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Old 10-16-2005, 12:25 PM   #1
Michael Homburger
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Location: Toronto  Ontario
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I thought some of you might be interested in my recent experience with running a half marathon and the roll Crossfit played in my training regime.

For the past 5 years, until this past August, my regular training had consisted of running to prepare for various races, and climbing about twice a week. I’ve always thought of running as tool to keep fit for climbing. In preparing for these races I use the training schedules on www.halhigdon.com, usually the Intermediate regimen.

Here are some results from my previous races:

2001-Toronto Intl half marathon: 1:39:49
2002-Toronto Intl half marathon: 1:37:34
2004- Toronto Waterfront marathon: 3:33:59
2005-Miami Tropical half marathon: 1:41:06 (training in freezing weather to run a race in hot weather with high humidity has a cost).

I was unaware of Crossfit until this past August. I had just returned from a 3-week climbing trip at the end of August, and in the course of doing some research on routes in the Alps, I came across the www.gymjones.com site. I’d read and enjoyed some of the books written by Mark Twight so I became interested and read all of the info in the “Knowledge” section of the site (great resource; thanks Mark!). What I found particularly interesting was his success in training for a ski mountaineering race by doing very short workouts based on something called Crossfit. I immediately went and checked the Crossfit page he’d linked to and was hooked in short order.

After reading about Mark’s experience I thought I’d try something similar as I’d been planning on running the 2005 Toronto Intl half marathon (October 16). I hadn’t been doing much running prior to starting training (15km/wk max), but I was feeling relatively fit as I’d been road riding a fair bit during June and July (for me this means about 200km/week) as well as climbing pretty hard in preparation for our trip. In the past I’ve always felt much fitter after spending a few weeks climbing—this makes sense as long days spent ascending/descending uneven ground while carrying a pack, as well as the climbing itself, has to have a positive effect—and this most recent trip was no different. Even though I’d not been running much since January I feel that I had a pretty good base from all km’s put in during the workups to the previous races I’d done.

I started training at the beginning of September. I decided to do only 2 days per week from the Higdon half marathon advanced schedule—one long run and one day of speed work (400m, 800m, or 1600m sprints)—and add in 3 to 4 Crossfit workouts per week. I continued climbing 2 days per week as well as cycling once per week (I stopped cycling during the last two weeks). I ended up sticking to the Crossfit schedule pretty much as rx’d, only modifying weight where necessary (this means most of the time!) and avoiding leg intensive WOD’s the day before my long run (Did that damn virtual shoveling workout the morning after running 20 km and nearly died. I certainly wouldn’t have liked to have that sequence reversed.) If a specific week contained a WOD that involved running I’d try to sub that in for something having complicated O lifts. The first workout I did was the 7x7 deadlift one. Man, I’d never have suspected that something that sounded so easy could kick your *** so totally! Pretty soon I noticed a big improvement in my legs. I was able to ride at a high intensity for much longer than previously and when doing sprint work I was running 800’s at a faster pace than I’d previously done my 400’s. I also noticed an improvement in my climbing, especially overhung stuff (can you tell I’d never worked on pull-ups?).

During training I ended up running only 211 km of the 555 km rx’d by Higdon on the advanced program (vs. 430km rx’d on the intermediate program, which I’d used for my previous pr). I certainly found training a lot more fun this time.; it’s no problem to get psyched to do sprints if you haven’t run on 6 of the previous 7 days. I found I’d run them at a lot higher intensity. I really enjoyed the variety of the Crossfit WOD’s and am looking forward to continuing them on a regular basis.

Anyway, I ran the race this morning, finishing in 1:34:53 , which I’m quite happy with (a 0:02:41 improvement over my previous pr.)

Hope someone finds this useful.

I’ll finish with a big thanks to Mr. Glassman.

Cheers,
MH
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Old 10-16-2005, 02:09 PM   #2
Russ Greene
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I'm saving this one to show to all my runner friends. Great job!
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Old 10-17-2005, 12:08 PM   #3
Steve Serrano
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Fantastic effort Mike! Great application of the methods.
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