From the April 2012 issue of Runner’s World
Devotees of an intense new training regimen say you don’t need long runs to train for distance running
By Selene Yeager
Photographs by Justin Steele
The long run is the cornerstone of marathon training, yet it trips up many runners. You may be one of them: once you start amping up the volume, your body starts shutting down. Another 42.2K dream dashed. Or is it?
According to Brian MacKenzie, a power lifter turned ultra endurance athlete, to go long, you have to be strong. To that end, MacKenzie, along with partner and cycling champion Doug Katona, created CrossFit Endurance (CFE), a high-intensity, low-volume training plan that blends CrossFit conditioning (i.e., heavy, explosive strength training) with sprints, time trials and tempo workouts. Goodbye, long runs. CFE reduces mileage to as much as one-quarter the average of a typical marathon program.
Mix and match three to four of the following CrossFit exercises once a week to boost your strength and endurance
TARGETS Glutes, hamstrings, hips, quadriceps, back
PURPOSE Strengthens your posterior chain – the stride-driving muscles in your hamstrings and glutes
TO DO Stand with feet beneath a barbell, shins almost touching the bar, feet under hips. Keeping back straight and chest up, sit back into hips and grip the bar. Take a deep breath in and hold it as you push hips forward, keep arms straight, and lift the bar so it travels a vertical path along your body. Do one set of five to 10 reps.
BUILD ON IT Increase weight over time until you reach a max weight you can lift two or three times for one set. Progress to three sets, aiming for five reps, three reps, then one rep of max.
PURPOSE Challenges abs through a full range of motion
TO DO Sit on the floor, knees bent with soles of feet together and toes touching baseboard of a wall. Place a folded towel on the floor behind you, positioned under your lumbar spine when you lie back. Extend arms straight so fingertips touch the wall and, keeping your back straight, lie back until your shoulder blades touch the ground. Sit back up immediately and touch your fingertips to the wall. Repeat 10 to 20 times.
BUILD ON IT Aim for 50.
TARGETS Cardiovascular system, calves, hamstrings, glutes, quads
PURPOSE Builds speed, agility, coordination, balance and endurance
TO DO Jump rope – keep your head up, eyes forward, elbows close to the body, and let your wrists drive the rope around. Jump just high enough to allow the rope to pass under your feet. Land softly on the balls of your feet. Then swing the rope a little faster so it passes under your feet two times per jump. Aim to do 20 jumps without getting tangled.
BUILD ON IT Work up to two minutes.
TARGETS Abs and hip flexors
PURPOSE Increases core strength
TO DO Sit on floor between two raised platforms; keep legs straight and together. Place a hand on top of each platform. Extend arms and lift body off the floor while bringing knees toward chest. Hold for 10 seconds.
BUILD ON IT Work up to 30 seconds. As you get stronger, extend one leg. Hold for 15 seconds, then switch legs. Graduate to holding position with both legs straight.
TARGETS Hamstrings, glutes, core, back, shoulders
PURPOSE Hits nearly every muscle, sends your heart-rate soaring, and builds flexibility, endurance and strength
TO DO Hold a kettlebell with both hands, arms straight, feet one metre apart. With back straight and a slight bend in knees, press hips back and swing the kettlebell between legs and behind hips. Stand up and use hips to drive kettlebell forward and swing the weight over your head. Do 10 to 15.
BUILD ON IT Work up to 50.
TARGETS Quads, hamstrings, glutes
PURPOSE Increases explosive strength and stamina
TO DO Stand in front of a stable platform about 30 to 50cm high. Push hips back while swinging your arms back. In one explosive move, swing your arms forward, spring up, and land on the box with soft knees. Hop down. Repeat up to 10 times.
BUILD ON IT Work up to 50 and/or increase platform height.
TARGETS Core, back, chest, shoulders, biceps
PURPOSE Turns pull-ups into a full-body, functional exercise
TO DO Consider the Kipping Pull-Up to be your aspirational CrossFit exercise – it’s a challenging move that takes time and practice to master (and bestows significant bragging rights once you do). Hang from a chin-up bar with your hands about shoulder-width apart, using an overhand grip with your palms facing out. Snap your hips to start swinging your body. When you have enough momentum, bend your knees and pull your torso up until your chin clears the bar. Continue in a fluid manner. Do as many as you can.
BUILD ON IT Every week add one rep. Or two to four if you’ve finally nailed it.
Like this article? Subscribe to Runner’s World and save up to A$35 on the retail price (delivered directly to your door) and receive a FREE pair of Brooks socks PLUS if you subscribe for two years you will also receive a FREE Runner’s World watch.
If you missed picking this issue up at newsstands you can purchase your Runner's World back issue here today!