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CrossFit Endurance

Staring at a brand new year, I’m feeling anxious to get a clear plan for my running and strength goals this year. Coming down off a great end to 2011 with the marathon, I know I want to get another one next fall. Between now and then, I have several races I hope to complete. I want another Twisted Ankle half trail in May. I would love to do Cahaba trail 10 miler in June if I’m in the state. I’m thinking about a Warrior Dash which is only 3ish miles, but the obstacles scare me a little, so naturally I have to try them. That’s in April. I plan to do Copper Mountain half in Colorado again. I am looking at other areas in Co because I’ve done Copper Mtn twice, but I love that one and it’s right in the middle of where we will be staying again. Those are my tentative plans for now.

I’m taking a completely new approach to training for the half marathons. Traditional plans calls for 3-4 weekly “maintenance” or base building runs with some tempo training or speedwork for advanced plans. But all training plans are centered around the weekend long run. The long run is where you build endurance and mental confidence. However, for many runners, too many long runs mean injury, long term aches and pains, and plain burnout.

Imagine my surprise when I opened my February Runner’s World and saw the words “crossfit” in a main 4 page spread. What is CrossFit doing in a running magazine?


It’s there because an ultra runner created a program that combines crossfit workouts with fewer weekly runs and shorter “long runs”. Yes….the long run is not so long anymore and it’s definitely not slow. .

And I have to be honest. That scares the socks off of me. Running long is how we get better, right?  With a traditional plan, my long run for a Half road would be 12 miles and for my trail races, my long runs would max at 16 for the half.  I always trained with longer miles for trail races because of elevation and more time on my feed. With CrossFit Endurance, my longest run for a half-marathon ROAD would be about 10 miles, max. . With CFE, my max run will be around 12 miles for a trail half.


How does this work and does it really work?

The theory is by doing the regular CrossFit workouts, which increases strength and endurance, and doing shorter MORE EFFECTIVE intervals and tempo runs, the body is well prepared for race day. In other words, go hard each run. No more maintenance or recovery runs. The only reason to run is to train, not recover.

And with the strength workouts, explosive power comes into play on race day.

Am I insane? Yes, but I have nothing to lose. I can either PR in some of these races or I won’t. I’m already doing CrossFit and this guy who trained and continues to train for ultra marathons presents a convincing case.

The way it is scheduled, I will be doing 2 workouts a day, 2 days a week. Considering that I was doing 2-a-days for FOUR days a week during marathon training, this is actually a decrease in volume for me..but a huge increase in intensity. Here is how my week should look:

M: CrossFit morning

T: CrossFit morning, CFE short intervals afternoon

W: CrossFit morning

Th: CrossFit morning, CFE long intervals afternoon

F: complete rest

Sat: CFE tempo, Time Trial, stamina run.

Sun: Complete Rest


In the back of my head, I still hear the mantra “to get better at running, you run” so I’m not 100% on the wagon with this. But I am going to try it for a few weeks and see what happens. As I said, I have nothing to lose.


Making plans, checking them twice.
Bento or bust

The miles move along slowly. | Katrina Runs For Food

Monday 6th of February 2012

[...] still running. I’m just not posting much about it. I’m still working through the CrossFit Endurance plan for April, May, and June half marathons. I’m doing one short interval, one long interval, and one [...]


Sunday 22nd of January 2012

I am really interested to see how this works for you. The mental aspect of running a little farther than the distance (for me I have 14 mile long runs for a half) is really helpful in feeling mentally ready for the distance. Maybe having previously completed races in that distance, it won't make a difference.

I do think that doing an adequate amount of strength training is essential to being in race shape and it does seem to be something that a lot of runners leave out of their routines.


Tuesday 17th of January 2012

I have yet to get on board with the method. There is no published straightforward implementation of the plan out there which is confusing. I would like to attend one of the seminars to get the full explanation but I'm not spending $500. I've jumped on the ultra train and as a newbie in the sport, I cannot imagine training using CFE. Longest run for a 50 miler to be something like a marathon. The question I've never found answered is what kind of base do you need to have before jumping into this sort of thing? I can't imagine someone running their first marathon with a max run of 13 miles. I just can't.

That said, I do think there is some validity to this sort of method for shorter races. I trained for my first half and full marathons using the Furman/FIRST method which has 3 quality runs a week (speed, tempo, long run) and cross-training the other days. No "junk miles" and the long run is done at a good clip (max 12 for half, max 20 for full). This method worked well for me using CrossFit as my cross-training day.

Sorry for blogging in your comments!


Monday 30th of January 2012

I'm trying it for the half and I'll see how it works. If I can stay injury free, I'll adjust the training for my fall marathon. As I said, I really have nothing to lose so I'll be an experiment! :)