CrossFit: Increase WOD Running Speed in One Day

For all their variety, an overwhelming majority of CrossFit WODs have one constant – running.

That’s a lot of running in a community that says it hates running! Ok, ‘hates’ maybe too strong of a word here, but I’m sure you’ve heard your friends and others say that at least once before.

The result of this disparaging view of running is obvious. Instead of flaunting PRs and raising benchmarks, members woefully accept defeat and resign to injuries and mediocre times, whereas they fight tooth and nail for a successful snatch.

What would you do if I told you that you indeed could run faster and better than you think? At our workshops we can actually calculate and tell you just how much faster you could be running! You don’t have to go far to see the potential, just look at Karly Wilson of CrossFit Undeniable that finished a marathon first in her age group. A couple of month before the race Wilson and CrossFit Undeniable hosted CrossFit Preferred Course. Addressing her running technique was the final ingredient that made the difference. It’s not about running a marathon, of course, but you could if you felt so inclined.

The truth about running

Running is an integral part of virtually every sport. Basketball, baseball, football, rugby, CrossFit… and the list can go on and on. Hey, running is often involved when you’re just trying to make it to your training session and not be late. Running is everywhere and this is precisely why it is so misunderstood and underappreciated.

Statistics are very revealing of the scale of this issue – 2 out of 3 people who run get injured. That is more than all other sports combined. How crazy is that?

You know what else is crazy? The fact that most people don’t realize how simple it is to improve their running. They key is to do less and be precise in movement. Stop the madness with pumping arms, raising knees, rolling from heel to toe, butt kicking and so on. To run is to change support from running pose to running pose.

When your running technique is optimized, running feels better and becomes easier. And here’s the cherry on top – better technique prevents early muscle function deterioration, so you can run, press, run, squat, run or whatever and not fall apart. Or run a marathon and find yourself on a podium (ok podium might be a stretch but still).

‘How to’ does not require love

So, how could you run faster than you do now? You need to improve your running technique. You don’t need to love running to be a good runner, to run faster than you do now, or better yet, to avoid injuries. You just need to know HOW to run. The ‘how to’ in anything does not require any emotion. It requires technique.

You’re probably thinking right now – don’t we already know how to run? That’s a negative, trooper. Just because you can get up and put one foot in front of the other, it does not mean you know how to run. You can manage, yes, but is that how you squat, press or lift? So what gives? And I don’t want to hear anything about humans being born to run. When was the last time you chased your next meal? The fact is – our modern lifestyle had dramatically altered all that.

Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change

The solution to the predicament we are in is simple. If we look at the act of running as a skill based movement, than running will no longer be the thing we hate or the thing that hurts us. It will be just like any other movement. To get it right all you’d need is to use the correct technique and then you could do it faster, and also more of it. Now that sounds like just another day at the box, nothing more and nothing less.

Lucky for everyone, there are hundreds of affiliates worldwide that had already figured this out and have Certified Running Technique Specialists on staff and are implementing running drills into their workouts. Some even started RPM Run Clubs. All you need to do is ask your Head Coach about running drills and classes.

Bring it to the finish line

Most members do not realize that they are already more than halfway there. Doing running technique drills is the only thing keeping them from running better and faster. What about the rest you may ask. But what else is there? Speed and endurance are byproducts of running technique.

Technique is the gateway to peak performance. If you’re injured, your excellent physiology means absolutely nothing. The world is full of runners with mind-blowing VO2Max sitting on the couch with a knee or hip injury. Technique work and strength training are the remedy and it is yours for the taking.

Funny enough, anyone doing regular CrossFit workouts is already way ahead of most local runners due to their strength conditioning. So realistically, an average CrossFit member needs a lot less preparation and can significantly improve their running and speed within one training session. How awesome is that?

Let me help you run faster and better. Contact us to host our Running Clinic.

About the Author

Dr. Bruce Tan is a Level 1 Seminar Instructor for Pose Method® Continued Education Seminars. He is also a Pose Method Certified Running Technique Specialist and a Doctor of Physical Therapy. As a former military, Bruce has a special appreciation of integrating skill development into the weekly training regimen in order to support general health and promote higher standard of performance.

