CrossFit, Running, My Quest For Super Health Week 1

I started thinking about keeping a journal of what I was doing in and out of the gym as well as what I was eating or not eating late in 2010. It really started with a bunch of my crazy friends and I deciding to run the Warrior Dash in Logan Ohio in early June of 2011. Last year I managed to run two 5k races. My first time EVER running in my life. I participated in track for 4 years in high school but I would have never dreamed of running on that silly oval track, that was for someone else. Ask me to heave heavy objects into space, now that was more of what my body was made for.  Those people running cross country? Oh Good Lord no. Those people were nuts!

So here we are present day. I will turn 42 soon and I’m certainly starting to feel my age. At the same time I’m trying to enjoy the process. I know it sounds ridiculous, but adults do things that young people only dream of doing. The older you get, the more your attitude turns towards a “now or never” attitude. It really can be a great time in your life if you let it. Do something silly this year, like running the Warrior Dash.

What is the Warrior Dash? It is a trail race just short of 3 miles, but also contains 14 nasty obstacles. How about jumping over fire? Oh yeah, you get to do that one at the end of the race. Running through water, jumping over cars, climbing nets, hay bales, and walls to mention a few are also included for your enjoyment.

So let’s get to the point. How does someone train for something like this. According to the Warrior Dash, you run. A lot.

I have a slightly different plan, but it also stems from the fact that I still don’t really see myself as a runner. I am still that teenager that likes pushing things around. Yeah, running can be fantastic, but what if I could add components of gymnastics and weight training to my running? Is it possible that my running would improve? That is the question I am going to answer over the next 5 months. I am going to style my workouts after a Crossfit WOD type of routine for both running and weight training.  The are some reference links at the bottom of this post. Here are the details of my first week.

Starting stats

6′ 6″ tall
227 lbs
Blood Pressure average (Usually taken directly after working out) 120 / 75
BMI 26.4
Body Fat average 14%
I will try to get body measurements this coming week.

Monday January 3rd, 2011

Back Squat 7 x 3
Bench Press 7 x 3
Tabata Double Unders

I hadn’t done squats in over a year and was absolutely embarrassed by my performance. I had 135 on the bar and it felt like my hamstrings were going to explode. They were heaving and cramping the entire time. I stopped squats after 5 sets. Bench Press felt good. Nothing major, I have never had a strong bench. Just not the linebacker type. I completed all 7 sets with 194 lbs on the bar. No we get to double unders, what’s that you ask? Double Under is jumping rope where the rope passes under your feet twice for every jump. Tabata workouts were new to me as well. In a nutshell it is 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off for 8 total sets. So in this case, you would do double unders for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, repeat 7 more times. So, how did I do? I didn’t do them. I couldn’t find a rope long enough to not hit myself in the head.

Tuesday January 4th, 2011

I ran using interval training. Also following a Crossfit type of workout. Ideally, you would run this on a track but since it is winter and the weather stinks, I ran on a treadmill. I knew essentially how fast I could run for a set amount of time. So, I set the treadmill slightly ahead of this and took off.

3 rounds of 200m, 400m, 800m with equal rest. Rest for the same amount of time it takes you to run each leg. I have to be honest, this was so painful by the end, that I really wanted to slow down. Slower intervals, longer rest periods. Once again the workout seems so simple that I thought it would be easy peasy. Yeah right.

Wednesday January 5th, 2011

Rest day

Thursday January 6th, 2011

More new exercises.

Hang Cleans 4 reps on the minute
Hanging knee raises 30 seconds on 30 seconds rest for 4 minutes
Standing broad jump 10 x 20 yards.

I haven’t really ever done Olympic style lifting and this is going to take some getting used to. I modified this workout from the Crossfit Endurance web site that called for full cleans at 60% of your 1 rep max. That was just too much considering that I am a rookie. Hang cleans seemed safer and I used a weight that I felt very confident using. I did do a complete squat on each rep like a full clean would require.  I had problems getting the bar far enough onto my shoulders. Once again, I had also never done front squats so this too seems a little awkward. Hanging knee raises was chosen from the WOD suggestion of Knees to Elbows. Just for the record, I couldn’t complete the hanging knee raises and by the last set my grip wouldn’t even let me just hang. Knees to Elbows, is a movement where you bring your knees all the way to your elbows from a hanging position. Sort of a curled kipping move. Looks impossible at this juncture. Last was the standing broad jump. It takes me about 7 jumps to cover somewhere around that distance. I didn’t feel any real stress on my knees but I did have to catch myself from tipping over with my hands on about every third jump. Not too bad considering the last time I broad jumped would have been elementary school.

Friday, January 7th, 2011

Unplanned rest day. Very painful shin splints and sore ankles. Apparently my joy over being able to do broad jumps may have been a little premature. My weight is a little too much for my legs and ankles to absorb at this point. I could have probably avoided some of the pain by simply taking shorter jumps.

Saturday, January 8th, 2011

Legs and ankles still hurt but really wanted to get in the gym.  I picked a run interval and I figured that I would just see how it went.

3 rounds of 7 minute run with 3 minutes rest
Treadmill speed was 7, 7.2 and 7.4 for each interval.

I felt better than I thought I would. I lightly stretched before and after the run. I noticed that my ankles were much looser after the run.

Sunday January 9th, 2011

Another rest day. I could have honestly gone to the gym but thought it was best that I give myself another break. My legs are still quite sore as is my lower back. The tightness in my lower back is from the cleans that I did clear back on Thursday.

Some other thoughts on CrossFit

I am going to have to take it easier than I thought I needed to. My body just simply isn’t used to the types of exercises common in Crossfit. It can be a little hard to get your head around working out for 3 straight days, often on the same body part. I had the same type of mental block when I started running. It is common for people to run almost every day, but I couldn’t imagine how they were getting enough rest. Your body does adapt. Just try it for awhile before you judge.

I also plan on working from the previous week’s WODs. This will give me the opportunity to plan the week and scale the exercises as much as needed.

Some web sites – main site – endurance sport WODs – flexibility WODs – scaled WODs from main site

Glute Ham Developer Sit-upsI