When this posts, I will be three sleeps away from running my first half-marathon at Baytown’s “Jail Break Run.” Signing up for it was, at first, a participation thing because so many of our gym members are doing it, and at first, I just wanted to complete it. But now I want to finish it with a decent time.
I opened Google and searched, “What is a good half-marathon time?” What came up was that runners with some racing experience set a common goal of under two hours. I have zero experience running races but think that two hours is a great goal to shoot for.
I kept rolling through articles on half marathons. I found ones on just about everything you could need to know about running a race, but almost all had some running programs to help you prep. I cannot just run for my exercise; I need variance. This is why CrossFit has kept my interest for over ten years, so doing one of these running programs was not going to work for me.
The question is, does a group fitness program like CrossFit provides the training needed to run a sub 9:00 mile for 13.1 miles?
I am a believer in the CrossFit program, so my answer is YES, and I am confident that with our program, I am fit enough to do it. Still, I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t nervous about the length of this race.
I looked back at the last 30 workouts that I have completed, and the longest workout I’d done was a 35:00 AMRAP. Which is essentially an hour and a half shorter than what I am trying to run on Saturday. However, even with that, I still feel like my fitness level is high enough for the sub 9:00 pace.
CrossFit uses functional movements as its base for exercise. Functional movements are ones that are “natural,” which means they are done outside of the gym like squatting, running, jumping, and picking things up. They are more effective and produce results faster. In our workouts, we are racing the clock in some way. Using the clock in our workouts allows us to bring intensity to each one. We measure intensity by how fast you get work done.
The intensity in each workout is the reason why I believe that CrossFit has prepared me to run this race in under two hours. My theory on improving fitness is, “I can teach Usain Bolt (fastest sprinter in the world) to slow down and run for distance, but I cannot teach Mo Farah (best distance runner) to sprint.” I also would much rather have Usain’s body over Mo Farahs. (I am not saying that Mo Farah isn’t fast or doesn’t train with intensity I am merely using the two types of races in a comparison.)
My goal is to hold between an 8-9:00 mile up until we have to cross the bridge. After that, I am hoping to be able to pick it up on the back end of the race. If using my fitness theory of sprinter vs. long-distance, and using functional movements to build muscle endurance, I should be able to do this.
Intensity isn’t just beneficial for performance and aesthetics. It also has so many health benefits like improving blood pressure, fat loss, bone density, lowering triglycerides, cholesterol, and improving muscle mass. Most of these long and slow exercises will do most of these but will have slower results and will need longer workouts to accomplish them.
Training with the purpose of getting work done fast while using functional movements is fun and effective, and hopefully will be the reason I meet my goal this weekend of a sub-two-hour half-marathon!