Tag Archives: Running

Fall for Running – by Coach Patrick


I could hear the squeals of glee and the cries of desperation when the June focus of running was released! Running is so often a love or hate relationship, I’ve not met too many people who are casually lukewarm about the prospect and act of getting their ancestral locomotion on.

That being said, we are going to spend this month working on running technique and mobility to turn all of us into more efficient runners. Let’s look at some of the perspective we are taking for this month’s focus…

Every movement in CrossFit has an ideal and most efficient way of performing that movement. Whether it is the squat, deadlift, muscle-up, double-under, Olympic lifts, or something we’ve made up watching too many Chuck Norris movies; everything has a standard and best practice start and finish position in addition to how best to perform the movement from the start to the finish.

You’ll notice us coaching you on cues from setting up your beginning position, how to better end your movement, or things to make your movement technically improved during the movement.

Running is no different.

Let that sink in a bit. Most of us, unless trained formally for a run-specific sport have never broached the idea that running has an ideal form and position. As kiddos, we basically learn to use our neck, roll over, crawl, walk, and then baby deer sprint.

This month we are converting some of our old baby deer bad habits into efficient positions and techniques that should make running easier, safer, and more in line with doing less work for greater gain.

There is a plethora of amazing information about efficient running technique as it relates to using gravitational force, muscle elasticity, proper torque, and stride cadence. We will cover many of these cursorily but for the sake of time we are going to focus primarily on the following three things that you should definitely keep in mind and always focus on with running: posture, the lean(fall), and the pull.

Posture

  • Much like double-unders, we are looking for a quiet body when we run. This means we want the things that should be moving to move in the way we want but minimize everything else that doesn’t translate to the overall movement.
  • Head should be set up so that it is neutral and aligned with the spine, you’ll hearing coaches referring to the “gun” or “L” to address this during classes.
  • Shoulders should be down and relaxed (relaxation translates to a more quiet body than contraction does).
  • Elbows next to our sides, with elbows bent at slightly less than 90 degrees; this will help prevent over-rotation or cross-rotation (meaning the left arm crosses over the centerline of body to the right plane during the stride, a no-no).

Lean (Fall)

  • Running is the art of controlled falling, over and over again, utilizing gravity, our muscle elasticity, and proper form to keep resetting ourselves to safely continue to fall.
  • Lean should be generated from ankles, not torso or hips.
  • Try to keep all other joints above the knees stacked (so no bend at waist or torso leaning forward).
  • Speed is governed by lean, meaning that if we want to go faster, we lean more (but ONLY if we can maintain proper body position and mechanics)
  • Don’t need a lot of lean to go fast, but do need control and consistency with lean and body. For example, in an ideal and constant situation, a 5 degree lean constitutes a 4:08 mile time. How many of us run that fast? I didn’t think so, that’s because we start doing all sorts of things with our bodies that create fatigue, undue exertion, or deceleration (many of us fight against ourselves and gravity when we run).

Pull

  • Use mid foot strike with quick ground contact under center of mass as it passes over (no landing in front or heel striking)
  • Use hamstrings to quickly pull leg straight up into “Figure 4” position
  • Ground reaction and muscle elasticity is used instead of muscular energy
  • Lean is gas, pull is exhaust

Clear as mud? Perfect. Don’t worry, we’ve lots of drills to work from basic concepts to advanced skills. This is just to get us all up to speed so when coaches start telling you to lean you don’t try to get into your best limbo position or start jamming to your favorite Terror Squad song.

As always, we’re here for questions as they come up, and are excited to get our Forrest Gump on with all of you this month!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Power:
3 Position Squat Cleans
2-2-2-2-2-2

WOD:
Death by 10m

Our Power Focus this month is the Full/Squat Clean, so we are going to break it down a little bit today and work on 3 Position Cleans. We are going to work on technique, so we will start at the top and work our way down – Power, Hang, Floor.

We want to train our bodies (and brains) where each of those positions are, so that when we pull that lift at speed we can hit all of them on the way through.

We can also use this drill to diagnose where the lift might need some extra work. Do you need more hip power? Are you great from the hang position, but once you pull from the floor things get shaky? We can make tweaks to your technique based on some of this feedback.

It is also Running Week! For whatever reason, this is always my kids’ favorite workout at the gym – Death by 10m. 10m is the length of the gym. You will start on one wall and each minute you will do that number of lengths. Minute 1 = 1 length. Minute 2 = 2 lengths. Minute 3 = 3 lengths. And so on…

This one always starts out easy (like all of the Death Bys do…) There is some strategy involved as well. Do you sprint all of them right off the bat to gear up for the higher rounds and capitalize on rest time? Or do you walk the first few minutes to save your energy? Think about that before you start today.

The gym record is 18 lengths – which several people have done. But no one has ever been able to finish that 19th round.

World-Class Fitness in 100 Words – Week 5

Week Five:
Bike, run, swim, row, etc, hard and fast.

