Challenges Collide: Right now I’m tackling two big challenges and I hope I can keep up.
The Whole Life Challenge (WLC) restricts my diet to mostly paleo and nothing processed, requiring some extra time and thought. Need a GU for a long run? Too bad. Try mashed sweet potatoes instead. This challenge is important to me, though. I really want to progress in my performance and see how much I can improve in 8 weeks. Also, the person at my CrossFit locale who shows the most improvement overall gets a trip to Costa Rica so…there’s that.
Training for a 50k involves a lot of time spent running. Duh. This week I’m supposed to get in 28 total miles, running 3x mid week and long runs on both Saturday and Sunday. At the peak of my training cycle, I’ll be doing back to back double digits on my weekends and my midweek runs will get as high as 10 miles.
However, I also go to CrossFit 3 times a week. On Monday, 2 miles was built in to the WOD so I was lucky there. I usually do CrossFit in the evening so I will really have to become a morning runner to get the miles in. I’ll also be running on my CrossFit ‘rest’ days, but I will have one day of complete rest (except for the 10 minutes of active recovery for the WLC).
CrossFit and distance running aren’t really friends? At least, that’s the impression I’ve got from some CrossFit folks and I know that some runners raise eyebrows to weight lifting. CrossFit typically views distance running as bad for your body, or at least a narrow and incomplete form of fitness. Distance running doesn’t want the unnecessary weight of non running muscle reducing speed, and when you love running, why do anything else? There are many folks in the middle, though, who believe in the benefits of strength training for runners. So CrossFit and distance running might not be BFF but they’re not enemies, per say.
Enter CrossFit Endurance. This is meant to be something of a bridge; still promoting the all-around fit goals of CrossFit, but allowing athletes to specialize in endurance activities like swimming/biking/running. This is accomplished by doing specific endurance sport workouts in addition to regular CrossFit workouts. However, CrossFit Endurance wants to focus on “eliminating unnecessary volume of training” and increasing the intensity of training. Shorter, harder runs. Long, slower runs for time spent on your feet is not really in the program. Might back to back 20 milers be considered unnecessary? Probably. Fortunately that’s not in my 50k training plan anyway.
But what if I trained for a 50 miler?
Combining the Two? For me, the weight lost and muscle gained (as well as core strength) from CrossFit will be beneficial to my run because my run has a lot of room for improvement anyway. At this point, I can only benefit from getting in better shape and I’ll never be so fast that some extra muscle will become a problem for me. So I will continue doing CrossFit 3x a week while training for my 50k. I won’t be scratching the long training runs, but I do want to put more intensity into my shorter runs to work on speed.
So, a midweek CrossFit Endurance run workout might look like this: 6 to 12 x 200m, 90 seconds rest, hold splits within 3-5 seconds. And, my Ultra Training Schedule may call for a 4 or 6 mile day. Put the two together and I could do a 2 mile run, then do 1 mile’s worth of repeats, and then another cool down mile or easy three. I’m no expert or coach so don’t do what I do. I’m just saying I can’t see a problem with combining the two workouts for anything less than 10 miles. If you are an expert or a coach, please correct me if I’m wrong. I’d love to hear your free advice. [o:
Regular life must go on during all this and I hope I can strike a balance between time spent prepping fuel for my workouts, doing my workouts, and getting good rest with everything else that is actually more important (marriage and family, friends and work). I want to be careful not to wear myself out. I don’t want to get injured. This is, hands down, the most active I’ve ever been in my life…and I’m enjoying it! I want to be able to keep enjoying it. So I’m getting organized with a printed schedule and planning out my next 4 months.
Do you do CrossFit AND run marathons? What has your experience been?