CONTINUING EDUCATION + LIVE SEMINARS + LOCAL CLASSES

Pose Method® 2-Day Educational Seminar is approved for 16 contact hours towards continuing education for Certified CrossFit Trainers and Physical Therapists. Athletes and parents of school age children are encouraged to attend.

The Pose Method® system is a combination of online learning, live seminars and local classes making it the most effective solution available to health and fitness professionals as well as anyone who enjoys an active lifestyle.

 

Theory & Practice: Athlete’s Muscles

I hear discussions of muscles and fibers and I wonder if people participating in the discussion are talking about doing something or is it a theoretical discussion of anatomy. If you’re studying anatomy or have scientific interest in the topic of muscles, tissues and fibers then it makes sense, but if you’re an athlete of any level or a coach – while it might satisfy some curiosity, it won’t serve practical purpose.

Types of ‘Knowing’

Within the context of athletics and training there are things we need and don’t need to know in a sense of practically useful information. It is human nature to want to know. However, just because we’re curious about various layers of muscles, it doesn’t mean we need to know, or that that type of knowing will be practically helpful for performing a specific task. As a matter of fact, certain types of information prevent people from seeing the big picture. It’s ok to amass information, but it is also important to not lose sight of the correct hierarchy of things.

Knowing various types of muscle fibers or singling out various muscle groups, their structure and their function will not make a practical difference and will not make you a better athlete. If you want to be better at running, throwing, jumping, lifting, swimming, etc – what you need to know is how to do it and what specific action(s) to take to make it happen.

Ego VS Body

Whether we want to acknowledge it or not, our body, our muscles “know” what they need to do and they do it. Our problems begin when we insist on controlling every aspect of our body moving in space and time. Add to that the fact that most people either have zero instruction or the wrong instructions on HOW to move and it is not difficult to see the potential mess we can get into.

While we think about what we assume our muscles should be doing in order to move our leg this way or that way, and we think of what muscles should be firing or working – our body and its constituent parts have already not only activated the necessary parts, but most likely have already finished the job, too. The speed of our thought, no matter how fast we assume we think, is a lot slower than any interaction that naturally goes on within a human body. So, unless it is your intent to slow yourself down, think only of the action that needs to happen to promote a particular task at hand, i.e. if you want to run, think only of pulling your foot up to change support. The rest of the elements of a particular athletic activity should be worked on and brought to the level of autopilot in training sessions.

‘Big Picture’ Hierarchy

The most logical place to start the hierarchy of movement is our environment. Our movement is not a random and independent twitching of muscle fibers. Our whole body is at the mercy of natural forces that make up our world and are ruled by gravity. It holds everything together. Gravity is the starting point.

Gravity gives us bodyweight. No gravity -> no bodyweight -> no movement. Gravity less than on Earth -> same body different weight -> dramatic changes in basic movement (Ex.: running turns into hopping)

Dr. Nicholas Romanov, founder of the Pose Method, demonstrates how our active muscle efforts are useless without the presence of body weight. How do you use your muscles when running? Have you ever been told to “fire your glutes”? In this video, watch how your muscles can be rendered useless when you can’t apply your body weight.

Muscles’ Purpose

All muscles are equally important. We should not take our body apart – these muscles are for running, these fibers are for speed, these are for cycling, and these are for lifting, etc. This is not how it works. This confusion comes from lack of understanding of how our body operates. Each muscle and muscle group perform their own important function, and, as we can see, they are all connected. All muscles work in sync. The synchronization includes the entire body and extends all the way to our heartbeat.

Now let’s zoom out to see the big picture. Muscles, along with tendons and ligaments, hold the whole body together and provide an intricate network of mechanisms that allow movement. ‘Allow’ is the keyword. Without our bodyweight, the same network of muscles still provides the same mechanisms yet movement either does not happen at all, or looks very differently.

As far as movement is concerned, our muscles mean nothing without our bodyweight. Muscles do not create or initiate movement. Muscles play the supporting role.

 

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About the Author

Dr. Nicholas Romanov is the developer of the Pose Method®. A passionate proponent of higher level of education in athletics, Dr. Romanov dedicated his entire career to sports education, scientific research and coaching. An Olympic Coach and a bestselling author, Dr. Romanov has taught on all continents and visited almost every country in the world.
[ Click here to learn more ]

CONTINUING EDUCATION + LIVE SEMINARS + LOCAL CLASSES

Pose Method® 2-Day Educational Seminar is approved for 16 contact hours towards continuing education for Certified CrossFit Trainers and Physical Therapists. Athletes and parents of school age children are encouraged to attend.

