How I trained for my FIRST Marathon with P90X

btn_tbb_play_gameBack in January 2009, when I made the commitment to run the full Seattle Rock N’ Roll Marathon, I had no idea the daunting task ahead of me. And HELLO, this was my FIRST MARATHON!  No 1/2 Marathon’s in between.  Full bore, people.

I was ready to take on the challenge, but was not sure if I could actually pound the pavement for 26.2 miles.I mean, that’s 26.2 miles!!!Not a 5k, 8k or 10k, but 26.2 miles.WOW.But, being the competitive individual that I tend to be, I wasn’t going to let that amount of mileage bring fear and doubt into my abilities.Just was not going to happen.

So, with that said, how was I going to prepare for my first marathon training?Many of my friends and family asked me daily, “how are you preparing for this race?”There was a lot of preparation involved.Not only physical, but mental.You have to get into that mental space to be able to prepare for such a long journey.So, I had to have a little ‘heart-to-heart’ with myself, so I knew what was expected.

It first started with reviewing my running schedule, as suggested and recommended by a 2-time finisher of the Seattle Marathon, and good friend of mine, Janna, to follow.She had trained vigorously with Chuckit running group.In appreciating her advice and guidance, we quickly downloaded the schedule, posted it on my fridge and was time to get to it.Also, I was fortunate to talked with a number of running Coaches, who helped me get prepared with proper nutrition and pre-event training.

Another piece to incorporate into my training was my P90X routine.I was obsessed and addicted to it, so in getting on the Team Beachbody message boards early on, I had learned that many race enthusiasts, had kept up with P90X to train for their respective races – whether it be a Marathon, Ironman, bike race or swimming.PERFECT!I was just coming off my last 90- day program of ChaLEAN Extreme, so was chomping at the bit to get back to P90X.This was perfect timing.So, just as I was gearing up for my longer runs, I was getting back onto my faithful 90-day regime.

There are some that caution doing strength training while training for a race like a marathon, which I could never understand.How could strengthening your upper & lower body and abs/core, hinder your stamina for a race??I don’t think I could’ve made it through race day without the endurance I built from workouts such as Plyometrics (aka “jump training”), Legs & Back or the echoing remnants of Tony Horton’s famous “tips of the day”.One of my favorites has to be “don’t smash your face” – just brilliant!I mean, that just covers all things across the board, wouldn’t you say?P90X’s regimented routine of muscle confusion not only can get you in great shape, but prepare you for the mental and physical hardship that one experiences in preparation for any kind of race.A very well rounded program in any regard.

So on with the running. I transitioned my dread hitting the pavement for hours on end, to allowing it to be a short escape from a busy life of being a Stay-At-Home Mom.I was determined.

Going forward, I had to yet again, mentally prepare myself for the longer runs and know I was mostly doing them on my own…especially the daunting 20 mile one!!!I’ve always felt I was a pretty strong runner, but then again, my longest distance may have been 8 miles or so, and that was usually with crowds of people cheering you on.But, as I started to log my longer runs, I couldn’t believe the energy and stamina I had felt.Could this been a results of P90X?You betcha!!

So, in response to my friends, family and WOWY workout buddies, I was confident in saying that P90X was my crutch, to get me mentally and physically prepared for the race – AND IT DID!!I beat my goal of 4 hours and 30 minutes and completed the race in just 4 hours!!

Here was my training schedule:

Day 1: Strength train & Ab Ripper X* (AM) + 3-5 mile run (PM)
Day 2: Plyometrics (NO RUN)
Day 3: Strength & Ab Ripper X(AM) + 3-5 mile run (PM)
Day 4: Yoga X (AM) + 3-5 mile run (PM)
Day 5: Legs/Back & Ab Ripper X (AM)
Day 6: Long Run
Day 7: Rest

(*I followed the Classic Version of P90X)

One final note, the support and encouragement I received from everyone throughout my training was overwhelming.I truly took each inspiration word, phrase, thought and gesture with me each step of the way.I’d like to thank everyone that had faith in me that I could do it!The power of positive thinking!

Your partner in health & fitness.


