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Fitness Theory and Practice. CrossFit's rationale & foundations. Who is fit? What is fitness?

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Old 05-04-2011, 12:41 PM   #1
Aidan Macdonald
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Track and Field

I will be spending 2 years away from home doing humanitarian aid service. Where? I don't know just yet. I won't have access to barbells or anything fancy. Just my body, things to grab on (pullups), and dirt/sand. Given that, I don't think I will be working on my snatch much.

2 years is a long time for me (18yoa), so I figured that I better have some goals in mind so I train TOWARDS something. I thought I would a good goal would be to join my colleges Track and Field team when I get back. Or at least try to. Meaning try to match their events.

I would like tips, intermediate goals, and what not for how I should train for this. I have never competed in Track, so the times mean little to me. Just as my swim times in high school would mean little to some of you.

Right now, my understanding for track an field is to translate my swim team practices to land.

Current stats
Height: 6'2.5"
Weight: about 193lbs
Bodyfat: low enough for six pack (not vain)
Squat: 5RM 115kg (workset), probably could do 120kg
Deadlift: 5RM 144kg
Snatch: 1RM 70kg (still kind of learning lift)
Clean: 1RM 90kg (haven't tried higher)
Box Jump: Max at bottom of my sternum, probably 4.5 to 5ft
Mile Time: 6:16 (done in January after a stength cycle, no conditioning)
I played waterpolo in high school. I also trained up with a friend for his marathon.

I go to UCSD. Here are the top 5 times for 2010. Mens
100m: 11.15, 11.27, 11.47, 11.51, 11.71
200m: 22.61, 22.75, 23.11, 23.49, 23.76
400m: 48.91, 49.09, 49.98, 50.04, 52.61
800m: 1:50.56, 1:55.70, 1:56.66, 1:56.86, 1:57.52
High Jump: 7'3.25", 6'1.25", 5'11.25"
Long Jump: 22'5", 22'1.25", 21'7.5", 21'6.75", 20'9.25"

In closing (long post), I don't know how good those times are. I realize I am kind of slow, but I have 2 years to work on that (the service comes first, but I like to train too). I will talk to the coach before I leave, but I would like to appear intelligent before I go talk to him. Tips, training concepts/styles, etc. would be wonderful. Thank you.
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Old 05-04-2011, 01:07 PM   #2
Spencer James
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Re: Track and Field

There's an interesting chapter in 4 Hour Body about one collegiate track coach who produces pretty impressive athletes while having them do pretty minimal sprint work. You should check that out just to get some ideas for something you could set up to sort of gauge your progress and see if you're getting faster.
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Old 05-04-2011, 03:41 PM   #3
Nathan Kulas
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Re: Track and Field

Track and Field is a very broad activity range. What events would you be most interested in participating in?

Personally, I did track for several years ranging from 100m dash (PR 11.9?) to 2 mile (PR 11:17) with my strongest events being 400m (PR 52.?), 800m (PR 2:03.?) and 1600m/1 mile (PR 4:59).

I would wager that I would have been better at every one of these events if I had discovered CrossFit back then, or had a coach with some high-level knowledge of the sport. I did not follow any type of weight training regimen - I would good off in the school gym once in a while, but that was very limited.

My training back then MOSTLY consisted of distance runs (2 mile to 8 mile, average run closer to 3.5), with sprint and or hill workouts 1-2 times a week. The sprint workouts were basically all out efforts, usually one of the following:
12x100m
12x200m
8x400m
6x800m
The last two were often done on an incline (once a month or so).

I only competed in college for one year, before changing schools to one that did not have a track program. The coach there had me (as a mid-distance runner) running longer distances - usually 4-10 miles, with very similar sprinting work. I had better success in my specific events with my high school level training.

When it comes to training for running, 4 is usually a pretty magic number - that is, work at distances 4x and 1/4 the max/min distances you intend to compete at. E.g., if you want to train for the 400m, you should be doing 100m sprint work, and 1600m endurance building.

That said, a lot of leg strength is needed for successful mid-distance running. At ~150# I could leg press about 1000# my freshman year of college. Before that, when I did the leg press with only 465# available I was doing sets of 100 reps (again, just goofing off in the gym with no real knowledge) more as competition than as a training regimen - but I mention it just to give you an idea of the type of strength endurance that is equivalent to those times in those events I posted.

Today, I would of course implement DeadLifts, Squats, Cleans, etc. if I was training for the same thing, probably 3 times a week. Whereas you won't have these available, I certainly suggest you try to find a way to substitute.

I have been working on my run times recently, and I have found the 1 mile run to be very good work. I currently run 1 mile in about 5:45. For a while, I ran 1 mile for time at the beginning of every workout, trying to beat my previous time each time. As an example, I had cut out much of my CrossFit workouts, and substituted for Stronglifts 5x5, with my 1 mile run at the beginning of each workout (I did metcon on my days off, but also still did my mile). After about 2 months of this, my Fran time had gone from 4:51 to 3:23, with lower squats on the thruster. The majority of my metcon was coming from my 1 mile runs. I have also moved up in lifting - today I did 5x5 squats at 305#.

