Caution: This post is lengthy & wordy!
I’ve mentioned in various posts that i’m experimenting with the Crossfit Endurance Program for the year to stay fit, healthy & in racing shape as I attempt some speedy PR’s. I think it’s time to update you dudes about the program, how i’m liking it, and how my body is changing. Obviously, I had a speed bump recently with the IT band, but I was still able to continue with the running drills & strengthening my weakness during time off from running.
The major changes with Crossfit Endurance were training with higher intensity, lower volume & running with a skill based approach. I eliminated “junk miles” and replaced them with shorter interval workouts. I traded in traditional strength training workouts for High Intensity Circuit Training (which also helps replace junk miles) and started working on running skills to increase cadence (steps per minute), improve muscle elasticity and activating the hamstrings & glutes, which are often “asleep” in most runners.
The program claims to keep you working at a high intensity level where you will be in racing shape year round and be less likely to get injured at a lower overall volume.
I’ve been following this program since January so i’m going to start with the thing I did not like. The major flaw with the CFE program that I didn’t notice until after I got hurt —Crossfit doesn’t do a ton of lateral (side-to-side) movements. Since Crossfit Endurance is geared toward tri-athletes & marathoners, i’m disappointed that the lateral movement is missing where it is needed most.
That being said, I’m impressed with the program. Crossfit bears a negative connotation most of the time if you hear the name, however after reading two books (The Ultimate Runner and Power Speed Endurance ) & following the program, Brian MacKenzie is a smart guy who puts mobility, functional movement and recovery first!
Let’s talk about the things I enjoyed with the program. First off, I lost body fat % and inches in my waist & thighs, while gaining some inches in my hips (woo!). My cadence increased, I’m now hitting 173-185 per minute easily. With the hamstring activation drills, my quads don’t tire out any more. I actually enjoy the High Intensity Circuit Training —> where i fell in love with the rower!
The coolest, biggest surprise of all? Through my IT band injury i kept up with the intense circuit training & running drills along with the hip/glute IT band exercises and I haven’t lost much speed! Taking off 8 weeks of running is always scary. Especially when it comes to speed. I’m definitely not where I was in April, but i’m not far off either and that i can say is why I’m a Crossfit Endurance believer. When they say you keep up the intensity (which can help replace some speed work) they weren’t kidding.
I’m finally going to share a few sample running drill routines i’ve been doing since January. My lovely friend Sarah let me film a few videos to help everyone out. Most of these drills you can also find on the instagram account BVMCrossfit <—i highly recommend following this for ideas!
The drills are specifically for activating your hamstrings to pull (heel up toward glutes) instead of reaching (when you heel strike) so you train to take shorter quicker steps (like the elites!) and you don’t lose forward momentum. What does all this mean? Basically you will run faster and more efficient because your full leg (hamstrings/glutes/quads) are working to move the feet up and down as quickly as possible. (Pose Method)
I’ve put several clients though a drills & skills day and each of them agreed, the drills are way harder than they look, they didn’t realize their imbalances & all found benefits with the workout. I actually had a heel striking client do a 180 and started mid-foot striking by the end of our 40 min session. :) Another one of my clients who does 100+ mile bike rides during the weekends said that learning how to “pull” has helped her tremendously in terms of saving her quads from burning out.
Monday: 20 min lats/shoulders, 2m walk with LE
Tuesday: 5m easy 8:20/pace, pushups + core
Wednesday: 3000m row + upper body circuit + 1.5m walk with LE
Friday: 5m easy 8:45/pace
Saturday: 50 min total body HICT
Sunday: 9m easy 9:00/pace
Total Mileage: 19 running, 3.5 walking
July 20th- July 26th
Tues: 4m easy 8:45/pace, 20 min hips
Wed: 1 mile walk w/LE
Thurs: 6m easy 8:32/pace
Fri: 2500m row, 25 toes-to-bar, 50 bench triceps dips, 50 wall kick ups
Sat: 2m walk w/LE
Sun: 10m long 8:42/pace
Total Miles: 20 running, 3 walking
What are your favorite running drills?
Do you know what your cadence is?