As a high school and college cross country runner there was nothing I dreaded more than mile repeats. Yet somehow on Sunday I found myself doing three sets of five mile repeats. That’s right, each repeat was five miles. If that’s not sadistic, I don’t know what is.
I had been planning on running 17 miles on Sunday since last week. My plans changed slightly after going to CrossFit on Saturday when my coach intervened and told me to run 3 x 5 mile repeats instead of 17 miles. It sounded like a deal at the time. Less mileage? Sure! However, I’ve been doing CrossFit long enough to know that if you think something sounds easy you’re going to be in pain.
How were the repeats? Brutal. Running those repeats was probably the most mentally challenging workout I have done over the past year. The first two were actually completely okay, and I surprised myself by busting out a 7:00 minute mile on the first set. I was a little overexcited. The last repeat was just awful. I wanted to turn around after one mile, which is never a good sign. Somehow I managed to finish. Listening to Kelly Clarkson during my breaks between each set obviously paid off. Surprisingly, I actually felt a lot better after this week’s 15 miles than I had the previous week after a 15 mile continuous run.
You might now be asking yourself why I am taking marathon training advice from my CrossFit coach. I believe that there’s no reason you can’t run marathons on CrossFit and there’s no reason you can’t do CrossFit while marathon training. I realize that doing both of these seems very counterproductive. I beg to differ, and I find that the strength I get from CrossFit helps me in my runs and the endurance I get from running helps me in CrossFit.
Lifting heavy things can help you run better? I think so!
In taking this approach to marathon training, though, I can’t really follow traditional high mileage plans. Hence the 3 x 5 mile repeats. To tell you the truth I’m not sure I would even enjoy running marathons if I had to run high mileage weeks. I have a blast being this weird hybrid between a marathoner and CrossFitter. And it’s my mission to prove that you can get a decent marathon time with cross training. Is this going to work? Am I going to be eating my words on May 6? I have no idea, and I honestly don’t even care. I’m having fun right now, and I think that’s the most important part of all of this.Personal side note to add that I have many friends who spend a lot of time running and put in the miles. I have nothing but mad respect and admiration for all of them. They will without a doubt be running faster marathon times that I will be running!