I’ve withheld anything really subjective on what I think about CFE thus far, instead focusing on tangible results both good and bad. Today, at the risk of coming off a bit pretentious, I’m going full-on blogger and giving my opinions.
What if you could spend less time training and get faster? CrossFit Endurance makes that promise. Today, I’ll review the book that serves as its “bible.”
After more than six months working through the CrossFit Endurance regimen, I feel ready to lay out the pros and cons here so anyone considering it can make an informed decision whether or not it’s right for them.
The motivator is no different than the cyclist who injures his knee overexerting on a hill sprint for a made-up Strava title. It’s the same as the runner who over-strides trying to catch someone in an early season sprint workout and pulls a hamstring. It is no different from the CrossFitter who injures his back because he just won’t scale the 21-15-9 dead lift/box jump workout that he can’t complete with proper form, or the guy who half-reps his bench press so he can have 315 on the bar. It’s all about ego.
Almost three months ago, I buckled down and really started training for my first triathlon in almost four years. This time, I went about it a little bit differently than I had ever trained before. I wanted to try to incorporate CrossFit (no, that’s not all I talk about… I swear!!) and its perceived benefits – increased strength and high-end stamina – into my training plan.
Working with a CFE coach, I have been at it for roughly ten weeks now with my first race under my belt and the second approaching quickly. It seemed like a good time to take a look at the pros and cons of this year’s training experiment thus far.
Ah yes, the many criticisms of CrossFit…
I’m not sure what it is about CrossFit that makes it such a ripe target for people to criticize, but it sure seems like a favorite pastime of a lot of people who aren’t “into” CrossFit. Many times, people are critical of that which they do not understand, or have never tried. Healthy skepticism is one thing, but there is some serious unnatural distaste for CrossFit out there. We’re going to break it down and see how valid these criticisms are or aren’t. Today: “All they ever talk about is CrossFit!!”
This coming Sunday, I will race my first triathlon in almost four years. I admit, it’s kind of a scary proposition! As I discussed in my post about coming back after long layoffs, I can remember the feeling of being fast. My concern is less about being able to complete a race, but more about being able to compete in a race. Like a lot of athletes, I expect a lot from myself and there’s an element of fear, or maybe doubt, in letting myself down along with some perception of letting others down.
Fear manifests itself in a lot of different ways among athletes. A few that have affected me over the years:
The “Brick” workout is a staple of triathletes everywhere. Usually consisting of some effort on the bike followed by a run, though a swim-bike brick is used by many athletes as well, the purpose of the workout is to train your body and your mind to run on fatigued legs. This type of challenge is frequently present for CrossFitters as well, where workouts like Nancy or, one of my favorites, The Newport Beach Crippler (30 Back Squats at body weight/1 mile run) require you to run following some form of squat. (These workouts are great Brick-simulation workouts, particularly in the offseason!) The challenge is as much mental as it is physical.
Why is it that so many athletes, including me at times, ignore their bodies? You can find many articles and blog posts online about the dangers of overtraining and the importance of recovery time. No matter our training protocol of choice – long and slow “chronic cardio” endurance training, Joe Friel “Bible” endurance training, CrossFit, CrossFit Endurance, weight lifting, anything – we are encouraged to recover. Despite this universal agreement, most athletes across sports with an endurance or strength component seem reluctant or downright defiant when it comes to easing or taking time off to recover. I’ve read estimates that at any given starting line of any given triathlon, 90% of the athletes there are overtrained. It’s crazy!