Monday, June 4, 2012

Insanity - Week 4: Running versus Insanity

First of all, these four weeks have just flown by!

Regarding the subtitle of this post, I should say that running IS insanity, but this particular post is focused on how Insanity has fit into the routine of a person who runs regularly.

Okay, so I don't run regularly. Not anymore, or at least, I have not been as of late. As I mentioned in my marathon recap from Sunday, since the end of last year, specifically after embarrassingly logging so much training and blowing a marathon, I think my priorities had shifted. I may have not wanted this to happen, but they did. I was finding that I was performing similarly with less mileage, so I simply did videos and ran a few times a week.

When I decided to start Insanity after the OC Half-Marathon, it was a result of timing -- maybe not good timing, but still. I had a month until my race, I had just met up with my P90X2 graduate friend (double meaning!), and I had also come off of a few weekends of parties and indulgences that left me, um, nearly unable to fit in my pants.

I'm sure it didn't happen that quickly. I ate super clean (for me) prior to my engagement shoot back in March, but I didn't want to do anything more like crazy workouts or calorie-counting because I was running a lot of races at the time. Coming off of those races, my running slacked off, my anxiety at work (and thoughts of my wedding) picked up, and with that came poor choices. I was exercising, sometimes twice a day, but not at the normal intensity. My energy fell... I came home from work and laid on the couch until I fell asleep, sometimes without eating dinner because I just wanted to lay.

I go through cycles when it comes to my health.  Sometimes, I'm pretty good and actually find eating salads and being active easy.  This usually is followed by a period of times when I'd eat more sweets than usual, feel yucky, and then something (like a documentary, a race, friend, or even a sporting event) will trigger a health kick once more. 

So even though I knew the marathon was coming up, I knew nothing was going to inspire me out of this rut that I was hitting. Insanity was an answer -- it loomed like a challenge, a do-able challenge -- or a freakish experiment. Sure, I'd have to work it around training for a marathon, but I was determined to make it work even though I thought running was now "boring."

Thinking back, I didn't run nearly enough in training, and I just got lucky in my race.  Since the exercises are very much "high intensity," I was able to think back as I was running the 26.2 and thinking, "Well, at least I am not panting like crazy" or "At least I don't have to do push-up jacks or any jumping at the end of this."  I truly believe that the Insanity workouts have made my legs stronger, which is why I performed decently at the race.  Additionally, I was able to use my upper body, quads, and core more when my calves were tired.  Heck, I think my calves may have gotten a little stronger, too, since they didn't cramp until the very end.  Also, the mental factor of "pushing" (as Shaun T says) did help a little, too.

Reflections of Week 4 (end of Phase I):

This was my last week doing these workouts before the next phase.  I will miss some of them (Pylometric Cardio Circuit) and not others (Cardio Power & Resistance).

In order of toughness, I'd rank the five discs in this order of difficulty: 1) Plyometric Cardio Circuit, 2) Pure Cardio/Cardio Abs, 3) Cardio Power & Resistance, 4) Cardio Recovery

Monday - Pure Cardio & Cardio Abs (the only ab workout that gives me a true burn)
Tuesday - Cardio Power & Resistance and light cross training in the PM
Wednesday - Plyometric Cardio Circuit
Thursday - 3.8 mile run
Friday - Pure Cardio & Cardio Abs (I will probably review the Cardio Abs disc later since it's unique and will still be a part of the next phase)
Saturday - rest (in lieu of Plyometric Cardio Circuit)
Sunday - Marathon

Bottom line, while I don't have a definitive answer of whether running and Insanity are compatible, I will definitely experiment with it more in the future.  I should note that on my runs so far since I started, I have felt lighter on my feet.  Surely, doing track-like drills support sprinting and such, so sometimes on my runs I'd go 6:40/pace during a stretch and feel awesome.  So perhaps after I complete the program, I will work on my speed for a while to keep me entertained AND running.

The fact that my marathon came exactly four weeks into the program is perfect time, as this week is a "Recovery Week" of sorts before I start the intimidating Month 2.  More to come on that later.


  1. ***Edited to add: I wanted to add Fit Test as the second toughest disc, but I forgot, and Blogger won't let me edit this post for some reason. Agh! Sorry so dolt-y.

  2. I don't miss heavy running. Those 30-40 mile week were never fun fitness to me. I do enjoy around 15 miles a week in addition to Crossfit. My only gripe with Insanity is the loneliness that goes with it. I need the competition of a group!

  3. Yikes Insanity looks so hard. I did find P90X to be compatible with running though. I used to do the strength workouts and then on P90X cardio days I would run instead of Plyo, Kenpo etc. It worked great. And I'm in one of those ruts right now too - maybe it's time I pulled it all out again...

  4. It's tough to start a new cross training or strength training program in the middle of training for a race. I'm always a bit sore after DVD workouts or things like the Nike training app and that me not want to run the next day or take it easy and slow.