Who am I: a CrossFitting runner or a running CrossFitter?


Happy Wednesday!

Is it just me or is this week just draaagggging along? It really feels like it should be Thursday today.

So, you may be shocked to learn that I haven’t worked out the past couple of days.

Or, you may not be shocked because you read Monday’s post about last week’s workouts and saw it coming.

I’d had such big plans for this week, too. I was going to switch around my schedule a little and do CrossFit Monday through Thursday, running to the box on Monday and Wednesday (or Tuesday and Thursday depending on the weather), rest on Friday (I really, really, really need to give up Friday CrossFit – it makes Saturday’s long run too difficult) and do my long run on Saturday.

Flying Pig is 25 days away and I don’t think I’ve managed more than 10-12 miles in this whole training period! This winter has been brutal and my motivation for running has truly been sapped out.

i'm done

I have, however, been enjoying CrossFit (a little more than running – shhh, don’t tell) but even some of those workouts have been draining. Not that they’re not supposed to be but still – a good workout is one thing, a workout that makes you want to stay in bed for 3 days afterwards is another.

So, I’ve rested (thanks, Carla, for being my sounding board!). And, I actually needed it. Shocker, I know.

A friend of mine, in response to Monday’s post, suggested that I don’t do CrossFit if I want to be a distance runner. He suggests that it interferes with speed days, hills days, or long runs because I go to deep, or push too hard, during the WODs.

And I do push hard during the WODs. I do. I can’t help it. I want to improve. I like having muscles.

rosie the riveter

He’s right, I think, up to a point. I just have to figure out where that point is for me.

Another friend shared this article this week and I shared it to my Facebook page – The New Rules of Fitness. It kinda says the same thing in rule #4, “Train Specific to your Sport.”

BUT, that being said, there are many schools of thought on how CrossFit can actually compliment and even IMPROVE a runner’s skills.

Jess Allen, from the Blonde Ponytail, shared her thoughts in this article: How I used CrossFit to Become a Better Runner.

Here’s another article from Active about how to “Improve Running Performance with CrossFit.”

And, Coach Jenny from Runner’s World weighs in on “How to Add CrossFit to Marathon Training.”

So, who do I want to be? Do I want to be a runner who CrossFits or a CrossFitter who enjoys running? Maybe 4 days of CrossFit really IS too much – although, honestly, I haven’t done 4 days of CrossFit in a row since I actually COULDN’T run and I haven’t done it yet since I’ve been back to running so I can’t truly answer that question at this point.

I think right now, 3 days of CrossFit is a little too much for me when it comes to balancing it with running. Especially since I’m running in the afternoon. (Time of day really DOES make a difference!) So, I’m going to drop it down to 2 days a week – at least until I get through Flying Pig.

And this time, I’m actually going to REST post-marathon. Like, seriously, do NOTHING for a week. I didn’t do that after Mississippi Blues. And, I jumped right into a training plan THE WEEK AFTER THE MARATHON. Not doing that again. I’m certain THAT didn’t help.

Then, I’m going to rethink my training schedule and decide who I want to be.

I’m still seriously thinking about that 50k in October but that will require a LOT of mileage to be covered to train properly. Thankfully, I won’t have to jump right in to an extensive program. A 16-week training plan has me starting mid-June which gives me plenty of time to rest before I start back up.

Perhaps I should ask my CrossFit box if they have any CrossFit Endurance coaches and go that route?

So much to consider. But, first things first – I’m a runner who has a pretty big run coming up right around the corner. I need to focus on that.

Talk to me: Are you a single sport or multi-sport athlete? How do you balance your training? Do they compliment each other (for example: swim/bike/run peeps)?

– jennifer

7 thoughts on “Who am I: a CrossFitting runner or a running CrossFitter?

  1. On the dragging front – I’ve actually dated quite a lot of docs with 4/10/14 today… Oooops 🙂
    On a different note, it just so happens that the Indoor Cycling Summit I am attending now had a session with a fancy pants PhD yesterday on the exercise physiology. She was incredibly good and super funny, and among other issues she covered training of athletes for specific sports, events, etc. I will not dare repeat what she had to say in her exact words (like fast twitching muscles and whatnot), but yes – you do have to train specific to be successful and safe. Do both CF and running in full force and you’re risking to over train (did you know that exercise to our body is just as stressful as emotional stress? It has far more side benefits as opposed to none of the emotional stress, but essentially it is the same stress = exercise balance is super important), do CrossFit more – you might end up undertraining the muscles you need for long distance running (because, you know – the body can only take so much).
    And that’s what I learnt from the fancy pants PhD 🙂
    I think that option of CrossFit endurance sounds like a pretty good compromise.

    • Interesting! I probably am over training (and doing it consciously because I’m, you know, slightly stupid and an over-achiever) and not getting all the benefits I could be from intelligently blending the two. I’m definitely looking into CrossFit Endurance. I had actually looked into it when I first started but it didn’t go anywhere. :/ I’m forcing the issue this time, I think.

  2. It certainly comes down to what you want for sure. I do know that cross training is good for injury prevention, but not performance when it comes to running. Look at the elite fields in any running discipline and see who does crossfit. That said, Crossfit is amazing and produces amazing athletes, so I’ve got no beef with it. If you were a recreational runner with not much experience, the WODs could take you to a level athletically that would translate well into running. But you’re experienced, with a good handle on what you want your performance to be when it comes to running. I think that’s the catch. Once running performance (distance) becomes a goal, something as intense as Crossfit will actually use resources that you need to be a better runner (energy, recovery, etc).
    All that to say, you’re one of my heroes and don’t forget that!

    • I started CrossFit to help benefit my running – building strength to help endurance. Then, I got injured and couldn’t run and CrossFit became my “drug” of choice. I really got to love it but I always wanted to run. I’m still trying to find the balance between the two. I know it’s possible to CrossFit and still be a successful runner – I just have to figure out what works for me. I love CrossFit but I don’t see me working hard enough to try to even remotely compete. I much more enjoy running and relaxing and solving the world’s problems in my head. 🙂 I’m pretty sure I’ve figured out which direction I want to go, I just have to listen to my body to determine the proper level of balance.
      And thanks! I rank you pretty high up there too, you know. Always have. 🙂

      • really love to see you wrestle with the issue. I worked pretty exclusively with Kettlebells for about two years. I know the drill for sure. Then I found running and the rest is history! Thanks for sharing your journey, it is a chance for me to refine my own. Ended up having to bag the 55k in February, but still am pacing my friend at the Bighorn 100 Mile Footrace. 34 miles in the middle of the night…why do I like running again?

  3. Pingback: Surviving the dreaded taper | A Hungry Runner

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