A guide to Crossfit as marathon training

For starters, here is a story from a guy who tried Crossfit and hated it. He makes some good points that I have taken into consideration when I encourage people to give it a try. For one, everyone should start slow and build up your endurance, which is true of any workout regime. If you are Crossfitting with weights, some of the Olympic lifts take time to perfect. So go easy on those, or avoid them.

I'm still awaiting word on whether the SF Marathon will require us to carry sand bags 26.2 miles.

Okay, Eric, explain Crossfit. Well, Crossfit is high-intensity circuit training that combines cardio and resistance training into one package. Crossfit can be strictly lifting, strictly bodyweight exercises, strictly aerobic, or hybrids of all the former, which is is what I do.

Some Crossfit workouts consist of several rounds of only a couple exercises. Like rowing 250 meters followed by 25 push ups, repeating the circuit eight times. Or 10 push presses, 10 dumbbell swings, and then 10 box jumps, repeating that circuit 10-15 times.

I like to use Crossfit as full-body interval training with an emphasis on cardio. After completing these workouts, I need far less recovery time between the rolling hills of San Francisco.

Here are a few workouts I like to mix into my marathon training:

Body Weight Workouts

Any of the cardio portions can be substituted out for other cardio techniques (swimming, cycling, box jumps, hills, intervals, rowing, etc.)  Always warm up, don’t dive in head first.

Hills
Find a hill or run on a treadmill with a 12 percent incline for 45 seconds for the running portion. No breaks until the end of a circuit :)

-Hill
-Body weight squats (30-50 depending your fitness level)
-Hill
-Burpees (20-40)
– Hill
-45 second plank
-Hill
-One-legged pushups (10-20, then switch feet)
-2 minutes rest
Repeat circuit three times, twice if you’re beginning

Intervals
Go to a track, run equivalent splits on a treadmill, or measure out a strip of pavement. If there are bleachers, boxes or a high curb available, use them for box jumps. If not, you can broad jump.

-Quarter mile run at 5K pace
-50 crunches
-Quarter mile
-15-30 V-ups (Try to touch your toes)
-Quarter mile
-Box/Bleacher/Broad jumps (30 seconds to a minute)
-Quarter mile
-(If there’s a pull-up bar available) As many pull-ups as possible in 30 seconds. If not, 30 seconds of mountain climbers
Repeat circuit three times, twice if you’re beginning

Gym Workouts

Standing on a half-bosu ball, or sitting on a Swiss ball will engage your core during the resistance exercises. Pick a weight you can manage for the time allotment.

My Favorite Skimble Workout
-Step ups (2 minutes)
-Dumbbell curls (1:30)
-Step ups (2 minutes)
-Standing dumbbell lunges (1:30)
-Overhead press (1:30)
-Step ups (2 minutes)
-Dumbbell squats (2 minutes)
-Rest for 2 minutes
Complete two circuits.

Two other great Crossfit resistance workouts are Men’s Health’s Spartacus Workout, and Spartacus 2.0.

Post-Run, Post-Gym Burnouts

These are circuits I use after a run or some gym sessions. They are high intensity and meant to make me very tired. Adjust the difficulty of these moves to your fitness level. 

The Burnout

Complete one circuit, 30 seconds each:

-Explosive push up
-Jump-squats
-Resistance band twists (or Russian Twist)
-Plank with left foot and right hand for 15 seconds, switch hands and feet for next 15 seconds
-Push up with half-bosu ball (Military push ups if you don’t have a half-bosu ball)
-Split jumps
-Mountain climbers
-Inch worm
-Burpees
-Plank walk-up

The 7-7-7 Countdown

This is simple to remember. Do seven dips, seven push ups, then seven pull ups. Then go right back and perform six dips, six push ups, and six pull ups. Continue this cycle until you complete 1-1-1.

Skimble has lots of core and cardio burnouts, but if you’re looking for old faithful: Ab Ripper X.

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One thought on “A guide to Crossfit as marathon training

  1. Pingback: Winter, I Must Break You | The Wipro San Francisco Marathon

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