Last Saturday, my wife Olivia and I completed our first round of the P90X Home Fitness program. As a runner, my goal in doing this program was to improve my marathon performance, specifically targeted at three marathons I’m running this fall and winter. I knew that I needed a better cross-training program, and was really wanting to take my running to the next level. After completing 4 marathons within the previous 9 months (as of June), there were a number of areas where I obviously needed to improve if I wanted to see better marathon times. These included:
- Better muscle balance – My running muscles were very strong, but the opposing muscles were very weak. This was especially true in my glutes, hamstrings & hips. Poor muscle balance greatly increases the risk of injury while running. Also, I have been notoriously weak when running hills, and my hope was that this program would improve the consistency of my running when facing a hilly course.
- Improved core strength – On long runs (15+ miles), I could really tell that my core was weak. My posture would begin to fail and my lower abs would be very sore after the run.
- Improved flexibility – Again, having poor flexibility greatly increases the risk of injury, and I was about as flexible as a steel pipe.
- Higher anaerobic threshold – I had been doing weekly track workouts for about the last 6 months, but wanted to add some additional anaerobic interval workouts to my routine to try and push this threshold even higher.
We began the program in June 2010, after doing a lot of research into various home fitness routines. We additionally followed the general guidelines of the nutrition plan, and used a Weight Watchers maintenance plan to help with knowing how many calories to consume daily. It was tough to maintain the 6-day a week P90X schedule while running 40 to 50 miles per week, but it has been a blast seeing the results.
I’m thankful that my wife agreed to try it with me, though I’m not sure she knew exactly what she was getting herself into 🙂 Her before and after results with the “Fit Test” were very impressive (see below), and I’m proud of her for sticking with it. She is also entered in 3 races this fall and winter (half marathons), and I’m confident she will see significant gains in race performance.
I’ll probably do another post at some point to review the program itself, so I’ll not go through all of the routines. However, my overall review is that this program is excellent and really does work. Anyone who dismisses it simply because it is typically promoted through infomercials, is really missing out on a fantastic routine. It has a great mix of resistance, cardio, and flexibility training.
As part of the program, all participants are encouraged to do a “Fit Test” before and after the 90 days. Olivia and I both saw pretty dramatic improvements in these exercises, and I have included the highlights below:
Timothy – Fit Test – Before & After
(01) = Before Day 1 / (90) = After Day 90
- Rest Heart Rate (01) – 59
- Rest Heart Rate (90) – 57
- Pull-ups (01) – 2
- Pull-ups (90) – 10
- Push-ups (01) – 28
- Push-ups (90) – 42
- Wall Squat (01) – 98 sec
- Wall Squat (90) – 240 sec
- Bicep curls (01) – 11 w/ 20 lbs
- Bicep curls (90) – 20 w/ 20 lbs
- In & Outs (01) – 45
- In & Outs (90) – 80
- Weight Lost = 8.5 lbs
Olivia – Fit Test – Before & After
(01) = Before Day 1 / (90) = After Day 90
- Rest Heart Rate (01) – 67
- Rest Heart Rate (90) – 67
- Push-ups (01) – 4.5
- Push-ups (90) – 28
- Wall Squat (01) – 60 sec
- Wall Squat (90) – 120 sec
- Bicep curls (01) – 20 w/ 8 lbs
- Bicep curls (90) – 26 w/ 8 lbs
- In & Outs (01) – 33
- In & Outs (90) – 60
- Weight Lost = 7.5 lbs
Timothy – Training Run Stats – Year over Year (2009 vs. 2010)
While all of these improvements can’t be solely attributed to P90X, it has no doubt helped a significant amount. The comparison is year over year to try and see stats in similar running conditions.
- June 2009 – 6.1 mph
- June 2010 – 6.7 mph
- July 2009 – 6.5 mph
- July 2010 – 6.9 mph
- August 2009 – 6.4 mph
- August 2010 – 7.0 mph
- Sept 2009 – 6.6 mph
- Sept 2010 – 7.4 mph
Average Heart Rate:
- June 2009 – 165 bpm
- June 2010 – 153 bpm
- July 2009 – 166 bpm
- July 2010 – 153 bpm
- August 2009 – 161 bpm
- August 2010 – 150 bpm
- Sept 2009 – 160 bpm
- Sept 2010 – 150 bpm
Well….the real test of the results will be at the Twin Cities Marathon on October 3, 2010. My current marathon PR is 3:39, and I’m hoping to significantly improve upon this finish time. Anyone else have a positive experience with P90X they want to share? I would especially love to hear from anyone who has gone through the program to improve their running performance.