These movements are probably the ones that we dislike most – running, rowing, biking, swimming. They can seem monotonous and boring. Never ending. They are probably the most practical in terms of real life though.

Who knows when you may have to run after the guy that stole your wallet, or run away from someone chasing you. Or just running around the yard playing with the kids and dog. (And you never know when the Zombiepocalypse will strike – will you be ready?)

Each of these are monostructural metabolic conditioning movements (cardio) – a great stand alone exercise. Fantastic when partnered with a barbell or other power movements.

3 of the 4 of these movements make up the triathlon – which some would consider the ultimate test of endurance.

Biking
Biking is a great workout for the entire body, especially the lower body.  People who want to develop great muscle tone on their legs, back end and hips while trimming their waists and increasing their cardio vascular health should try biking.

Biking regularly can significantly decrease a person’s risk for heart disease. Biking is a low-impact activity that doesn’t cause a lot of stress on joints so biking is a good exercise for people who may have limited range of motion or may not be able to handle an exercise like running which puts a lot of stress on the joints.

Low impact activities like biking can also reduce cholesterol and can help lower blood pressure, which is a major health concern for millions of people. Bike riding can also reduce stress, and it’s been proven that managing stress is a key component when it comes to staying healthy.

Running
Quite possibly the easiest one to get out and do. It requires nothing more than a pair of running shoes. No other equipment needed. True, some high-tech gear will make your run more fun, but really, all you need is a good pair of shoes, (and a supportive sports bra if you’re a woman.) It couldn’t be simpler. And everyone knows how to run. You may not have perfect form yet, but you already know how to place one foot in front of the other and settle into a comfortable pace. No new skills to master, no equipment to buy – just get out there and run.

Trail running is a great option as well. It’s a bit easier on your joints, and strengthens them at the same time. You won;t be hitting the hard pavement, so there is a bit more cushion to soften the blow to the knees and ankles. It is this same instability that will help you increase your knee, and especially, ankle strength.

Swimming
Swimming can be beneficial to people across a broad range of ages and abilities: the very young to the very old, the very slow to the very fast, those with injuries or degenerative conditions, pregnant women, beginner to serious athletes, and fitness buffs. Swimming is the ultimate all-in-one fitness package, working most muscles in the body in a variety of ways with every stroke.

When strokes are performed correctly, the muscles lengthen and increase in flexibility. The significant repetition of strokes improves muscle endurance, and because water creates more resistance against the body than air does in land exercise, the muscles are strengthened and toned.

Swimming also significantly enhances core strength, which is important to overall health and stability in everyday life. The hip, back, and abdominal muscles are crucial to moving through the water effectively and efficiently. Swimming builds these core muscles better than any abs video or gadget advertised on television.

Swim workouts provide incredible improvements to the cardiovascular system. The nature of breathing when swimming – with breath being somewhat limited in volume and frequency – promotes greater lung capacity and a consistent intake of oxygen. Both aerobic and anaerobic gains can be made in the same workout.

Swimming is a great option if you have joint pain or restrictions as there is no direct impact to any of the joints.

Rowing
The rowing movement activates over 90% of the body’s musculature AND promotes the strengthening of the smaller stabilizing muscles throughout the abdomen, back, and hips. Strength and stability in these areas helps athletes maintain proper form and technique in all of the varied movements we do in CrossFit. Having these muscles fine tuned can help maintain higher paces and power outputs for longer periods of time.

Plus, if you’re maybe looking to drop a few pounds, rowing delivers great bang for your buck in terms of energy expenditure. Since rowing involves muscles throughout the body, caloric expenditure rises quickly.

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Our next Rowing Technique Class will start February 20th at 11:30am.

CrazyLegs is Saturday, April 30th at 10:00am. We will again have a gym group participating – join us it will be fun!

In order to help with training for this 8k fun run, we will be having a Running Endurance Class. The class will help train for this event, but any other 5k, 10k, half, or full marathon you may be running in 2016.

Sunday, February 14th we will be hosting a Private Bicycling Class at Flyght at 1:00pm. No charge to you – it is our gift to you all for Valentine’s Day! I do need everyone that is interested to sign up on-line or on the sheet at the gym. 30 person max. (Don’t worry, we’ll host a swimming event in the near future as well…)

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Skill:
Double Unders
4 Rounds
AMRAP 1
Double Unders
Rest 1 Minute

WOD:
5k Row or Run

We are going to take some time working on Double Unders today. I want everyone working on them. Keep track of the number of Double Unders each round. Try and keep consistent even as you get tired.

Then, you get your choice of a 5000m Run or Row. If you are going to run, please dress appropriately. Don’t skip this one because you think that you can or will run at home. You probably won’t. Plus, it’s way more fun to run (or row) with friends!

This is a great bench mark for your growth as an athlete. Come today, work hard, have fun, and keep track of your time so you can see how you improve throughout the year!