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Training for an 8K with CrossFit Full Circle Endurance

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By Catherine Brigham

finished“Slow runners make fast runners look good. You’re welcome.”

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with running. Mostly hate. Running to me was always just part of training for other sports. Running for the sake of running was a foreign concept. I had to be doing something else, whether it was dribbling a soccer ball or basketball. When I was young and in shape, my fastest mile time was under 7 minutes. Yowzah! Now, my most recent mile test was around 8:30. Not terrible, but definitely not something I could sustain for multiple miles. Plus, I would always get a side cramp, which discouraged me from pursing anything longer than a mile.

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Since starting CrossFit over a year ago, most of my running took place as part of the WODs. I would occasionally see the Endurance classes in the morning but never took the plunge to sign up for one. Some other time, perhaps.

Then over the summer, Full Circle started advertising their Endurance training program for the Richmond Marathon/Half/8K races. Maybe now was the time, and while 26.2 or 13.1 miles were out of the question, the 8K seemed manageable. I had never run that far in my life, but I went for it.

The Endurance training program was set up with group workouts on Tuesdays and Thursdays and a long run on your own time over the weekend. The group workouts consisted of short and long interval trainings to help build speed and stamina. While we trained together, each race had a separate program that varied in the number of intervals or distances for that day. As a planner, I appreciated that everything was compiled in a spreadsheet, which specified the daily workouts for each week and location. Overall, it was a mix of street and track running with some hills thrown in, just for fun. Every week, we received an email from Coach Megan with status updates and motivation to help stay on track with the program.

Since I went to the morning classes, there were times when I was running solo. I used this time to work with the coaches on transitioning to the Pose Method style of running that the Endurance program promotes. The Pose Method is a running technique that uses falling (yes, falling) to propel your body forward versus intentionally contracting your muscles to move your legs up and down. With the Pose Method, you embrace gravity and fall forward, dropping your feet directly under your hips as you move. This method aims to decrease injuries and reduce wasted energy so you can run faster/longer.

However, it’s better seen than read:

Through my own video analysis, I saw that I took longer strides and was striking with my heel. Apparently, trying to run like a gazelle bounding through a field is bad on the shins. Who knew? As I worked to shift my running style, I noticed that the pain in my shins decreased. However, I was still getting those evil side cramps, which resulted in a 10+ minute mile pace on my longer weekend runs. Thankfully I had coaches and teammates to offer advice and work with me during training. Part of the issue was that I focused so much on how I ran, I would forget to breathe. Oops. So, various breathing practices were added to my workouts to see what worked best.

endurance-group

On the day of the race, I felt prepared but a little apprehensive. My last weekend run went well, but I had a partner to keep me on pace. While the side cramps were less frequent, they still popped up randomly. With my past performance I was hoping to finish around 50 minutes.

At the starting line, I met up with the Endurance team to run through a warm-up and a brief motivational talk. A few minutes later I was running with the horde (insert Chariots of Fire music montage.)

In the end, I trusted my body and used the energy of other runners and music around me to keep moving.

My time? 46:50!! With a 9:36 pace!!

I was floored when I found out, and couldn’t have done it without such a supportive training program.

Now, onto the next one?


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