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Steve Sheffar 07-03-2007 10:50 AM

Not sure if this is the right spot on the forum to post this.

I have a friend who is dead set against crossfit as a way to compliment a distance running career. I tried unsuccessfully to convey the Crossfit methodology and why it is needed.

I am sure that there are runners here who can assist me with this. Can someone explain exactly how a runner would incorporate crossfit into their life and training?

Thank you

Peter Keller 07-03-2007 11:19 AM


I came to Crossfit from an endurance running background. This type of training is a real hard sell with that crowd.

Additionally, I notice that you mentioned a "career". As Crossfit is GPP, it may actually be a bad fit for him, if his end goal is faster running times.

However, if overall physical fitness is his goal (this is my goal), then Crossfit + Endurance is great (for me, anyway).

For my personal regimen (which leaves much to be desired due to work + school) I run 1-3 days a week and Crossfit 1-3 days a week. My weekly running mileage varies from about 5-15 mpw. On this "schedule" I completed a trail 30k about a month ago in about 3 hours, and I was only off my 30k trail PR by about 10 minutes (set while I was clocking ~25 mpw).

Hope this helps...

Jay Cohen 07-03-2007 11:30 AM

Don't waste your breath. CF is not for everyone as Peter states.
As an ex runner, I never wanted to "look" like a runner, but to run fast, the war camp survivor or Kenyan native look is the way to go. Of course, runners have are not in the best GPP shape, but hey, that leaves more room in the gym,garage, etc for us. Now its CF 5 days per week, Paleo diet, rock climbing, kayaking, yoga, etc, but not going in a straight line for miles on end, hence no long distance sports.
Just my not humble two cents....

John McBrien 07-03-2007 02:47 PM

Hey Steve,

Eugene Allen may have some good input. If you search for his name, you'll find numerous threads where he talks about Ironman triathlons or marathons and their relationship with CF. There's also a thread currently under Fitness about training for an Ironman and CrossFit.

I'm currently training for the Marine Corps Marathon and in order to reach my goal time I have sacrificed a lot of CF workouts in favor of specificity. However, I do know that there is an ultramarathoner on the message board and she works with a CF trainer at an affiliate and has had success utilizing CF in addition to her ultra training.

Lincoln Brigham 07-03-2007 04:35 PM

When discussing fitness with marathon runners, one must be reminded that the very first marathon runner DIED. That is the heart of its appeal. To finish a marathon is to cheat death.

Dave Henry 07-03-2007 08:08 PM

Steve... bring them out to run with me.... I'm sure I can keep up at the very least.... aswell ask the about pain in the knees, feet, back ect... if they say yes to any, then strength is the solution...
bring them on thurs!

Eugene R. Allen 07-03-2007 08:32 PM

Steve - check out the latest CrossFit Journal article by Coach Rippetoe wherein he writes of Silly BS. Marathons fit into this category for him and he presents with no hint of his tongue in his cheek his view of LSD as being the "single best way to lose muscle mass ever devised". Even as an endurance guy I love this, "Yet the vast majority of exercise advice from the medical community involves LSD of one type or another: the old traditional workhorse of the LSD world jogging, its even more ineffective little brother, walking or their still less effective but more fun and better-looking cousin, cycling". He's poking me in my sporting eye but I still love how he writes...and can do little to argue against his point.

The carry over of CF into long or ultra course triathlon or marathons is not particularly good and that's not the fault of CF. That you can't get a sheet of plywood to fit in your Ferrari does not speak badly of the Ferrari...that's just not what it's for. As Peter mentioned CF is a GPP program and endurance stuff is not only specific but at the other end of the energy system profile where we like to spend our time. Peter also notes that you describe your friend's running as a "career" which is an indication that he takes it very seriously which means the war camp survivor look that Jay brilliantly points out is what he seeks, not the sculpted muscle and brawn of a CrossFitter.

CrossFit will make him more fit, but it will not make him better at his marathon distance running. Hopefully he will see the light and make running just a part of his overall fitness experience rather than continuing to create treatment opportunities for the sports medicine community.

Jay Cohen 07-04-2007 02:34 AM


Great summation.

Daniel Freedman 07-04-2007 08:28 AM

It's all a matter of perspective.

I'm a marathon and ultramarathon runner, who has also done some special events -- including a 24 hour simulation of Navy SEAL training called the SEAL Adventure Challenge. It took me months to get into shape for the SEAL event; I never would have been able to hoist logs or inflatable boats with just a running training base.But the mental toughness I had built up in distance running served me well in the SEAL event. I've also done several high intensity military fitness programs -- so believe me I know what push ups and burpees are.

I agree that Crossfit is a tough sell to many in the running crowd. The flip side of "why would you want
to run off muscle?" is "why would you want bulk up and slow down?" That said, more and more runners now do some form of cross-training. But one look at the equipment in a Crossfit facility would be enough to scare most of them off.

Many runners would call Crossfitters fat and out of shape; many crossfitters would call runners thin and out of shape. It all gets back to the question: "what is fitness?"

As a Crossfit newbie, I'd be very interested in hearing from other runners and/or ex-runners! Tell us about your journey. Enquiring minds want to know...

John McBrien 07-04-2007 01:12 PM

I'm currently training for a marathon but I don't consider myself a runner. I absolutely love CrossFit. Daniel, you make a really good point. Our definition of fitness is far different from that of a runner. The runners I typically meet never want to associate themselves with weightlifting, gymnastics, and the like.

I do know that CF gives me a greater sense of confidence and mental edge compared to some of the runners I've been training with. That has just been my experience; when we performed a 2 mile uphill as part of a 10 miler I felt that the GPP CF provided really helped me take the hill strong and feel better.

I always feel like I recover better and am less prone to injury because of CF. I think CF has made my core a lot stronger too and I've noticed the advantage it has provided me in my training.

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