So in our last post we talked about how dangerous this CrossFit stuff really is. We also talked about the importance of how smart programming and a focus on mechanics (technique) will keep us not only safe, but continually progressing towards our goals. Well if you’re like many out there you’ve picked a goal that sounds something like this: “My New Years resolution is to run a marathon!”
Well congratulations, that sounds like an excellent goal for the New Year! How is that going so far? Not good?Well what’s next? How are you going to ensure you accomplish this new goal? Hmmm…tough questions.. Don’t worry, I’m here to help!
Pick a race
What race would you like to do? There are tons of marathons out there throughout the year and your job is to pick one. You may want to keep in mind a couple of things when choosing though:
- When is it? You want to make sure you pick race that is far enough out to give you a proper amount of time to train for it.
- How far out? Well, that depends. How physically active are you? Have you run a marathon (half?) before? If you are reading this then it is fairly safe to assume that you are familiar with CrossFit and therefore already off to a great start.
- Bottom line: If you are a couch potato, you’ll probably need more time..
- Where is it? There are marathons across the country in many different climbs and places. If you live in San Diego at sea level you may not want to run your first marathon in Denver..
- Weather is also a consideration here, that same San Diego resident who is used to scorching 75 degree summers may not want to pick their first race in Phoenix in July..Just sayin..
There are a ton of traditional marathon “training” programs out there to choose from but, since you’re reading this, you aren’t “traditional”. So lets make some waves and piss off the “Old School” runner out there shall we?
The traditional marathon training program looks something like this:
Which results in something like this:
So this is to say that the traditional program has a volume bias first, intensity is mixed in here and there, and if there is time left over maybe we’ll work on some technique (“Probably not because I’ve been running my whole life, I know what I’m doing!” Right?). So if you look up any of the programs out there on the inter-webs you’ll see an ever increasing amount of milage each week leading up to the race and then a taper week that looks a bit more reasonable. You’ll also see a large group of over trained “athletes” show up at the race, put on a decent performance (excellent in some cases) and then hobble to their cars unable to really train again for many weeks. [HOBBLING RUNNER PIC/VID] In the last workshop I coached at CrossFit by Overload I gave a lecture on common running injuries. I polled the class as I went down the list of the most common injuries we see in the endurance community and EVERY single person in the class raised their hand and stated they have had one or many of the injuries stated. Now, I know my sample size was small at 15 people, but this ins’t the first time I’ve run this experiment and received the same results..So how would ever increasing the volume of training benefit these people? That’s right, it wouldn’t.
So how about we try something radical, shall we?
Which, oddly enough, results in something like this:
So what do we see here? Should look familiar to something we’ve seen before eh? Technique is our primary focus, find yourself a coach and learn how to run, the correct way! Shocking idea, I know, but chances are, you don’t now how to run properly. How do I know? Because running shouldn’t HURT and when I’ve asked “Who has been injured from running?” during a seminar just about every hand goes up. Oh and after I’ve taken those same injured runners and taught them how to run correctly, their injuries went away. That’s right folks, the human body strives to maintain a pain free state, so if you keep beating it up it will eventually quit on you.
Now that we have dialed in your technique (You have, haven’t you?) it is time to introduce you to intensity. If you are a CrossFitter than this is not a new world for you, in fact you may have already identified your spirt animal and given him a name (Mine is a Unicorn). If you aren’t a CrossFitter then this may be a whole new world to you.
Studies have shown that minimal duration, high intensity (anaerobic) efforts have a significant aerobic advantage. What does this mean to you? Short intense running efforts will make you better during your long, less intense, marathon. There are many awesome advantages to this: First, your are running less. This means you have more time to recover, are less likely to become overtrained, and more likely to have additional time to spend with your friends/family. All of these benefits will lead to you being MUCH less likely to become injured during you training. Oh and you’re also more likely to look like that second guy over there..
Finally, it is time to increase the volume. Once we can run correctly, under a large anaerobic load, we can start to gradually increase the length of your workouts. Now I know what you’re thinking: “I’m a big hairy American winning machine and I need to start cracking out those miles! That skinny dude over there is out working me!” Pump the brakes Ricky Bobby, you should only increase the volume to a point where you can still maintain that perfect technique for the duration. There is no point is putting all that work into fixing how you run and slowly cranking up the intensity if you’re going to blow right past you limits with volume and fall right back into your old habits.
Perfect technique equals efficient movement. Efficient movement equals fewer injuries. Fewer injuries equals more high quality training. And lots of high quality, injury free training, equals you being first, not last.
Okay, Okay, I get it, where do I start?
There are lots of resources out there for you, I’ll list a few for you and this time I won’t shamelessly plug myself..again..
- CrossFit Endurance. Take a look at that “Teams” tab and find your self a CrossFit Endurance Team in your area. I bet they would not only be glad to help, but would motivate you to each that goal.
- Zone5Endurance. This site will give you a little bit of ammunition for all the haters out there that tell you what you’re doing will never work and that you’re crazy for even trying..Jerks..
So what did I miss? Questions, thoughts, or comments to any of this are always welcomed!