G – Tue 24 Mar– CrossFit Works — 1/2 Marathon PR With 20% of the Training Mileage

Tuesday’s WOD:

Ring Dips

We’re all set up on Beyond the Whiteboard.  Here are instructions to get signed on (it’s completely free and a great way to track your WODs and compare to others):
1.  Sign-up at beyondthewhiteboard.com and sign-in (you can edit your Profile to add a Profile Picture),
2.  click “view a list of gyms”,
3.  click “CrossFit Hampton Roads”,
4.  click “Join CrossFit Hampton Roads”. That’s it for them.
5.  Post your WOD Results:  login, click “post”(upper right navigation), and enter your results. If you scaled the workout, you can put in substitution exercises, adjust weights, and adjust reps. Then click “Finished”.
Once you sign up with our gym, give us a day or so to accept you as part of the gym, then you can log WODs.  We’ll have all of this week’s in, so you can back track.
Just got this e-mail from one of CFHR’s athletes, Meegs.  He finished the VA Beach Shamrock 1/2 Marathon yesterday with a new PR.  Read his thoughts below on going “all-in” and training for a 1/2 Marathon using CrossFit.  Good stuff!

Where to start – I guess it would be Nov of ’08 – that’s when I started to Crossfit. I was hooked – the model, the method, and the total open architecture and the fact it was based on common sense. I also dove into the nutrition aspect – I went from the ‘Standard American Diet’ to Paleo in one day – clean sweep – and I immediately saw results.

Little background – I am not really gifted when it comes to sport but I have one thing that has gotten me a few trophies – my ability to suffer. If it hurts I don’t really care – which is particularly useful in bike racing and triathlons – of which I was heavily into before Crossfit (for the record I am still into them…). Both of these require large time commitments – long rides (5+ hours on the bike) and big run mileage when training for longer distance events like a Half Ironman (1.2 miles of swimming, 56 miles of biking, followed by a half marathon 13.1 miles) – not to mention time in the pool. I would also throw in the occasional half marathon, 10K, 5K etc. for some pain/fun/training. I worked really hard in an attempt to make the AF triathlon team but the swim would kick my tail – so I worked at that but never got fast enough – I got close… about 2 minutes shy of making the team out of a 2+ hour race – but those are two tough minutes to get. To top it off I have a family – and priorities – triathlon, biking, and running are not number 1,2, or 3 – they are WELL behind kids 1,2,3 and the rest of ‘Life’ – like keeping a great marriage / family life going.

So back to Oct ’08 – before I started Crosfitting I signed up for the Shamrock ½ Marathon – love that race and set my PR there 2 years ago of 1:37:48 – albeit it was a sort of fast ‘training run’ while trying to make the AF Tri team – but it remained my PR for 2 years.

Enter Crossfit – the model fit perfect for my job – I did not have time to dedicate to the Long Slow Distance (LSD) runs that are the foundation of many training regimens. But I did have the time to crank out a Fran or an AMRAP for 12-15 minutes and be left on the verge of hypoxia and rhabdomyolysis – and I loved it because that is my one gift – the ability to suffer – I love the intensity of Crossfit.

About 3 months ago I got an email from the race director of the Shamrock ½ Marathon – “Only 3 months left you should be into some of your longer runs by now…” and then the advertisement to “…eat healthy carbs and foods at McDonalds…” – DON”T even get me going on that line of crap – McDonalds…YGBSM! I thought.. “I am WAY behind” – the last running I did was 10x100m sprints in front of the CF-HR gym – I was thinking I don’t know if I can get there from here and maybe I should skip the run – but I had thrown the coin down to run….

So I decided to go All-IN on Crossfit and the Paleo Diet for this upcoming ½ Marathon – 2 months out is when I would start with the following plan.

– Crossfit 4-5 times a week
– Long run once a week on Sunday
– No carb loading / pasta meals etc…

That’s it – if we ran at the Box – I ran – if not then so be it. Trust me there was a level of concern that I was not ‘putting in the LSD mileage’ to do this… So in all for my prep I ran 7 days totaling 49.4 miles on Sundays – and at the Box since we did Murph and a 400/800/1200/800/400m ladder (total around 5.5 miles) the grand total is 54.9 miles. To put this in context I looked on line at several ½ Marathon training plans which ranged from about 200 to 240+ miles – so in all I did about ~20% of the mileage they recommend. Yes, I did Crossfit as well – which is a time commitment – but nothing like 12 mile runs or the 5 miles runs during the week and I was training in all domains.

Fast forward to today – race day 22 Mar 2009. At the start line I had a ton of thoughts – am I going to get smoked, will I finish – I knew I would finish because I can suffer, but can I set a PR? Who knows – but then the gun went off and I was about to find out. First mile was fine nothing crazy – just getting my ‘legs’ underneath me. Quickly I settled into around a 7:20ish pace, comfortable but I really did not know if I could hold it for 90+ minutes – would I have the aerobic capacity, would I have the hip/leg strength to do that…dunno. Mile 2 – thoughts began to wander to 2 miles – that is what I did for Murph – and I am reading ‘Lone Survivor’ right now – those guys can suffer. If they can ruck and fight for days out of the Hindu Kush Mountains, wounded – I can run for 90+ minutes on flat pavement with a water stop nearly every mile. Next thing I know its mile 6 – no sign of slowing and I feel good so I start to push the pace up about 10sec per mile…mile 9 push it up another 10 sec/mile…mile 10 – only a 5K left – hell you can do anything in the world for 20 minutes. The last mile was at 6:39 – which got me across the finish line with a new PR of 1:34:36 – besting my old time by more than 3 minutes!!!

The CF model works – I had the cardio and the leg, I had the Hip Flexor/Core/ and Tendon strength to set the PR – and I did it without metabolically jacking my system with high carb diets. And 2 weeks prior to the race I set PRs in Deadlift, Front Squat, back squat, and Power Clean. Crossfit works.

So the tag line – I ran 20% of the recommend mileage and set a new PR in the Half Marathon – yes I know it’s not blistering fast, yes I got beat by a bunch of ladies – even ladies that are older than me – but can they do Murph like a Crossfitter – maybe, can they do Fight Gone Bad, dunno – but I would throw out some serious cash on bets against them to be able to throw down on those and take on the Half Mary – hopefully they will – and ya know what…they will get faster!

Increase your capacity over many domains.


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