The Pose Method® system is a combination of online learning, live seminars and local classes making it the most effective solution available to health and fitness professionals as well as anyone who enjoys an active lifestyle.

Theory & Practice: Strength Training in Running

While the question ‘do we need strength training in running?’ is not a question anymore, the question, ‘what kind of strength do we need there?’ is still unclear. That is why I would like to discuss this topic in a short description of the logic of strength exercise use in running.

It is no secret that muscle strength is necessary in running to provide for the body’s ability to interact with the ground while your body moves from one support to the other. During support time gravity manifests itself as the body weight and muscles provide for its ability to interact with the ground.

So the precision of muscles’ development according to the body’s needs of interaction, is directly related to the quality and efficiency of that interaction. We have also to take into account the skill of interaction, that is the skill of using muscular efforts and all other forces.

What are the main requirements for this type of interaction, and what kind of strength training do these requirements call for? In Pose Method we distinguish three major types of strength and the corresponding exercises that provide for the required level of skill of interaction with the ground. The first is hip strength, the second – hamstring strength and the third – muscle elasticity.

Why do we choose these types of strength and these exercises to develop it? The answer is directly related to the Pose Method of running technique. The performance of three major elements of Pose Method technique – the running Posefalling (leaning) forward from the Pose and pulling the support foot from the ground – depend on how well each specific strength is developed.

Hips

Hips strength provides for very efficient falling forward, because it allows you to keep the upper and low body well connected as one unit and therefore, fall forward faster. Hips exercises should be included in the training routine at least once a week, 4 to 6 different exercises according to your ability, with 10 to 20 reps in one set after the main training part.

  • at least once a week
  • 4 to 6 different exercises according to your ability
  • 10 to 20 reps per set, increase based on ability

Hamstrings

Hamstring strength is responsible for pulling the support foot from the ground, when the body ends its contact with the ground, and brings the foot under the hips in time for the next support, in order to start falling again. If hamstring strength is not developed enough, the support foot and the whole leg would be lagging behind until the next support and the body would not fall forward.

Consequently it would lead to reducing stride frequency and speed of running. The late (or ‘not on time’) pull of the support foot from the ground in sprint causes a hamstring injury. Exercises for hamstring strength development should be used at least once a week as well, with 10 to 20 reps in one set and up to 3-5 sets in one training session. It could be done as a main session together with other strength exercises, or after running training.

  • at least once a week
  • 10 to 20 reps per set
  • up to 3-5 sets in one training session, increase based on ability

Muscle Elasticity

Muscle elasticity or springiness is the ability of muscles to quickly return to the length previous to impact. The other name of it is stretch-shortening reflex. Elasticity, according to scientific data, provides for quick interaction with the support and reduces oxygen consumption and energy expenditures during running. Elastic condition is achieved by keeping the body in the S-like shape on support, or in layman terms, by keeping the knee bent and never straightened and maintaining a short support time. The latter is related to high (over 180 steps per minute) stride frequency, executed by pulling the support foot from the ground on time.

Elasticity exercises are simply jumping exercises. There is a great variety of them, on different levels of difficulty and complexity but most accessible for beginners would be jumps in place on two legs, with jump rope or light weights of your choice according to your level. Jumps could be done twice a week after the main running session. The number of reps would vary from 10 to 30 and more, depending on the type of jumps. Sets would depend on your level of preparedness.

  • twice a week after the main running session
  • 10 to 30 reps per set
  • 1-3 sets in one training session, increase based on ability

As you see, all these different types of strength, in the final account, are providing for one thing – the ability to fall forward more efficiently and be a better runner.

Here’s an example of a full strength training routine for runners.

About the Author

Dr. Nicholas Romanov is the developer of the Pose Method®. A passionate proponent of higher level of education in athletics, Dr. Romanov dedicated his entire career to sports education, scientific research and coaching. An Olympic Coach and a bestselling author, Dr. Romanov has taught on all continents and visited almost every country in the world.
[ Click here to learn more ]