October 17, 2012


This is a question I have been constantly asking myself...and even more frequently, Googling to find the answer.

Specifically, I wanted to know: "could I just do CrossFit 3-5 times a week and still be prepared for a half marathon?"

And yes, in my quest to not actually go run, I Googled that question more times than I care to count.

I found alot of information about CrossFit athletes and their running endeavours.  Most agreed that you could solely train with CrossFit and still finish - up to a half marathon, in a respectable amount of time.  But, what they also concluded was that there needed to be some incorporation of "CrossFit Endurance" or "CrossFit Football."  I was too lazy and, honestly, a little too scared to delve further and find out what "endurance" or "football" really were.  I mean, let's be real...I've been at this CrossFit gig for exactly one year now.  I am immensely more stronger than I was last October, but I still suck at it.  I can't do double-unders.  I still scale my weight down at least 10 pounds.  And, as a I discovered yesterday, I am awesomely horrible at power snatches.  BUT, I have lost upwards of 12 pounds and at least 3 body fat percentage points.  And, well, if I'm being real, I'll just let you know that I could stand in front of a mirror and look at myself naked all day long....CrossFit has a way of making you THAT proud of the little accomplishments. 

So, with the Savannah Half Marathon less than a month away, I finally came to terms with myself.  I decided that at some point I needed to run for two hours.   My best half-marathon time was around 1:50 and my not so best was around 2:24, so I convinced myself that meeting in the middle would be sufficient.  I figured it wouldn't be pleasant and it certainly wouldn't be pretty; but if I could just put one foot in front of the other for 2 non-stop hours, I would be ready for Savannah.  Or I would end up at the orthopedic office.  And if I ended up in the ortho's office, at least I gave it a fighting chance.

I think I planned the run twelve times over the last three weeks.  I planned it....something came up...I rescheduled it....something came up....rescheduled...another plan-breaker...twelve times over.  Finally, I decided that Sunday, October 14 would be my day.  I recruited Brenna's godmother to run with me and we agreed that we'd do a 6 mile loop twice....I needed an escape plan in case things went really south within the first hour.

We met at 6am and by 6:30 we were off.

I'd like to say that it was amazing or that the challenge of it all made me a stronger person....but, really?  It was sort of easy.  Granted we weren't running any rock star pace (10:20 overall), but I never felt like I couldn't do it.  Sure, my left hip hurt for a minute and then my right knee began to scream a little.   My shoes were rubbing my heels and the little bone on the inner part of my right foot felt weird.  I could feel my toes getting bruised, knowing that inevitable black toenail would resurface.  I wished I hadn't worn brand new minimalist shoes for a not-so-minimalist run.  And on the second loop, I wanted some better headphones.

But, what surprised me the most?  My heart.  I never once felt like I was taxing it.  Actually, I never once felt like my heart rate got even remotely high.  I really could have carried on an entire conversation for two solid hours - one foot in front of the other.  It was the strangest feeling to just run and run and run and feel like (other than the pains in my joints or tendons), I wasn't doing anything at all.  My muscles never ached.  My lungs never screamed to stop.  My feet just kept telling to me to keep going and going and going.

So, back to  my own question -

"Could I just do CrossFit 3-5 times a week and still be prepared for a half marathon?"  

After having run a total of three times this entire year, and none of those runs being longer than 4 miles, I think it's safe to say that, for me, CrossFit does transcend into other athletic pursuits. I really believe, that despite my suck-edness at most things CrossFit, it has made me prepared for anything....including running a half marathon on little to no "specific" training - one of CrossFit's motto's is "our specialty is not specializing" and for ME?  It's working.


wodlover said...

You can definetly do it and even nail it. I did my PRs at that time on 5k, 10k and 21k doing 90% of the time crossfit and just training the rest. What´s even more you can even challenge yourself to do a 25k in a good time, the problem will come afterwards, when you want to increase a little bit the distance you´ll find you´re not as competitive as you thought. I put CF on hold for three months to see what happened to my times just by running, they got even better than with CF. The truth is that despite what many running experts may say how CF and running woun´t work together or how crossfit is not a good training for running, they´re wrong and it´s probably because they´ve never tried CF themselves. I was a runner, then a crossfitter and now do both, I can tell they do complement. If you only do crossfit you´ll definetly woun´t win a marathon, but I can assure you you´ll get very descent finishing times and you´ll be doing it by getting fitter as a whole, not just on running.

Richard C. Lambert said...

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Richard C. Lambert said...

This is a question I have been constantly asking myself...and even more frequently, Googling to find the crossfit shoes