Thursday, March 13, 2014

Crossfit and Marathon Training - Suzi

Throughout the last eleven weeks of training, I have incorporated Crossfit training twice a week into my program at Vagabond Crossfit in Easton, where I have been a member for almost two years. Most people have heard of Crossfit at some point or another, but many don’t truly know what it’s all about. In the fitness community, Crossfit is a love it or hate it form of exercise, with it getting some bad press due to injury. While there is certainly a risk of injury, there is a risk of injury with any undertaking of physical activity or sport. Crossfit incorporates all styles of physical fitness; Olympic lifting, gymnastics, running, calisthenics and body weight movements to achieve the goal of overall fitness. Crossfit values ever changing, varied routines over various times, distances and number of repetitions. One thing Crossfit does not encourage is specialization (read me, marathon running!). This is the very reason I continue to Crossfit during my training. I do not lift heavy weights at the moment, but I do lift weights quickly to increase my heart rate. I find the variation in the Crossfit workouts keeps my body guessing, and allows me to push beyond the steady state of my long runs. I also enjoy the mental break from my long runs. While at Crossfit, someone else tells me what to do and I only have so much time to complete a certain task, or I have a task that I need to complete as quickly as possible. This helps break up the week mentally and is a great physical challenge!

Two weeks ago, the Crossfit Open’s began, and to many in the Crossfit world it was like Christmas morning. The Crossfit Open is a series of five workouts, released over five weeks that anyone in the world can participate in.  Each workout is judged and given a score based on the amount of work completed, or the time the work is completed in. The results are logged and ranked, with each person competing to be among the top in their region by age and gender.  Statistically speaking, most people will not make it out of the opens into regional competition or further to the Crossfit games.  Still thousands of people all over the world compete in the Opens to see where they stack up, or just to see how well they’ve improved from last year.

Each Saturday for these five weeks, my Crossfit gym organizes heats to allow members to complete the workout. This is probably the best time of the year to be a part of a Crossfit gym like mine because during each Opens workout, the gym comes alive and becomes so much more than a gym. It becomes a place of personal records, a place of triumph, and a place to try again after a workout didn't go as planned. It becomes a place that families come to watch their loved one compete, children come to watch their parents and everyone cheers for one another. The last two weekends I have gone to watch, and each time I leave more and more impressed and inspired by my friends. It’s for this community and the motivation they provide to one another that I continue to be a part of it even though I'm not doing the Opens myself. I know they'll be right there next to me pushing me beyond my comfort zone in classes during the week.  Even when I'm out on the road, I have the voices of my coaches in my head telling me to "get better!!" while I'm running miles on end these days. Their enthusiasm carries over in me and has helped in countless training runs, sprint sessions and sometimes the hardest task of all, getting out of bed. I feel fortunate to have this group of people to help me achieve this goal of mine, and even though they won’t be running those 26.2 miles with me, they'll be by my side the whole way. 

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