I highly suggest that you keep the air-squat in your routine, and also do static style exercises like the static wall-sit. If you can find something heavy to put on your back while you do your squats, that would be best! If you can't find barbells, keep up with strength with bodyweight exercises - definitely keep Cindy on your workout plan.

Either way, great opportunity to work on your running. I know many here will disagree with that, just because I am recommending running, but - if running track is your goal, then a bit of SPP will do you some good toward that goal.
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Old 05-04-2011, 03:56 PM   #4
Aidan Macdonald
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Re: Track and Field

Should I do intervals? And what times/kinds?
In swimming we would do things like 10x100m @ 1:30 each. We beat the interval (make it in 1:05), and rest until the 1:30 is up, and continue. What is the comparable running?

I was planning on doing jumping for leg "strength". Broad Jumps, Bleacher Jumps, Box Jumps, Hurdle Jumps, and Vertical Jumps. Right now, I don't do running starts (except for fun).

As for the events I am interested in, I am interested in the ones I posted the times for. 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, High Jump, Long Jump, Triple Jump, and possibly Shot Put. But as I haven't done much, I would see which I would like best.
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Old 05-04-2011, 04:09 PM   #5
Nathan Kulas
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Re: Track and Field

I'd certainly have to refresh my memory on intervals, but yes you should do them.

As a for instance, on 200m intervals (or 150s for that matter), we would sprint the 200m (curve then straight) with a goal time (I think mine was 28-30 seconds or so) and then either walk or slow jog the diagonal/straight line back to the start, and immediately start again. Walk or jog depended on the day and also affected the goal time - slower times if you jogged back, faster times if you walked (more rest). Again, would need to refresh my memory.

I believe I also remember resting for 1-2x the time that it took to do a 400m interval; so e.g. run 400m in 75 seconds, rest for 1:15-2:30. It may have been 150% of the interval time. I forget.
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Old 05-04-2011, 08:31 PM   #6
Aidan Macdonald
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Re: Track and Field

Does this look good?

Sun - Off
Mon - Sprints and Jumping (slower with less rest)
Tues - Gymnastics/Weight
Wed - HIIT and Military-style PT
Thurs - Off
Fri - Sprints and Jumping (faster with enough rest)
Sat - Gymnastic/Weight

Gymnastics/Weight
I plan on following some progressions to see where I get. Weighted pistols, one arm pullup.

Sprints and Jumps
What you described.
How do you feel I should incorporate jumping? Broad jumps, bleacher jumps. Now I have been doing workouts like 5 round of 5 sets of 5 trashcan jumps (little below the waist).

HIIT and PT
Self explanatory
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Old 05-10-2011, 10:19 AM   #7
Christian Holm
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Re: Track and Field

Aidan, it's great that you're setting goals for when you get back, I expect a killer PST as well!

Sorry this is semi off topic, but Nathan, if I am trying to increase strength without losing conditioning, would implementing that 1 mile run before the workouts be beneficial, and do you think it negatively impacted your squat and deadlifts noticeably that day? And what made you choose the 5x5 program over the 3x5, it seems like you would stall earlier at higher weights?
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Old 05-10-2011, 09:12 PM   #8
Nathan Kulas
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Re: Track and Field

Christian, good question.
I have a strong running background, so a mile is not a huge killer to me. That said, I am usually a strong advocate for training the ATP/CP and lactate energy pathways before the glycolitic on a training day - just as CrossFit Endurance will tell you to do the strenth routine before doing the endurance routine.

I can say that I continued to make progress with my squat, bench press and overhead press doing this. Before starting the 5x5 I was doing something much more similar to madcow, though it was my own programming, which was partially linear, but with much smaller jumps, and much less organized, as I was also mixing in CrossFit a lot, and not dedicating 3 days per week to strength.

The run for me started more as a warm-up.. originally I was doing half miles in about 4 minutes, but the decision to up that came down to the fact that I am in the military and am trying to get my 2 mile run for my APFT back below 13 minutes, so I started at about an 8 minute mile pace and steadily increased my speed for the entire mile; increasing at a steadier pace each workout until I found myself running sub 6-minute miles. So I had a specific goal outside of strength - so unless you also have a specific goal, it might be less recommended.

You might be better off reserving your conditioning for the end of the day, especially if you are able to lift early on. Alternatively, extremely early on your off day (plenty of recovery), following your met-con with some good recovery food (protein and some good carbs... apple and almond butter, or a protein shake) would also be beneficial, as it won't leave you too tired for the next day's strength routine. Its really important when doing a strength routine to ensure you are able to get a full recovery - so that should be your main concern - but I agree, always good to keep the conditioning up.

Aidan, that looks like a good program. I too like to get my gymnastics in at least once a week - even if it is only planche and l-sit progressions, or handstand practice. I would suggest that you get some occasional longer distance runs in there though, up to 2-3 miles if training for the 800m. Once a week would do you good.
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