Many people think WODs and long runs don’t mix, but coach Suz has figured out a way to integrate the two. Check out how she mapped out a plan and taught me how to balance CrossFit and marathon training.
Welcome to another great Wild Workout Wednesday Link Up where Annmarie from The Fit Foodie Mama, Jen from Pretty Little Grub, Michelle at Fruition Fitness and I (or today, Suz!) bring you workout ideas, motivation, inspiration and recipes to try. Join us each week by reading along, linking up and grab the button to proudly display on your blog/in your posts!
Hi Everyone! For those who don’t know me, my name is Susie, and I claim the little slice of internet called Suzlyfe. Suzlyfe is a running, fitness, and healthy life blog written with the intention to educate, connect, and inspire readers to live beyond expectation! I am also an RRCA Certified Running Coach and NASM Certified Personal Trainer. I am so excited to guest post for Nicole today a) because she is awesome b) because I get to meet many of you for the first time and c) because Nicole is one of my run coaching clients!
As many of you know, Nicole is currently in training for her next marathon, and she is also dedicated to fitness beyond running. When I was creating Nicole’s marathon training plan, she came to me with a few stipulations, one of which was that the plan accommodate Crossfit 2x week.
On the surface, this might not seem like that much of an issue, and had she said “strength training” rather than “Crossfit,” I wouldn’t have batted an eyelash. However, creating a marathon plan that aims not just to finish the race but also with time goals in mind while integrating intense sports and exercise modalities such as Crossfit is another matter altogether. Luckily, I like complicated.
Challenges to Integrating Crossfit with Marathon Training
Crossfit is more than just strength training or an exercise class. WODs integrate weight, power, and intensity in such a way that can over load the body if done without care. Similarly, marathon training is more than just running further. Long runs and speed and hill workouts build over time to peak weeks of over 50 miles and incorporate a variety of workouts in such a way that can leave you exhausted.
Beyond the general challenge of fitting Crossfit within a marathon training schedule, there are also several other considerations that can make it difficult to continue Crossfit while marathon training, or vice versa:
- The focus of the workout of the day (WOD) is out of your control, by and large. That means you could be doing major leg movements the day before a track workout.
- Many power lifts focus on powerful, large muscles. Not necessarily a bad thing, but running requires that you also develop your smaller stabilizing muscles and tendons.
- Marathon training is exhausting in and of itself; adding Crossfit to the mix (essentially another sport), could lead to overtraining and injury.
- Marathon training workouts tend to focus on muscular endurance over power, strength, and hypertrophy, which are often foci of Crossfit WODs.
That said, Crossfit has many benefits, from strengthening to mental toughness and more, and I have no problem with it being a part of Nicole’s program!
How to Balance Crossfit and Marathon Training
Pick a Focus
The first question to ask before creating your program is quite simply, “What is your focus? What is your ultimate goal?”
For Nicole, it was to finish the marathon happy and healthy, but she also wanted to go after some time goals. Translation: Crossfit was to be a supporting player to the marathon training star. Thus we had a chat about how she would approach Crossfit as marathon training got more and more intense–that she would ultimately focus a bit more on maintaining strength rather than building it.
Incorporate Recovery or Foundation Pace Miles than Hard Miles
Think about it: your legs are likely getting hit hard at least one day a week at Crossfit, and due to the nature of high intensity interval training, you will be getting intervals in, especially if you opt for the treadmill during those types of WODs. Even so, you are still going to need running-specific running workouts to help improve your running speed. With all of these considerations in mind, I removed one of her running workouts over the week and instead we are going to focus on getting her miles in a sustainable way to prevent injury.
Those that are more practiced at both running and Crossfit and also have more time during the day may be able to stack WODs and runs on the same day. Doing so can be strategically beneficial (max effort followed by max recovery), but I hesitate to recommend it because it can overload the body.
Focus on the Supporting Players
The warm ups before Crossfit and before runs are going to be critical, and also different–they should be specific to the activity that you are about to do. Following a run, certain drills will help you work on form and leg turnover.
There is no reason that runners who love Crossfit can’t pursue both of their passions at the same time!
How are you getting sweaty on this Wild Workout Wednesday? Join the link up below!
Are you a Crossfit loving runner? Or a running loving Crossfitter?
How do you balance your two passions?
I’d love to hear your thoughts! Let me know in the comments below, or find me at Suzlyfe or my social media outlets (Twitter, Facebook,Pinterest, Instagram). Want to talk training? Email me, check out my training page, or subscribe to my newsletter.