So with the weather turning a little nicer in central Texas, I’ve had several of my athletes start asking more questions about running, and how it fits in with the Crossfit that they have been doing.
This may come as a surprise, but I actually do have an opinion on this.
Running can certainly be a fun way share time with friends, develop a sense of accomplishment, and justify the purchase of some cool shoes. You will notice that I left out anything referencing becoming a super-fit beast that will live forever.
I’m leaving this out because despite what conventional wisdom tells us, cardio taken to extremes can actually cause more problems than good. I’m not saying that you should or shouldn’t run a marathon, but before you decide to run a marathon using the conventional training methods (meaning lots and lots of miles per week), please read and consider this article from Dr. Kurt Harris (Md.).
If you don’t want to read the article, and the documents he references, I can sum it up for you with the following statement: You very well may be increasing your risk of heart attack by doing lots of extreme cardio.
I don’t want to encourage or discourage anyone from doing a marathon or an Ironman, but I want you to seriously consider WHY you are doing it.
Regardless of your fitness goals, you MUST start with a good solid diet. It is impossible to Crossfit your way out of a bad diet, and you can’t possibly run or cycle far enough to get away from a bad diet.
On to fitness, there are countless studies indicating that resistance exercise with moderate cardio has more benefits than cardio alone. If you want to have a long term improvement in your metabolism, putting on some lean muscle will do more for you than running an extra few miles per week.
It has also been proven that shorter bouts of high intensity interval training are easier to recover from than long slow distance (LSD) sessions of cardio (cycling, running, swimming). This is really the key to what drives my recommendations on running.
1. Use the Pose Method to maintain good form (look for a running clinic in the near future). Injuries are the punishment for poor form
2. Do Crossfit to develop a strong core. Every movement you make in three dimensional space leverages one part of your body against your core. The stronger your core, the longer you can maintain good form (see number 1).
3. Limit your running to 15 miles per week. Make all 15 of those miles absolutely the highest quality though.
A sample program that I would recommend to most of my folks
Running intervals twice, tempo run once, and crossfit 2 or 3 times (at least 2 days of rest)
ditto week 1, but a time trial instead of tempo (at least 2 days of rest)
I’ll add this for comparisons sake: the first picture is Paula Radcliffe at 119 lbs (marathon runner) does chronic cardio, the second is Camille Leblanc Bazinet at 125 lbs (Crossfit competitor), can dead-lift 2.5 times her body-weight.