There are many quality programs on the marketplace such as P90X, Insanity, CrossFit, etc. and one question I have encountered over the years is the cross-over benefits to triathlons, running, cycling and endurance sports. I had an interesting conversation with an athlete last year while competing in a 100 mile trail running race that shed some additional light on the benefits of these various programs.
As I was running down a single track trail and a nice fellow came behind me and started a general conversation. We chatted for a while and the miles went by quickly which is a normal occurrence in long endurance races. He mentioned to me that the only training he had done for the race was CrossFit 6 times per week and one weekly 10 mile run. Of course I was a bit shocked as this was a 100 mile running race! We chatted for a while and he mentioned that his goal was to finish and see if it was possible to just use CrossFit to finish a 100 mile run. He had no running background and had only been doing CrossFit consistently for 2 years.
The race proceeded and I saw him limping along badly with both knees taped. I kept thinking this was crazy, so I just buckled down into my race mode and figured I would hopefully see him at the finish line. The next morning I finished and was watching a lot of runners coming in and then I saw my new friend shuffling in the distance. He was going to make it under the cutoff time and I was excited for him.
The main point is that it’s most likely possible to finish a grueling event while consistently training with a program like CrossFit. The biggest benefit with all these intense programs beyond the physical fitness levels achieved is the building of mental strength. My new friend pushed through significant pain levels to reach his goal of finishing. Of course he told me at the finish that he should of done some more running greater than 10 miles! No kidding. There is no substitute for race simulation – in this case running consistently will have additional benefits of race performance as your most likely aware.
I highly recommend that you consider one of these functional strength training programs to mix up your routine and the mental training aspects are enormous especially come race day when your facing a “down period”. Yes, I am considering in the future to just try one program and attempt a long event just for testing purposes.
By Wayne Kurtz
Wayne Kurtz is founder of RaceTwitch.com and Endurance Racing Report, he has a lifelong passion for racing in various endurance sport races throughout the world. He is also the author of: ‘Beyond the Iron, a training guide for ultra-distance triathlons.’