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Can Marathoners be good Crossfitters? The beginnings

Posted by Pascal Landshoeft

Jun 24, 2014 8:05:00 AM

Can marathoners be good crossfitters ? The beginnings


Marathoners are people who can endure heat, wind & rain while training for ten weeks to a full year to reach their goal of finishing a marathon or improving their personal best for the 26.1 miles(or 42 km depending on which metrics you prefer). Crossfitters seem to have many of these traits in common. However when you look at the top marathon runners and crossfitters their physiques differ a lot. On one site you have the skinny Kenyan who runs across the desert and, let´s face it, looks a bit undernourished. On the other we have Rich Froning and other athletes with their bulky, almost bodybuilding like bodies. This lead me to the question, if marathoners can be good crossfitters.

Can marathoners be good crossfitters?Can marathoners be good crossfitters ?

Run faster vs. Lift stronger


I ran the Dublin marathon in 3:58:21 in 2013. 29 minutes slower than I had hoped for due to inconsistent preparation and overambitious goal setting. Since then i was eager to get that 3:30:00 or even under 3 hours time. Looking at Hal Higdon´s plans i started to incorporate some starting strength routines using bodyweight into my training. I did not want to do marathon training alone and look like a running matchstick in the end. What really sparked my interest was that my research concluded that to run faster and lift stronger at the same time could not be unified in one person. Enter crossfit.


The solution: Crossfit! Or not ?


The discovery of crossfit really blew my mind. I didn´t even hear about it before. The high intensity workouts seemed to combine what I wanted to get the overall fitness results I was striving for. Currently i incorporate frans, murphs, ryans and other crossfit exercises in my training and love it. Unfortunately i also figured out that the relationship between crossfitters and long distance runs resembles the relationship between Vampires and garlic. It doesn´t kill them, but they try to avoid it wherever they can. Same goes for marathoners and heavy lifting.


Low bodyweight for runners vs. Higher bodyweight for lifters


As a marathon runner your goal is to finish the 42km in the best possible time. Any ounce of flesh you do not need to accomplish this task is surplus and dragging you down. There is no incentive in putting on weight for this discipline. It is actually counterproductive. As a crossfitter this dynamic flips on its head. Apart from the half marathon row most crossfit distances you travel by foot are below 3 miles and incorporate some kind of dragging, pulling or carrying a heavy weight or your own body weight. In crossfit you get awarded for heaving more lean body weight.


Can marathoners be good crossfitters?


The current research points to a no. Of course crossfit excercises could be changed in favor of long distance runs, but that would chip away at the core idea of crossfit to do the most amount of work in the least amount of time. If the current standard prevails, marathoners won´t make good crossfitters. This being said, i saw a challenge arising and set myself a goal just to prove it can be done. I want to be able to run a marathon under three hours and clean and Jerk 300 pounds on the same day before I die.


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