If you’re a runner and you’re trying to improve your performance, you’ll want to identify what it is that you’re specifically trying to improve. Do you want to increase your lung capacity? Maximize your endurance? Increase your overall speed? Maybe you’re trying to just improve your 5K time or are working toward running a full marathon.
You may be surprised to learn that one of the ways that runners can improve their performance is with CrossFit. First, let’s take a quick look at what CrossFit actually is, and then we’ll break down some of the ways CrossFit can improve your running.
What Is CrossFit?
CrossFit has been part of the fitness lexicon for a while, but it’s popularity has soared in the past few years. It’s a type of program that’s primarily designed to increase your strength through the use of High Intensity Interval Training.
This is accomplished in many different ways, including using stability balls, powerlifting, and aerobic movements. The exercises are grouped together in a new order for every given day, in what’s called a “workout of the day,” or “WOD.”
CrossFit Can Help Build Your Leg Strength
CrossFit WODs are designed to increase your overall strength, including that of your legs. Increased strength can help lead to greater muscle endurance, which you’ll need if you’re looking to improve your running performance. There are several WODs that CrossFit centers offer all over the place that are designed to help out with leg strength. Endurance CrossFit in particular has helped people overcome pain from past injuries and become better runners than ever before.
Other examples of WODs that can help with your leg strength include box jumps followed by pull-ups, dumbbell thrusters, and kettlebell swings. Believe it or not, you’re using your legs as you do all of these movements and, while your muscles may start screaming at you, they’ll thank you for it later as you’re crossing that finish line.
CrossFit Can Provide a Nice Balance For Your Running Schedule
Obviously running and only running can be brutal on your legs, particularly ankles, knees, and shins. CrossFit creates a healthy balance between your regular running routine and your total body fitness routine, which is paramount for improving overall strength and stamina.
You can also tailor your CrossFit workouts for more moderate exertion to help you match the kind of endurance you’re going to need if your running performance increases are related to marathons, 5K’s, and 10K’s.
CrossFit Can Prepare You Psychologically for Longer Runs
Anyone who is familiar with long distance running knows that moment where your leg muscles scream at you to quit, your lungs gasp for air, and the only thing that keeps you going is you telling yourself that the end is just a little further.
CrossFit is all about helping you pushing through that moment. It’s not about pushing yourself to your absolute physical limits—you don’t want to hurt yourself after all—but its intensity and difficulty help you realize what your limits are and how to deal with the mental block that comes with exhaustion.
The CrossFit Philosophy
A crucial aspect of CrossFit’s recent surge in popularity can be attributed to the community that the program has developed worldwide. CrossFit members look to each other for support, whether it’s spotting one another on those last few reps or encouraging each other to push through the pain and finish strong. When you participate in CrossFit, you join a community of likeminded athletes — each at different skill levels — who are there to help you meet your goals.
You’ll find yourself crossing the finish line in no time.