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Anyone who has worked out with me, near me, or in a five-mile radius of me, knows I HATE running. Hate. I’ve never been good at it. The entire time I run, from a short 200 Meters to 3 miles, my mind repeats a chorus of “This sucks.” Running is my nemesis.
I have several friends in the gym who are runners. They started out runners and they continue to run. Most of them very long distances. I have watched several of them train over the last several months. I have watched them sweat, breathe, and ache into their goals. Through their training, I have been inspired. Now, hold on! I’m not running a marathon, or long distances or anything. I mean, Rome wasn’t built in a day, right?
Here is the realization I have come to recently. It was after a week’s worth of endurance WODs at my CrossFit box. After each ridiculously slow performance, I was laying on the floor, trying to catch my breath, talking to my friends who had finished minutes ahead of me. I was frustrated. I was tired. I felt old. I was screaming in my head, “I work out four days a week minimum. Why on Earth am I struggling so badly?!” As I came home on a Thursday afternoon, feeling really sorry for myself, I had an epiphany.
The epiphany began as I was thinking about my lifting. I was proud of how far I had come. There was a time, when I started, that the bar was just fine. No plates, just the bar. Then I started adding a little weight, but my goal on my power clean was 65#. That was the weight that was programed most of the time, and I was dying to achieve that pretty little RX next to my name on the whiteboard. So, I worked, and I worked, and one day, I was able to clean 65#. And then I moved on to 95# and worked on that, and moved on from there. So, how did I get to that point? Work. I did the programming at the box, of course, but I also worked on my lifts on my own, after class or on a rest day. I worked on it.
Why do I think running is going to be any different? Now, I am a much better runner than I was when I first walked in to the CrossFit box. I couldn’t even run the 400 meter warm up run back then. That has obviously changed; however, I am still super slow. But, why do I need to run? What does endurance have to do with CrossFit? Everything. When you are doing a 45-minute Hero WOD, what gets you through that? Endurance. When you are doing a workout that is meant to be fast, what gets you through that? Endurance. Those people who have 3-minute Fran times, they aren’t just good at thrusters and pull-ups. They have great endurance too. In this sport we need to be able to sustain our breath, our muscles, and our heart rate, and the only way to do this is to work on your endurance.
Endurance is never going to fall in your lap. You are never going to suddenly become really fast in the gym. Just like everything else, you have to work at it. Join an endurance program at your box or run on your own, but you have to have the stamina to keep up in the gym, to be able to complete the workouts the way they were designed. So, fight on fellow CrossFitters… and keep running.
By Amanda Stewart, CFL1 trainer, contributing writer
*Stay tuned for information on our Spring Endurance training program as well as our many other 2018 specialty programs!
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