Monday, March 29, 2010

Taking the plunge...

Yesterday, I attended the Crossfit Endurance Certification in Westwood,NJ at the Crossfit Ignite box, owned by Stephen Macioci and Tina Harris (Thanks again for hosting!). This was my first exposure to the coaches and athletes of Crossfit Endurance, so I didn't know what to expect. Teaching the cert were Max Wunderle and Tim Hill.
The first day was devoted mostly to introducing Pose Method running. I was in the Evolution Running camp, having bought the DVD, and spent many hours drilling with their methods of landing directly underneath the center of mass, with a forefoot strike and a pull through using the glute and upper hamstring. I was torn, knowing that I have seen success with this method, but the more I looked at myself running, the more I noticed the differences between myself, and elite runners. As is the case with any triathlete, I want to be an elite runner. After spending countless hours on youtube and comparing the various methods and reading the millions of testimonials, both for and against Pose Method, I came to this glaring fact: what is easier to do, push 170 lbs. off one leg to go forward, or pull your foot off the ground to allow gravity to pull you forward? Nuff said, I was sold. Though transitioning from my old running style to Pose Method is like learning to write with your left hand, I take solace in the fact that this method has been used by the world's most elite runners for many years, it just never had a name.
The second day was review of Pose and the introduction to our new training protocol. I, like some of the other triathletes in the room, were used to the conventional way of training, mixing volume and intensity, and putting in 15 hour plus weeks, seeing marginal gains and beating down our bodies in the process(See my last 3 months of training). What Max and Tim presented was, to me, a completely radical way of training: Crossfit will be your base, 6 WODs per week, and you will add 2 Crossfit Endurance Workouts per sport per week. WOW. I was blown away, how could this work? This is heresy! Obviously, I had tons of questions to ask(I thank everyone who was at the cert for putting up with my idiocy and lack of trust). But think of it in my perspective, I have read tons of literature, researched training protocols by elite athletes, and have had success with what I was doing. Why should I change, why is this better? There are a bunch of questions that I asked and I will post the answers at another time, for this post is getting rather lengthy, but the light turned on for me when Max mentioned that elite triathlete Matt Reed trains at high intensity 80% of the time. So if he trains 20 hours a week, 16 of those hours are intense efforts.
So intensity is key in creating a great endurance athlete, but if you asked Matt Reed if he does long rides/runs/swims at low intensity, he would probably say, "Of course." And if you asked him if he did short high intensity Crossfit style WODs, he would say, "Absolutley not!"
Which brings me to the purpose of creating this blog. If you follow Crossfit, you have seen the night and day changes of taking couch potatoes and turning them into healthy athletes, and even taking good athletes, and diversifying their athleticism into endurance sports (finishing marathons, ultramarathons, and ironmans). What I want to learn is if a good endurance athlete can be transformed into an elite endurance athlete by following the Crossfit Endurance formula. I will follow mainsite protocol to the T, share with you all of my training and nutrition, and most of all I will remain unbiased and honest to all that read and follow my quest. The CFE protocol is only 20 months old, and is constantly changing, but, to my knowledge, Crossfit Endurance has not created an elite endurance athlete yet, and I seek to be the first. I am the guinea pig.

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