  1. I would love to hear more about the specifics of your P90X/Running routine. I have been a runner all my life and this summer began training for my first full marathon (I’ve done several half’s and wanted a new challenge). I loved training but ended up with a foot injury. I took two months off while trying to get it to heal (an MRI and x-ray said no stress fracture but the doc couldn’t say what it was), and purchased P90X to try to mix up my exercise. Now, even though my foot is not 100%, I want to get back into running and hopefully do my marathon next year, but I love the P90X workouts. I just don’t know how to build a reliable “routine” with P90X and running. I want to run three days a week and do P90X three days a week. How did you do it?

  2. choose2befit says:

    Hi Cori!
    Thanks for your remarks, I would love to share with you what I did. I think P90X was the pivotal piece to my training, as it offered great balance, increased stability, endurance and overall strength to hit the pavement for 4 + hours. I can email you specifics, but here’s what I did for the most part, along with the classic P90X calendar:
    Day 1: Strength train* (AM) + 3-5 mile run (PM)
    Day 2: Plyo
    Day 3: Strength (AM) + 3-5 mile run (PM)
    Day 4: YogaX (AM) + 3-5 mile run (PM)
    Day 5: Strength (AM)
    Day 6: Long Run
    Day 7: Rest

    I generally did not run the day before my long run. I hope that helps, but I’ll email you to chat more in detail.

  3. Taryn- I am a runner who is starting P90X tomorrow and was googling Running and P90x to see what I could find as I am a little unsure of what to expect. I really don’t want my weekly mileage to suffer as running is my main thing, but I want to get shredded and hope the P90x will do this! Any tips etc you can share would be great!! Thanks! Also..were you doing the Classic or Lean along with your running?

  4. Hi, Taryn! Your post was very, very encouraging to me as well. I just found your post by googling p90x + running.

    I am a runner and cross country coach, but I have known for a long time that I needed to incorporate strength training into my routine. After all, there are a lot of really fast runners with really large bottoms! Mine is not REALLY large yet, but I want to keep it from becoming so!

    Anyway, I got p90X, and I would LOVE to know the schedule you followed along with training for the marathon. I am more of a 10K runner… I run about 4x per week (2 easy, 1 speed work, 1 long run). If you could email specifics and/or advice, I would be very thankful!
    Heather Duley
    New Albany, MS

  5. Would you be willing to share your p90x & running schedule in a blog post? I am also more of a 10k runner as well and would love to see what the training looks like.

    Virginia Beach, VA

  6. choose2befit says:

    Here is an example of the running scheduled I trained with for my 1st marathon. This is using the first phase of the Classic version:

    Day 1: Chest/Back & Ab Ripper (AM) + 3-5 mile run (PM)
    Day 2: Plyo (NO RUN) – this was essential in my training, I felt. I couldn’t believe how strong and energized I felt on my run days after doing Plyo.
    Day 3: Shoulders/Arms* & Ab Ripper (AM) + 3-5 mile run (PM)
    Day 4: Yoga X (AM) + 3-5 run (PM)
    Day 5: Legs & Back* & Ab Ripper (AM) and NO RUN
    Day 6: Long Run
    Day 7: REST
    * If you feel that your legs feel too “heavy” after Legs/Back day, you could always switch Shoulders/Arms & Legs/Back to give them a rest, then you’ll want to switch up the running as well.

    Hope this helps. You are always welcome to contact me with further questions:

  7. Janet Traugh says:

    Great Page. I really enjoy reading how everyone has worked to their accomplishments. All the tips have helped. I am going to do my 2nd half, and started P90X and your schedules have really helped me out, and finding what is best for my training. Thank You.

  8. choose2befit says:

    Thanks Janet! I’m so glad it was helpful and I appreciate you taking the time to read the article and comment. Let me know if you have any questions as you work towards your 2nd marathon! Go get it girl!!!

  9. Hi Taryn,
    I stumbled on your site with a google search about p90x and marathon training and I was wondering if it was possible to chat in more detail via email about a training schedule + suggestions. My first marathon is in october and I want to add more than just running to my schedule and have heard good things about p90x but I’m a little nervous about destroying my body. Any advice is really appreciated!

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