Author: Paula Parker
WHY CROSSFIT CAN HELP WITH RUNNING
CrossFit targets multiple aspects of fitness and the whole body as we know. Whereas running is mainly cardiovascular and lower body. In order to get better at something, there is the tendency to think you just have to keep doing more of that thing, but this is only true up to a certain point. If you just do the same thing over and over again and don’t fix any technical errors along the way or work on the weaknesses that create them things breaks down. An injury happens or maybe you plateau and can’t make any more improvements. CrossFit can help with this when it comes to running because it is a full body approach to fitness. You gain mobility and strength in all areas of the body while also working on cardiovascular capacity.
For a runner that doesn’t know how to engage their glutes and can’t squat their body weight properly this can make a big difference (this is definitely where I started out). By doing CrossFit you’re learning how to do the movements correctly with the help of a coach and working on areas that you might not have known were a weakness. The runner that can’t engage their glutes and can’t squat properly now has gained that mobility and improved their strength by doing CrossFit. This means less injury and longevity in running because without that mobility and strength in running it causes a break down in technique and puts extra strain on muscles and joints that could be avoided.
HOW TO IMPLEMENT RUNNING AND CROSSFIT
The hurdle with running and CrossFit is trying to find a balance between the two. Runners want to run all the time and CrossFitters want to CrossFit all the time. But what if you want to do both all the time?
This isn’t something that I’ve found works well unless you’ve got a lot of time, little to no stress in your life and near perfect technique in CrossFit and running. Balance is key here and you should probably decide which one is the focal point or if they are both just hobbies, you’d like to be able to do together. Another determining factor is what keeps you from doing both? Is it time, fatigue, or maybe an injury that pops up here and there? These things are key to figuring out what will work for you. If it’s one of the first two that is fairly easily resolved. If it’s an injury you may need to look at getting someone to help you figure out what is causing the injury. It could be a technique fix during running or it could be overtraining without adequate recovery. The second should be an easier fix but isn’t always easy for the person that doesn’t do moderation well.
The sweet spot here seems to be 2-3x a week running in combination with cross training. This amount of running isn’t super hard to get in with time constraints, doesn’t create a lot of extra volume that will lead to fatigue or overtraining and still gets a good stimulus in to make improvements with running. It can work for the competitive runner, the person that just likes to get out for a run, or the person looking to start out running. All while still enjoying CrossFit!
With this approach if injury is still an issue then this is where help is needed. You may need to seek out a personal trainer or coach or you may need to see a physiotherapist to help you figure out what is causing it. There are so many factors that could be causing an injury and having someone help you figure out the cause will allow you to enjoy the benefits of both and be able to keep doing them both longer and without as many unwanted interruptions from injury.
WHAT IF YOU STILL WANT TO RUN MORE?
If you still want to run more than 3x a week then you have to consider intensity and recovery while running and doing cross training. It is also very important to decide what your goal is. If running is the main goal, then the cross training will have to be scaled back appropriately. You may only be able to do a high intensity workout 2-3 times a week or you may have to scale back the intensity of your runs. If running isn’t the main focus and you’ve got the time, then you should still consider those things. Decide which training sessions or runs you are going to give more intensity so that the body has time to recover between those.
Listening to your body is key here. Be kind to it and listen to what it is telling you. Some days you may feel like giving 110% and some days you may just need to move or rest. Knowing when you can give that extra effort and knowing when you can’t can make all the difference not only in training but in life overall. This is something that we can all work on and should be a continuous process.
You’ve got this.