Friday, August 14, 2009

Training and Secret(s) Revealed

For those interested, I thought I'd share how I trained for last weeks Howl at the Moon 8 hour Ultramarathon. In an upcoming post, I will share "why" I did what I did. Also, it's time to reveal the mystery of how I'm using the gift from last year (40th birthday and wedding) Enjoy!

What was my training approach? Bridging the Wellness Gap and, drum roll please...

Yup, "CrossFit".

From January '09 through early May, I followed the "Project: Performance" workouts that I designed as an advanced aspect of Bridging the Wellness Gap. In late May I became a full fledged "CrossFitter" and started following the Workout of the Day, or "WOD" in a 3 days on, 1 day off rotation; the WOD's are posted each day at By June 1st, I was averaging 4 CrossFit WOD's per week and maintained that average through today. I also began to incorporate WOD's from the CrossFit Endurance web site.

Along with the CrossFit WOD's, I maintained the same flow that I prescribe in BTWG: 3 days of running (CFE WOD's and/or BTWG interval sessions), one day of yoga, meditation a couple times a week, and I stuck with Project Dietary Principles.

My average training time each week has been around 4-5 hours per week (depending on my long run) and only 2-3 hours of that time is running. My longest run prior to the Howl was 3.5 hours and most of my runs were 5K or less.

"But Chris, you didn't reach your goal. Doesn't that show your training failed?" Hardly.

Howl Goals:
  • Complete all 8 hours of the events - check
  • Keep weekly training times to a minimum, ideally under 8 hours per week - check. Most hours logged in one week was 5.5 and that included my longest training run of 3.5 hours.
  • Feel physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually strong throughout the event - check
  • Enjoy the training and the event - huge check
  • Cover 35 miles - negative. Came up 3.89 miles short
Throughout the entire race I felt physically strong and pain/injury free. Sure it was hard, but mentally and physically I was on par. The determining factor was the heat. Not making excuses, but when you compare finishing distances over the past several years, you will see that they were about 12% lower than years past. I was 11% short of my goal. I stand by my training and feel it delivered the goods. In fact, I will continue with my current training approach to prepare for my next race, the JFK 50 which is in November.

Why CrossFit?
I've know of CrossFit for several years but never really gave it much attention and had a generally negative attitude toward it. Since learning of CrossFit, it continued to cross my path in various ways. As I continued to evolve as a trainer/coach and educate myself, all roads continued to lead back to CrossFit. I felt I needed to give CrossFit a fair shake and the only way to do that would be to jump into the fray and follow their programming. Personal experience is the best litmus test.

The CrossFit methodology and philosophy is closely akin to what I've been teaching for years so it's been a natural fit for me; lot's of barbell squats, deadlifts, running, pull ups, body weight exercises, kettlebells, Olymipic lifts, rowing, and more.

Combining BTWG and CrossFit I've experienced some pretty remarkable personal improvements. While I'm not that impressive compared to others, when compared to my previous results, I'm more than pleased. My strength and power is the best it's been in over 10 years. I have the best balance throughout all spectrum of fitness that I've ever had and I have a high sense of contentment, peace, and confidence.

Sure, there are a couple gaps in CrossFit and they have plenty of haters. BTWG is still my number one priority. But for me, when it comes to performance for the recreational athlete who wants to compete AND have a life, I'm sticking with BTWG and CrossFit as my vehicle.

Other Secret Revealed:

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I had finally found how I was going to use the gift presented to me last year (40th birthday and wedding) and I've kept you in suspense since then. Since last year I have considered several places to visit, monasteries for retreat, workshops to attend, and more. Nothing really spoke to me, so I continued to patiently wait. What would fulfill me personally and professionally? The answer finally came and on September 26th-27th I will be attending a CrossFit Level I Coaching certification.

BTWG and CrossFit are a potent combination and I can't wait to share more of my vision and how this relates to your health, fitness, and well-being and the future of BTWG.

Thanks for sticking with me through this wild ride. Trust me, you are gonna love what I have in store. That is, unless you like stagnation and hate change and progress!

More soon.



Corbin said...

Oh no! Now we are really going to have to get together and chat!!! Much to talk about, much to talk about...

Any muscle-ups yet?

Chris said...

LOL. Yup, much to talk about...

No muscle ups yet. Gotta order me some rings. Wish I had a set - tomorrow's WOD includes muscle ups.

Give me a call next time you are coming to Indy.


Shane S. said...

Nice job Chris. I'm adding your blog to my list of blogs to follow!