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Cross Training For Runners

How to Balance CrossFit and Running

6 Mins read

If you’re on a quest to blend the power of CrossFit with the grace of running, you’ve landed in the perfect spot.

But hold your horses, we need to lay some groundwork before we dive in headfirst. For those who aren’t familiar with the term, let me break it down for you.

CrossFit is a high-intensity fitness regimen that combines various exercises, including weightlifting, cardio, and functional movements, to unleash your true potential. It’s like a multi-tool for your body, enhancing strength, endurance, and overall fitness.

Now, you might be wondering, “How can this CrossFit phenomenon benefit my running game?” Ah, great question! CrossFit is more than just a bunch of burpees and kettlebell swings.

It’s a game-changer for runners, offering a myriad of advantages. From improving your muscular strength and explosive power to boosting your cardiovascular capacity and mental resilience, CrossFit can take your running performance to the next level.

In today’s post, I’ll explore the training strategies that will unlock your potential, without sacrificing your body or enthusiasm.

Ready? Let’s do this.

CrossFit Demystified?

According to the definition found on the official website:

“CrossFit is constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity.

All CrossFit workouts are based on functional movements, and these movements reflect the best aspects of gymnastics, weightlifting, running, rowing and more..”

Sounds like a mouthful, but it’s not that complicated.

Here is in English what CrossFit training is all about:

CrossFit is an intense exercise program that consists of a mix of bodyweight training, aerobic exercise, Olympic weightlifting, gymnastics, and endurance training.

This type of training focuses on general fitness—this means building strength, endurance, stamina, speed, power, flexibility, accuracy, and coordination.

Why Bother With CrossFit?

Alright, my fellow fitness enthusiasts, let’s dive into the exciting world of balancing running and CrossFit.

Trust me, it’s a journey worth embarking on! Now, you might be wondering, why bother with CrossFit when you’re already a dedicated runner? Well, let me tell you, the benefits are too good to pass up.

CrossFit is not just some random addition to your workout routine; it’s a game-changer that can take your running performance to the next level. Studies have shown that regular CrossFit training can enhance your power, speed, balance, coordination, resiliency, and overall fitness level—all the things that make a difference when you hit the pavement.

But let’s be real here, my friends. Balancing running and CrossFit is no easy feat. Finding that sweet spot requires dedication, perseverance, and some luck. But fear not, because I’ve been in the trenches for the past two years, figuring out the magic formula, and I’m here to guide you through it.

So, let’s get down to business.

Your Guide To CrossFit Running – How to Balance Running And CrossFit

Note: In a previous article, I outlined the many ways in which an intelligent CrossFit program can benefit runners, as well as some of the best running oriented CF workouts.

1. Determine Your Priority Sport

It’s time to determine your ultimate fitness destination—your North Star. Now, this may sound simple, but trust me, it’s a crucial step that many uncertain runners struggle with.

So, let’s unravel this mystery together.

Picture this: You’re standing at a crossroads, and there are two enticing paths ahead—running and CrossFit.

Both have their allure, their unique benefits, and their devoted fan bases. But here’s the thing, my friends, you can’t ride both horses with equal fervor. It’s like trying to juggle fire and water simultaneously—it’s bound to end in chaos and confusion.

Now, before you start fretting and wondering if you can have the best of both worlds, let me put your mind at ease. You don’t have to choose one over the other for the rest of your days.

We’re talking about a temporary focus—a laser-like attention to one sport while you work towards achieving your ultimate fitness goal.

So, ask yourself, what is that burning desire within you? Is it shedding those extra pounds and sculpting a lean physique? Is it conquering the daunting challenge of running a marathon?

Perhaps it’s building solid muscle mass and channeling your inner Hercules. Or maybe you dream of stepping onto the Olympic lifting platform and showcasing your strength and grace.

The choice is yours. Fill in the blank with your personal fitness goal, and let that be your guiding star. It’s all about channeling your energy, time, and resources towards a singular purpose.

Research and studies have shown that focusing on a specific goal increases your chances of success and prevents injury and burnouts.

2. Schedule Your CrossFit/running Workouts

Once you’ve chosen a training priority, it’s time to schedule both your runs and CF workouts.

There are several ways to modify your training program to include both running and CrossFit workouts, depending on your training focus and goals, of course.

What if Running is THE priority?

If you decide that you want to follow a fully fleshed out running plan—like a marathon program—then I’d suggest you follow this workout schedule.

In this program, you’ll use CF as a complement and do it as often as it fits into your exercise plan—this may amount to two to three times a week.

