAM. It might be tough as you WON’T be running in the first 3 weeks– there’s method to this madness, I promise. No running in the first block is by design. For aerobic work, keep your heart rate way below threshold.

Block 1 , Phase 1
Weeks 1 through 3

Day 1: Chest & Back and Ab Ripper X
Day 2: Plyometrics
Day 3: Shoulders & Arms and Ab Ripper X
Day 4: Yoga X
Day 5: Legs & Back and Ab Ripper X
Day 6: Kenpo X
Day 7: Rest or easy aerobic hike and/or X Stretch

Recovery/Transition Week

Day 1: Core Synergistics
Day 2: Plyometrics
Day 3: Yoga X
Day 4: Legs & Back
Day 5: Core Synergistics
Day 6: Long aerobic hike or easy run and X Stretch or Yoga X
Day 7: Rest or easy aerobic hike and/or X Stretch

Note: Not a traditional recovery week. An endurance athlete tends to have a different base and should be stressed differently. While the intensity of the first month should be high, the volume is low compared to how much many people run.

Block 2, Phase 2
Weeks 5 through 7

Running is reincorporated in this phase (yay!). Easy run is based on your definition of easy and may be 1 mile or 5– it gets you out on the road. Long run works the same way but, well, longer. You’re getting back and reintroducing the road. Don’t go kill yourself and short-circuit the program.

Day 1: Chest, Shoulders & Triceps, Ab Ripper X, and EASY RUN
Day 2: Plyometrics
Day 3: Back & Biceps, Ab Ripper X, and EASY RUN
Day 4: Yoga X
Day 5: Legs & Back and Ab Ripper X
Day 6: LONG RUN and X Stretch
Day 7: Rest or easy aerobic hike and/or X Stretch

Note: The easy runs should be aerobic. The longer run can have some amount of tempo intervals, but should still be considered base mileage.

Recovery/Transition Week

Day 1: Core Synergistics
Day 2: Easy run and X Stretch
Day 3: Yoga X
Day 4: EASY RUN and X Stretch
Day 5: Core Synergistics
Day 6: Long aerobic hike or easy run and X Stretch or Yoga X
Day 7: Rest or easy aerobic hike and/or X Stretch

Note: This should feel like a true recovery week.

Block 3, Phase 3.1 and 3.3
Weeks 9 and 11

Notice here you’ll alternate weeks in this phase (see alternate block below), hence the 3.1, .3, etc.  In other words, do this phase, drop to the next phase on week two, then come back to this phase week three and finish week four with the block below.

Day 1: Chest & Back, Ab Ripper X, and run workout
Day 2: Plyometrics and recovery run
Day 3: Shoulders & Arms, Ab Ripper X, and run workout
Day 4: Yoga X
Day 5: Legs & Back, Ab Ripper X, and recovery run
Day 6: Run workout and X Stretch
Day 7: Rest and/or X Stretch

Block 3, Phase 3.2 and 3.4
Weeks 10 and 12

Day 1: Core Synergistics and run workout
Day 2: Cardio X and run workout
Day 3: Ab Ripper X and run workout
Day 4: Yoga X and run workout
Day 5: Legs & Back and Ab Ripper X
Day 6: Run workout and X Stretch
Day 7: Rest or easy aerobic hike and/or X Stretch

Note: “Run workout” denotes whatever your coach or your own running dictates. It doesn’t necessarily mean a hard running workout. “Easy run” means subthreshold throughout. This should be followed with a true recovery period of yoga, stretching, and easy runs. Follow this with a rigorous running training block that ends with enough time so you can taper off for your event—usually 2 weeks.

Survive, Train, Adapt

As mentioned, experimentation and adaptation is welcomed. This is YOUR training schedule after all. If something feels wonky, switch it up and see how it plays out. Still, don’t get too skittish… let your program work. As Steve mentions, you’ll get slower before you get faster. Know that this is part of the program and trust you’ll be whipping PRs in no time within a few weeks. Pick up your own, guaranteed copy of P90X here.

And, as a reminder, click the calendar below to print out a handy schedule:

P90X-Runner's-Training-Guide

For questions as you move along, feel free to email me here or dan@howdoigetfit.com. Better yet, let’s get you the support you need through making me your Beachbody Coach right here. You can also find me on Facebook, Google + and Pinterest.

  • http://www.lifechangingfitnessplan.com Karen

    Great workout, I’ll have to pass it on to all the runners that I know!

  • Gregory

    P90X is GREAT for Runners!

    • Coach Dan V.

      Yes it is!

  • Mark

    Just found this, exactly what I needed. I’m recovering from a couple minor injuries so the cross training without running is even more perfect. Thanks!

    • Coach Dan V.

      Glad it helped, Mark! Training for anything when healed up?

      • Mark

        Well there was a marathon in May I think I’m going to miss, so now I’m looking at the Tough Mudder in Seattle in October!

        • Coach Dan V.

          Tough Mudder! That’s legit. Electrocution has it’s uses for sure. hahaha!

          So are you currently rocking the X, then? Or done it in the past?

          • Mark

            Haha, yes it does. I have done p90x in the past, but I wanted to get the rest of my body squared away as I get back into and continue running. Today is day 3 of your program!