Running – get better at it & improve your WOD times

Running is one of those things that you either love or hate.

I used to hate it.

I am still not very fond of it, but I am trying to turn that around.

Just like we learned how to perform a Snatch when we started CrossFit, and over time, improved our technique and efficiency, the same can be done for Running. But for some reason, we take Running for granted and do not feel a need to actually improve our Running style and technique. Which is ironic because it makes up a frequent part of our programming at GEO (200m Runs, 400m Runs, Intervals, etc) and can have a huge impact on our overall performance in workouts.

When we become better at Running not only do we complete the “Running” portion of a workout quicker, we do so in a less fatigued state and the body adapts to recover faster.

We’ve all been there – we come back from a Run panting heavily and take a break before commencing our set of wallballs, or burpees or whatever. And as we try to get our breath back, we look around the room and see some people get straight into the next movement after only taking a very short break or no break at all. What the?!

Now some people are just “fit” and technically sound across the many different things we do in CrossFit, which means they can move more efficiently across all types of movements whilst expending less effort, and thus move between the different parts of a workout quicker.

But something I have noticed is that those athletes who are good Runners tend to also have good engines which, strength and technique aside, means they catch their breath faster and finish workouts quicker (this is a generalisation).

It is a phenomenon that I have witnessed over 12 years of CrossFitting, both competitively and for general fitness, but my hate of Running meant I never addressed this weakness……..until now.

After naively completing a marathon distance over the course of a weekend during Iso, with zero prep, it became clear to me that I really needed to fix my Running style because not 1km into the Run my knees were giving me grief……..and I still had 41kms to go.

Now I know some of you are going to say, “you should have trained for it’, or “why would you even attempt such thing?” Yes, I should have, and, I wanted to challenge myself. But if I had trained for it by Running and accumulating kms, I still would have injured myself, which would have lead to frustration and disappointment, and I probably would not have attempted the challenge at all.

No, my poor Running technique was what needed to be tweaked first.

Think about it – when we teach you how to do a complex movement (Oly Lift, Handstand Push-up, Muscle-up) in the gym, we focus firstly on your technique, and then we add complexity, load or speed. So why should Running be any different? I needed to focus on my technique, and then add distance and speed.

This is what I have been doing.

I am finally putting into practice the skills and drills that Mark Uren (our oldest member and one of our fittest, which has not only come from his commitment to training but also his years of Running…….efficiently) shared in his Running Workshop. I am shortening my stride. I am being light on my feet. I am using a Metronome to work on my pacing. I am starting with small distances but doing it regularly. I am not heel striking.

I am not hoping to be the best Runner at GEO. I just want to be better than what I currently am, and the only way that will happen is with consistent practice.

I can say that after a couple of months of focus, my Running style and efficiency have improved. When I come in from a 400m Run, I am transitioning faster than what I used to during workouts. I am actively trying to get to the workouts that have Running in them, instead of avoiding them or getting anxious about them. Yeah, I might be the Coach but just like you, there are things I like to do and things I do not like to do. And if you want to be good at CrossFit, you have to address your weaknesses.

So……..where am I going with all of this? On October 18 2020, the City to Surf will be held as a virtual event. It costs about $30 to register. Mark Uren has created a CrossFit GEO team.

This event presents us with an opportunity to not only work on our Running, but also a chance to do something together as a community. This year COVID has really thrown a spanner in the works with regards to how we train together, but also how we bond through various social events (which we have not been able to do). This City to Surf event may very well be the first chance we get to hook up on a grand scale and do something together.

And it will give all you Run-haters/avoiders some motivation to work on this important part of CrossFit.

Between now and Race-day, on a semi-regular basis, we will be meeting at 7am on Sunday mornings down at the Bay Run to do some Running drills. As with everything we do, scaling is always an option. We may be doing 5 x 500m jogs. You can do 3 or 4 of them. I realise that much of the fear of Running is in the head, so you can take it as easy as you need to to ensure you are coming along and being consistent.

Yesterday was the first meeting of the GEO Running Group – myself, Mark and Julie Uren. Julie and I did 3 x 1kms Runs. Mark did 4 x 1km Runs.

This Sunday we will meet again at 7am. The meeting point will be in the carpark on the western side of the Iron Cove Bridge (Gladesville-side) beside Total Conditioning Gym. There is a cafe nearby if that is an extra enticement.

Oh, and one other thing, if you do not want to run the City to Surf, please still free to join us on Sundays. It is open to everyone at no charge. And if you want to do the City to Surf with a friend/s and split it up, then feel free to do that as well.

I just want to get everyone together.

Here is the link to register.

~Coach AB

Published by Wilsy

Crossfit Coach

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