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CrossFit for Endurance Athletes 

This week we bring some thoughts from one of our members. Lisa was runner and naturally to get better at running you should run more? More of your sport isn’t always the answer. Grow your fitness and the carryover will amaze you. Check out Lisa’s story. -Lisa Manley

In December 2016, Josh asked the members of CrossFit Strode Station what everyone’s individual goals for 2017 were. Most of my goals, of course, centered around running. I wanted to be faster and stronger than I’d been in the past. I had begun running in 2010 after watching an episode of Biggest Loser where the contestants ran a 5k. I thought if they could do it, so could I. I fell in love with the sport for so many reasons but I was far from competitive. My average pace was 11:30. Over the years, I improved some and was able to manage a pace of a 10-minute miles for most of my races. I rarely made it through a race without stopping. I’d finish a race and always think I could have done better if…

When Josh asked about our goals in December, I had been at CFSS for about two months and had started coming more than 2-3 times were week since November. I assumed he had asked about our goals for self-reflection. However, I was surprised that a special set of workouts were created and posted for those who wanted to work on their running.

When I checked the schedule for the first workout, I was a little concerned. The first workout was running sprints with some rest in between. The second workout as a 5k. That was it. I was used to running at least three times a week. I’d run whenever I could work it in. There was no goal for time or pace. I did have a long run on the weekends but again, no goal for pace. As long as I got the miles in, I didn’t worry about pace. Also, in the past, I’d do whatever seemed hard. I’d run 3 miles to the gym, work out for an hour and run back. What I’ve learned since then though, is that I wasn’t really training. I was just moving. I wasn’t resting between workouts and therefore my running/workouts were not at the optimal level. That was fine but obviously, it wasn’t improving my time a whole lot. However, after starting at CFSS, I had already seen improvements in my running and ran a 5k MUCH faster than I ever had before and completed my first sub-two hour half. So, I decided to trust the plan and as much as possible, follow it.

My plan consisted of 4-5 days doing the regualr workout at CFSS. This would include weight training (deadlifts, squats, etc.) and other workouts. Lifting was new to me but Josh and Corey did a great job of making sure my form was correct. In addition, there were two workouts for running. One was sprint work and the second was a longer run. I followed the plan and my pace got better, stamina improved and recovery was much quicker than it had been in the past.

Another improvement was decreased injuries. I usually run 2-3 half marathons per year. Every training season, I’d end up in their chiropractor’s office and/or podiatrist office for various injuries. Since I’ve begun CrossFit, I have had zero injuries.

This past Saturday, I put my training to the test at the Run the Bluegrass half marathon. If you’ve never run this race, do it. It is the best, hands down. It’s also the most difficult for me since it is a very hilly course. During the 13.1 miles, there are very few flat stretches. Mostly, it’s a constant uphill and downhill battle. My goal for the course was to run it under two hours. My fastest on the course was 2:03 and my fastest half was 1:57 (and that was a relatively flat course). During all those hills Saturday, I felt my muscles kicking in each time. Those deadlifts and squats provided the strength I needed to power up the hills. I felt strong through the entire race. When I had less than a mile to go, the only way I was going to PR (personal record) the course was to sprint. I relied on the sprint training I had done to push me through. I reminded myself of the workouts where I had to give all I had for 15-20 minutes and I pushed through. Ultimately, I PR’d the course by four minutes. (Shaving 4 minutes off is not easy, trust me.) I missed an overall PR by about 60 seconds. My official results put me in the top 22% of all the runners that day, top 15% of my age bracket and I won my first-ever award at a half marathon: 2nd place overall in the Athena division.

I am super-pleased with my results. I have finished my last few races with no what-ifs. No excuses, just results. I have felt like I pushed myself through the races and I’ve felt stronger each time. I attribute this to the strength and the endurance training that CFSS provided. This program required me to switch my thinking, switch my training. I went from from running 3-4 times per week with one or two light strength training sessions to 4-5 strength training workouts and 2 running training exercises per week. I was encouraged, pushed and provided the tools I needed to meet my goal. I am impressed constantly by the attention the coaches at CFSS provides to their members.

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