Most people know me for having an expertise in weight-loss (e.i. health coaching) so I continue to work with about fifty percent of individuals in that arena; however its now with a CrossFit spin. Currently, my private coaching business is picking up. I'm having many more opportunities to work with not only CrossFitters who have endurance goals, but athletes who come from the "traditional" endurance training side of things. Like I said its an exciting. Its challenging. Its fun.
What do you think is the tough part about working with a traditional endurance athlete? Well there's a lot of psychology involved. We're programmed to think run more to improve our times or go longer. To this day many runners base their success off how many miles that did. I love dailymile.com. How good does it feel when all those "mile graph bars" are thru the roof? It feels great. I don't think this is a challenge though. Yes its an area that's measurable for the traditional endurance athlete, but is that the real reason that it's so difficult to decrease duration? Not at all. Its because "we" flat out like to run. Running is enjoyable. It makes you feel frigging awesome when you're done. You can't get it from anything else. It relieves stress. Allows the opportunity to push. Achieve. Drive. Relax. Unwind. This may not be the case for everyone, but for runners this is how we feel. Notice I've included "we" in every statement.
I was just reading a great article written by Matt Fitzgerald on competitor called "Making the Case for Runners to Cross-Train." Solid read. Interestingly enough, Matt wrote a book back in 2003 (inspired by his own personal experience with cross training) called the Runners World Guide to Cross-Training. He mentioned it tanked. Matt's a pretty renowned write too so what's the deal? Its pretty much what I just mentioned. Runners like to run. "We" would rather do all our training running, but is that what will help us reach our goals the quickest? Unfortunately no.
If you read the article you'll see that Elite runners are including up to 20 different cross-training exercises per week. It's prevalent in some of the most prestigious coaching camps including the Nike Oregon Portland project and Mammoth Track Club (Heard of Ryan Hall?).
All I'm getting at here is that runners we love to run. Let's think about how we balance that. Here's a great Case Study...
Runner "A" comes to me with a profile that looks like this...
- Running 6 days a week (couple days speed work)
- Strength Training 1 Day
- Loves to run after a long stressful day of work and on the weekends
- Hasn't PRd in a year
- Feels under recovered and tired most weeks
- Achilles Tendinitis
Now the balancing the Act with Runner "A"...
- Drop running to 4 days a week (each with a purpose) For example, 1 Day of running that is "Fun" either after a stressful day at work or on the weekends
- Bump strength training up to 3-4 days a week (include running in some of the conditioning)
- Add 1 day of swimming (get a same great feeling when you're done)
- Add 1 day of Running skill work
- Feels recovered and ready for each run
- No more big five injuries (cleaned up technique, decreased volume)
- Result = New PR
Back to why working with so many varieties of people is just awesome. Can't you tell? As a coach, I have to balance so many different factors and with different people it's so much more intriguing. You the athlete need to do your own balancing act if you don't currently have a Coach. Understand yourself, but also understand the evidence behind including cross-training.
Life is a balancing act in itself. We have to balance keeping up with our friends, family, significant others, jobs, responsibilities, hobbies, faith and having FUN. It's a lot. What's important is that none of what we do should takeaway from the other. We must recover. Have fun. Share memories. Above all make others around us better. Treat others how we would want to be treated. Quite a spin on this blog post huh?
Work on your Balancing Act.