Here is a glance at what a typical weekly plan might look like:

  • Monday—CrossFit Workout
  • Tuesday—Easy Effort run
  • Wednesday– CrossFit Workout
  • Thursday—Speed or tempo run
  • Friday—CrossFit Workout or light intensity cross-training
  • Saturday—long slow run
  • Sunday—rest or light recovery (yoga, foam rolling, etc.).

What if CrossFit is THE priority?

If CrossFit is your primary sport, then immediately make the physical and mental commitment to limit your run frequency to two to three times per week.

This is especially the case if you’re already an established runner.

Here is an example of weekly schedule:

  • Monday—CrossFit Workout + easy recovery run
  • Tuesday— CrossFit Workout
  • Wednesday—Tempo or speed Run
  • Thursday— CrossFit Workout + Easy Recovery run
  • Friday—CrossFit Workout
  • Saturday—long slow run
  • Sunday—Rest or light recovery (yoga, foam rolling, etc.).

3.  Be Aware of Overtraining

Allow me to share a personal tale of my own foolishness—an epic battle with Achilles tendinitis and shoulder issues that plagued me for what felt like an eternity.

It’s a tale of pushing my body to its limits and paying the price for my bullheadedness. Consider it a cautionary tale.

You see, there are moments when we all fall prey to our own stubbornness. We convince ourselves that we are invincible, capable of conquering any challenge that comes our way. But let me be the voice of reason amidst the adrenaline-fueled chaos—please, oh please, don’t be foolish like I was.

Take a moment to truly listen to your body. It speaks volumes if you lend it an ear. Our bodies are remarkable machines, but even the mightiest engines require care and attention. When your body whispers signs of overtraining, heed its call. It’s not a sign of weakness or defeat—it’s a sign of wisdom and self-preservation.

So, my friend, when that lingering fatigue sets in and your muscles protest with every step or lift, it’s time to back off a bit. Give yourself permission to take a step back, to lighten the load, and to embrace the healing power of rest. Skip that grueling CrossFit workout or that intense run and opt for a gentler approach—a training regimen that nurtures and supports your body’s journey to wellness.

4  Proper Form is King

As you embark on this exhilarating CrossFit journey, keep in mind that form is everything.

Before you leap into the depths of more challenging exercises and heavier weights, take a moment to master the art of proper form. It may not be as glamorous as conquering Herculean feats, but trust me, it’s the foundation of your success.

Here’s where you need to set aside that ego of yours. It’s tempting to chase the glory of adding more reps or piling on extra weight, but at what cost? Don’t be lured into sacrificing technique for the sake of a higher tally. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not worth it. Trust me, I’ve learned that lesson the hard way.

When you neglect proper technique, disaster lurks in the shadows. It’s like playing with fire—eventually, you’ll get burned. Nobody wants to be sidelined with a serious injury, left to ponder their hasty choices. So, my friend, prioritize technique over ego and let it guide your every move.

Studies and research papers in the realm of sports science reaffirm this golden rule. They emphasize the importance of mastering proper form to optimize performance and reduce the risk of injury. It’s a wise investment in your long-term well-being.

Now, let’s talk about finding the right path to technique mastery. This is where a reputable CrossFit gym with experienced instructors enters the scene like a guiding light. Joining such a gym becomes a game-changer. These knowledgeable guides will lead you on a journey of skill development, offering insights, corrections, and personalized guidance.

5. Embrace Running Friendly WODs

The best way to make the most out of CrossFit as a runner is to combine both running and CrossFit basic exercises—at least that’s what my experience has taught me.

Not only that, there are plenty of CrossFit workouts that involve running in a variety of ways.

For example, one particular WOD I do a couple of times a month consists of six rounds of 400-meter runs with 30 burpees.

Here are some of my favorites:

WOD for time

  • 12 power cleans
  • 400-meter run
  • Ten power cleans
  • 400-meter run
  • 8 power cleans
  • 400-meter run
  • 6 power cleans
  • 400-meter run

30-minute AMRAP—As Many Reps As Possible

Five rounds for time

  • 10 burpees
  • 200-meter sprint
  • 20 squat jumps
  • 200-meter sprint
  • 10 deadlifts
  • 200-meter sprint

Four rounds for time

  • 800-meter run
  • 10 overhead squats
  • 10 burpees
  • 10 hand release push-ups
  • Two-minute plank holds.

Your Guide To CrossFit Running – The Conclusion

There you have it! If you’re serious about combing cross and running, then today’s post should get you started on the right foot. The rest is just details.

Please feel free to leave your comments and questions in the section below.

In the meantime thank you for dropping by.

Keep training strong.

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