Sample endurance training program

Since my first article on endurance training in the November 2007 issue of the CrossFit Journal, I've received numerous questions and inquiries from people who'd like more information on the what and how of our philosophies and using CrossFit in training for longer-distance events. I wish I could have some program that would look at each individual and spit out a tailor-made program. Unfortunately I don't have that and I can't just put out a month-long program based on your needs and your energy and what you can and can't handle without looking at what happens to you in training.

What I can do here, though, is to break down the last five weeks of training we used for an athlete preparing to run a hilly 50k (that's 31.2 miles, with 5,490 feet of climbing) as his first long-distance race. This particular guy—we'll call him "Rookie"—was a newcomer to these kinds of distances. The longest run he had ever done was 15 miles, and before beginning this program, he was not even actively a runner. We implemented the plan below for the last five weeks of training before race day, and, on November 18, he completed his 50k with no problems.

Please keep in mind that this program is not developed specifically for you: it is developed for this particular person. You will need to look at what you can handle. This means several things. Can you make your intervals (speed and recovery); are you losing strength, power, speed, flexibility; are you sleeping, eating, and feeling good? (Negative replies in these areas are all indicators of overtraining.) If these are not, you have to change something! Please beware and understand that this program is for someone who has been conditioned to handle CrossFit and a running program.

We started Rookie off by figuring out how much running he could handle in terms of speed, pace, and hill work. The Tabata run substituted for hill training in the end, but we started out using 100-meter hills that were run fast, with a very high cadence. Then we started having him do 1.2-mile hill climbs at about a 6 percent grade. The speed work is based off of time trials he did in the beginning and throughout the training. Each time his PR went up in a specific run, or when he could recover in less than 1:15 from intervals and hill repeats, we increased the intensity/ paces.

If you do Tabata runs, leave your ego out of it. Start slow and scale up. I've had people fly off the backs of treadmills trying to prove something and failing miserably. Running at a 12 percent grade on a treadmill at 10 miles per hour will crush anyone if they are not ready for it and their form is off. The key to the Tabata run is to keep your cadence incredibly high (110+ foot strikes per foot per minute). To

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Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Week 1

1. Cross Fit: Heavy powerlifting/ Oly movements: squat, dead lift, clean, snatch, and bench, < 10 reps x 3-5 sets

2. Run 4 x 1 k at less than best 5k pace, recovering to 120 heart rate in less than 2 minutes

1 .Tabata run in the a.m.: 20 sec work/10 sec rest x 8 sets, 12% grade, 9 mph

2. CrossFit: Metcon/ gymnastics mix

Run 5-10k at best half-marathon pace or faster

1 .CrossFit: Bodyweight/ gymnastics ("Angie" is good)

3 hours later:

2.Tabata run (on treadmill): 20 sec work/10 sec rest x 8 sets, 12% grade, 6-10 mph (depending on ability)

CrossFit: Oly day: clean, snatch, jerk combos with box jumps, burpees, etc., medium weight

Run 15-mile trail run, heart rate below 160

(This is the longest run "Rookie" has ever done.)

1. Run 5 x 1 k at 10 seconds below best 5k pace, recovering to 120 heart rate in less than 2 minutes

2. Strength recovery: Basic innervation exercises based around hips, 3 sets to burn so that we can go heavy or hard tomorrow

Week 2

1. Cross Fit: Heavy powerlifting/ Oly movements: squat, dead lift, clean, snatch, and bench < 10 reps x 3-5 sets

2. Run 4 x 1 k at less than best 5k pace, recovering to 120 heart rate in less than 2 minutes

1 .Tabata run in the a.m.: 20 sec work/10 sec rest x 8 sets, 12% grade, 9 mph

2. CrossFit: Metcon/ gymnastics mix

1. Run 5-1 0k at best half-marathon pace or faster

2. CrossFit

1 .Tabata run (on treadmill): 20 sec work/10 sec rest x 8 sets, 12% grade, 6-10 mph (depending on ability)

3 hours later:

2. Long hill repeats x 2: Hills 1.2-miles long and at 6% grade, recovering to 120 heart rate in less than 2 minutes before repeating

CrossFit: Oly day: clean, snatch, jerk combos with box jumps, burpees, etc., medium weight

13.1 -mile trail run, heart rate below 165

1. Run 4 x 1 k [email protected] 10 seconds below best 5 k pace, recovering to 120 heart rate in less than 2 minutes

2. Strength recovery: Basic innervation exercises based around hips, 3 sets to burn so that we can go heavy or hard tomorrow

Week 3

Same format but mix it up a bit for Cross Fit this week

1. Cross Fit

2. Run 5 x 400 meters at below best mile pace, recovering to

120 heart rate in less than 2 minutes

1 .Tabata run in the a.m.: 20 sec work/10 sec rest x 8 sets, 12% grade, 9 mph

2. CrossFit

2.CrossFit:"Fran" at 80% effort

1 .Tabata run (on treadmill): 20 sec work/10 sec rest x 8 sets, 12% grade, 6-10 mph (depending on ability)

2. Long hill repeats: Hills 1.2 miles long and at 6% grade, recovering to 120 heart rate in less than 2 minutes before repeating

CrossFit

Run 13.1-mile trail run, heart rate below 165

1. Run 4 x 1 km at 10 seconds below best 5k pace, recovering to 120 heart rate in less than 2 minutes

2. Strength recovery: Basic innervation exercises based around hips, 3 sets to burn so that we can go heavy or hard tomorrow

2. Run 4 x 1 k at below best 5k pace, recovering to 120 heart rate in less than 2 minutes

1 .Tabata run in the a.m.: 20 sec work/10 sec rest x 8 sets, 12% grade, 9 mph

2. CrossFit

Run 10 miles at a pace that is 4-7 minutes above your fastest 10-mile time (e.g., 1:07-1:10 if your best 10-mile time is 1:03)

Tabata run (on treadmill): 20 sec work/10 sec rest x 8 sets, 12% grade, 6-10 mph (depending on ability)

1 .Tabata run in the a.m.: 20 sec work/10 sec rest x 8 sets, 12% grade, 9 mph.

2. CrossFit

One-hour jog

1. Run 8 x 200m at best mile pace, recovering to

120 heart rate in less than 2 minutes

2. Strength recovery: Basic innervation exercises based around hips, 3 sets to burn so that we can go heavy or hard tomorrow

2. Run 8 x 200 meters at best mile pace, recovering to 120 heart rate in less than 2 minutes

Day off

CrossFit: Power: -Hang snatch 3 x 10-20 reps at 25% of max squat —Kettlebell swings 3 x 10 at same weight as snatch —Push jerk 3x10 reps at 25% of max squat —Box jumps 3 x 10-20 reps

Jog 30 minutes easy

Day off

Drills and warm-up

50k race

The Donts of Treadmill Buying

The Donts of Treadmill Buying

Though competitive runners are advised to run on the road, there are several reasons why you should buy treadmills anyway. You might have a family which means that your schedule does not have the flexibility it once had.

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