The Road (aka Third Avenue) is Calling

By: Jenessa Connor

The temperatures are beginning to climb, so you know what else is going up – the garage door! It’s time to get off the rowers and hit the pavement with more running-intensive WODs. Admit it – you definitely missed Third Avenue and all its distinctive smells.

When it comes to ramping up your running distances and intensity, it’s best to take a thoughtful and systematic approach. You’ll avoid injury and (just maybe) enjoy the process a little more. Here are some of Coach Iz’s favorite running tips.

Take a quick video. Get a friend to record a video of you running 200 meters. Use the footage to study your posture and mechanics. Every runner’s form is a little different, but here are some general guidelines:

  • Be mindful of your posture. Keep your shoulders back and your eyes on the horizon.
  • Keep your core engaged. Avoid bending forward at the waist.
  • Bend your arms at a 90-degree angle and swing them close to the body. Your hands should come forward, not cross the midline of your body.
  • With each step, the foot should land directly under the hips. Where the foot lands in relation to the body is more important than what section of the foot hits the pavement first.

Check out the Pose method. If you want to improve your overall technique, Coach Iz recommends looking into the Pose Method. Spend a few weeks working on just one or two aspects of your technique. (This video by CrossFit HQ includes a few simple drills.) “Initially, changing your running style will require more concentration and coordination and will likely feel unnatural,” says Iz. “Over time you should think less about the change and start to feel more natural and coordinated.”

Focus on volume. “With regard to progression, I suggest building volume before intensity,” Iz recommends. Hop on a treadmill or head to the park a couple days a week and use this progression, resting between each interval:

  • Week 1- 400m @ 2-min pace X 5; 2 min rest (If a 2-min pace is not sustainable for 400m, choose a pace that is moderately challenging.)
  • Week 2- 400m @ 2-min pace X 6; 2 min rest
  • Week 3- 400m @ 2-min pace X 7; 2 min rest
  • Week 4- 400m @ 2-min pace X 8; 2 min rest
  • Week 5- 400m @ 1:48 pace X 4; 2 min rest (If a 1:48 pace is not sustainable for 400m, choose a pace that is 10-12 seconds faster than your previous pace.)
  • Week 6- 400m @ 1:48 pace X 5; 2 min rest
  • Week 7- 400m @ 1:48 pace X 6; 2 min rest
  • Week 8- 400m @ 1:48 pace X 7; 2 min rest

Consider your lifestyle. You hear it all the time: what happens outside the box is just as important as what you do inside the box. Proper nutrition, hydration, and sleep will improve your performance. Spending time on mobility will help you move better and prevent injuries. Ignoring these aspects of your training will negatively affect your workouts.

Invest in the right shoes. You may like lifting in relatively flat shoes, but a pair of cross-trainers will offer you more support and make running more enjoyable. There are literally hundreds of options available to you, but most CrossFit athletes tend to gravitate to Nike Metcons, Reebok Nanos, or Nobull trainers.