Monday, January 16, 2012

P90X, Running, and Chili

I'm now three weeks into P90X, and have started week 4, which is kind of like the pullback week of marathon training. Instead of the strength workouts I've come to know and love, there are two yoga sessions, one Kenpo (kickboxing) session, two stretch sessions, and two days of a new exercise that I haven't tried out yet called Core Synergistics. From what my dad has told me, Core Synergistics is no joke. It looks tough, but I'm excited to switch things up this week!

This week marks another exciting (hopefully) event - my followup appointment with Dr. Metzl is Thursday, and I expect he will give me the go-ahead to return to running! I can't believe it's been six weeks since my last run...seems like much longer than that, but luckily I've had P90X to distract me.

With my return to running (and half-marathon in just under nine weeks - yup, I dropped down to the half for the DC Rock 'n' Roll race) but continuation with P90X, I've started to think about how I'm going to combine the two workouts. I want to do P90X over the 90 days, but I also want to run so that I can build up some mileage and avoid collapsing in the middle of the race. I feel that I've done a good job of keeping up my cardiovascular strength both by doing the P90X workouts and by supplementing them with workouts on the StairMaster, elliptical and treadmill, as well as spinning. Hopefully running will become a natural part of my P90X workouts!

If I've learned anything from previous injuries, it's that I can't take on too much volume. Running is going to only take place three to four times a week for the foreseeable future. I think that leading up to this race, I probably won't run more than three times a week - I'm just coming off of an injury, and I've got P90X to finish up!

My plan: If it's possible, I'd LOVE to do both workouts in the morning - just get them done for the day. But that's pretty unrealistic, so instead, I think I'll try to run Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. I'll probably try switching between running in the morning and doing P90X after work, and doing P90X in the morning and running after work. Long runs will be Saturday. Assuming I get cleared to run on Thursday (fingers crossed!), here's what that next week will look like:

  • Monday: AM 2 mile run; PM Chest, Shoulders & Triceps, Ab Ripper X
  • Tuesday: Plyometrics
  • Wednesday: AM 3 mile run; PM Back & Biceps, Ab Ripper X
  • Thursday: Yoga X
  • Friday: Legs & Back, Ab Ripper X
  • Saturday: Kenpo X, 4 mile run
  • Sunday: Stretch
Miles are guesses...I'll probably run this weekend too, just because I'll be able to!

As you can probably tell, I pretty much love P90X. (I even convinced my friend Summer to do Kenpo with me since she was staying with me for the weekend, and she loved it and found Tony Horton to be very motivating!) I've been discussing its benefits with my friends, so I'll share a few of the things I've been loving about it here, too:
  • P90X motivates me to get up in the morning. I don't have to leave my apartment and venture into the cold. I don't have to wear a zillion layers. I don't have to think about making sure my Garmin is charged, whether I'm going to be too hot or too cold on a run, if I have my headphones with me so I can watch the news at the gym, etc. I just get up, throw on some clothes (though I sometimes even do some of the less sweat-intense workouts in my PJs...), and pop in my DVD of the day.
  • I do a workout for at least an hour a day. Yes, I also walk to and from the subway, which ends up being a 2 mile walk per day. That gets me moving, but doing P90X means that I have a 1+ hour per day workout. When I did strength training on my own, I was pretty diligent about it, but I would do a full body workout for about 20 mins two or three times a week. With P90X, I dedicate a whole hour to a part of the body, which ensures an awesome workout.
  • I do a different workout every day. Legs one day, arms the next, yoga, plyo, the list goes on... Muscle confusion is one of the cornerstones of P90X. Each phase introduces new moves and workouts, which help to make sure you don't plateau. Trust me, you will not get bored with this workout!
  • I'm doing things I never thought I'd be able to do. I held crane for eight full seconds today - my previous record was zero seconds. When I first did Ab Ripper X, I could not do oblique V-ups. Now I can do them all.
  • There's always room for improvement. You can up your reps or weight, go deeper in the squat, hold the pose for longer, etc. I find that I can do new things with each workout, which is always awesome.
  • I feel awesome. I'm eating better and cleaner - I just don't really crave sweets the way that I did before P90X. I feel energized during the day. I feel proud of myself for doing these tough workouts. I generally feel pretty darn happy!
Just my two cents. Thoughts?

This weekend was a long weekend, which was great. Not only did I get a lot of sleep, but I also had a ton of fun singing karaoke and running around the city with a friend who was visiting. Today was very low key, but in addition to doing Yoga X, I also cooked a big old batch of sweet potato chili, inspired by Kelly at Meals for Miles

Recipe (very similar to Kelly's):
  • 1/2 T vegetable oil
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 cup of frozen corn
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 T chili powder
  • 1 t cumin
  • 1 t salt
  • 3 big handfuls of spinach
  • 1 15 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 oz can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
Heat the oil in a pot and add the chopped sweet potatoes. Saute for 6-8 minutes, until tender. Add the corn, garlic, chili powder, cumin and salt, and saute another 2-3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, black beans, kidney beans and spinach. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. Eat and enjoy!
Bright and spicy vegetarian chili
So delicious! So spicy! I love this chili, and I will be making it again soon.

I've got my first Core Synergistics workout in the muscles are already confused!


  1. great writing! i think your plan for mixing in running will work well. good luck when you get back "on the road..." !

    1. Thanks Pops! So excited to mix it in with P90X!