Endurance Training


calculate this, you just multiply by 6 the number of times either your left or right foot strikes in 10 seconds. (Or buy a tempo trainer and try to hold your cadence with the beat.)

The CrossFit workouts in the program above can follow the WOD posted on the CrossFit website, or you can tailor it to your needs to try to get the response you need. This is about progression and increasing work capacity for this sport. If you are not making gains, adjust it. Don't do more, though, under the assumption that you need additional aerobic training. Aerobic levels increase when work capacity increases. Fact! The beginning of your training cycle should be where you develop your basic aerobic capacity, and it shouldn't take three months. It should take no more than a month to get you up to handling a couple hours of aerobic activity.

Unfortunately, our approach has not been well received in the endurance world yet. However, we are making strides, and those who are familiar with CrossFit have given us the warmest welcome we could have ever gotten. The endurance community seems to be a little upset that someone has the audacity to say that what the masses are doing—and the popular magazines recommending— isn't the only way to train for going long. I am still baffled at the lack of questioning and the sheer blind determination of those who believe they need to train all day to achieve their goals.

As I sift through articles and books I come across something that makes what I am doing seem to make more and more sense. Dr. Mel Siff, a highly regarded sports scientist and author of the book Facts and Fallacies of Fitness, points out that "twentieth-century scientists have raised the heart onto a pedestal, where it remains relatively unchallenged by any other bodily system Fascination with the heart has also spawned an industry which has captured the attention of health entrepreneurs and the public—long, slow distance (LSD) athleticism. Cardiac health and prolonged longevity came to be regarded as the consequence of 'aerobic' exercise." Sound familiar? Moreover, he points out, all non-aerobic exercise has been deemed of little consequence in promoting cardiac health. Siff responds to that contention by citing study after study of anaerobic training and its effects on the heart (see, for example, Ralph Paffenbarger's studies of longshoremen and stair climbers). Astonishingly enough, hardly any studies have been conducted to show that "aerobic" (LSD) exercise is superior to any other form of exercise for preventing heart disease. So could the LSD/endurance community have it wrong? Well, let's just say there's more than one way to skin a cat!



Aerobic training

• Increased cardiovascular function (as measured by VO2 max)

• Decreased body fat until plateau

• Decreased muscle mass

• Decreased strength

• Decreased power

• Decreased speed

• Decreased anaerobic capacity

Anaerobic training

• Increased cardiovascular function

• Decreased body fat

• Increased muscle mass

• Increased strength

• Increased power

• Increased speed

• Increased aerobic capacity

• Might require an aerobic foundation depending on sport

Table 1. Benefits and drawbacks of aerobic vs. anaerobic training

Table 1. Benefits and drawbacks of aerobic vs. anaerobic training

I realize that the vast majority of you probably already know this stuff. My point is that even in the above training plan for endurance running, there is very little aerobic training because I am not willing to have athletes do a ton of aerobic training when it means a loss in everything else. Also, it has been my experience that when they train stamina, strength, flexibility, power, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy in addition to cardiovascular endurance and speed, my athletes make much larger gains.

More often than not, I question everyone and everything, and for this I make some enemies, but I also make some serious new friends. I have found a family in CrossFit, largely because we are pursuing the same thing. Although my background is in endurance and CrossFit is about overall fitness, there is just too much common ground in our philosophies not to work together to "increase work capacity (power) across broad time (short duration to long duration) and modal domains."

Brian MacKenzie is a strength and conditioning coach for endurance athletes and a trainer for Multisports Orange County. He owns CrossFit Newport Beach and operates an internship for professional trainers. Brian is an accomplished ultra distance runner, finishing both the Western States 100 and the Angeles Crest 100 races with only minimal hours of training.

Coach Burgener Teaches the Snatch

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