Running and CrossFit, Do I have to choose?
Published October 9, 2017
I really love running. Just like you do. I think it’s awesome and it helps me on so many different levels. As a business owner it helps me clear my head, as a nature lover trail running just lifts my soul and gives me peace, as a competitor pushing past limits (and sometimes other runners) it really feeds my ego. Running is minimal, just me, my sneakers and the trail. Its beautiful in its simplicity, Graceful in its action. It’s self limiting, I choose how hard or fast I want to go. It can be goal oriented, but it can also be free and open.
I love and in a way need to run like many of you. Running is as much mental release as physical activity for me. Meditation in movement if you will. Sometimes though I wonder, as many of you may do, how to balance running and crossfit. How much do I run? How many CrossFit classes do I go to? This can always be challenging with the added demands of work and family.
So here is my formula for minimum dosage of each and why. You may not fall directly into one of these categories or even be a mix of a few of them depending on the season or year or your goals. Take this as a bit of a starting point and sit down with a coach to fill in the spaces. Have a running program that you love to follow? No problem, we can meld the two together to a cohesive plan so you get the benefits of both. This is also why I do not recommend just downloading any running program off the internet. It wasn’t designed for you and what you want.
Running and crossfit both have multiple levels of need depending on your goals.
Recreation - beginner, Easy going, for health reasons, not competitive, runs/lifts socially, Goes to gym 1-2x week, runs on weekends
Regular - Intermediate, has an idea of pacing, distances and times. Registers for 1-4 races a year, Some fun runs and 1-2 serious runs. Some social runs , a season of training, goes to gym 3-4x week, runs during the week and weekends, sometimes for fun sometimes for progress
Competitive - Regular improvement, 3-4 serious races a year, track workouts, runs for time, Runs alone, knows splits, knows what “Yasso”, “fartlek”, and tempo runs are. Knows all lift numbers, enters competitions, does extra accessory work.
Usually when an athlete moves from one category to the next they instinctively start to drop the other activity. Running a race, “I need to crossfit less”. Want to get stronger? “I need to run less”. This might logically look correct but I urge you to sit down and talk to a coach before just dropping one or the other. You can get the benefit of both, and have less injuries with a plan.
Recreational - Crossfit 1-3x per week with a day off in between each workout. Keep intensity levels moderate, focus on good movement. Run 1-2x per week, a short and long run at easy to moderate intensity. In fact I suggest jogging to class if you can.
Regular - CrossFit 2-4x week, 12 - 24hrs in between workouts. Run 2-3x per week, Short and easy, Short and fast (or hilly), Long and slow to moderate
Competitive - You have a season and need a plan and a coach. Before you start the season you need to develop strength (go heavy) and intensity, lifting 3-4x week. At the start of the season bring it down to lighter weight/higher reps (volume) Crossfit 2-3x week, and finally mid season taper down to easy, good movements in the gym, 1-2x week, keep it fun and social. Running will start by improving skill and mechanics first, Then an 8-12 week progressive run program 3-4x week with speed, tempo and long runs, Goals and times and splits, this will taper down intensity towards races and then ramp up after. Mobility, ROM, and flexibility need to be incorporated into program to reduce injury. Take 1-4 days off lifting after races, but not mobility or movement work.
I hope this helps and shows you that doing both, running and crossfit, can benefit you. If you need a plan or have questions we have some very experienced coaches and members that have successfully melded CrossFit, running, family, and work. We are all here to help each other have the best day, or run, we can have! Reach out to us in the Facebook group or better yet join us for a run and chat.