Burning Runner: Transitioning Into Training Mode

CrossFit Endurance founder Brian MacKenzie at work in his gym.

T.J. Murphy reports on the transition from traditional LSD running to the CrossFit Endurance approach to training.

Written by: T.J. Murphy

Yesterday I received my first week of training plans from Crossfit Endurance coach, Brian MacKenzie. As I reported last week, I recently attended the full weekend of instruction on the principles of MacKenzie’s program, a program he developed over the last decade drawing on his work with Pose-method creator Dr. Nicholas Romanov, Crossfit and by experimenting with other distance and ultrarunners in applying new concepts to the building of stamina and endurance.

It’s very different stuff, and over the last two months I’ve been slowly exposed to the exercises that are the essential tools: powerlifting, rowing, midline stability training and running technique.

In his workshop MacKenzie repeatedly stressed the concept of scaling that most runners—and I’m the poster boy for this—have to transition to CFE with great caution. As MacKenzie told me on the phone yesterday, a form of exercise like rowing can be of tremendous value to the distance runner because it can illuminate areas of strength you didn’t know you had (but must be developed), but some movements, like deadlifts and squats, require thorough technique training as well as gradual introduction to the work.

On Monday, I’m scheduled for two workouts—one, a strength workout using “Good Morning” exercises with heavy weights (heavy for me), followed by a CFE Workout of the Day: a circuit of kettle bell swings, box jumps and assisted pull-ups.

I’ll be posting my daily log to Competitor.com, with notes on fully adopting the principles of nutrition that MacKenzie insists are critical to being effective with the CFE method—adequate protein intake, hydration and fish oil supplementation underlying a Paleo-style diet.

My initial goal is to simply dedicate myself fully to the process. As I get settled into the work I’ll pinpoint a specific half-marathon race to target. Another goal is to prepare myself for a season of cross-country racing, something that Crossfit Endurance seems exceptionally well tuned for.

The log will also detail the mobility work that Kelly Starrett teaches through the MobilityWod (www.mobilitywod.com) each day and how I respond to it.

Also on the radar: Next Friday a crew of my fellow Competitor Magazine editors including Linzay Logan, Sabrina Grotewold, Cielestia Calbay and Erin Beresini plan to join me for a trip to the home of Crossfit Endurance where we’ll all get a chance to workout under MacKenzie’s direction. Looking forward to getting some good video from the trip.

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T.J. Murphy is the Editorial Director of Competitor Magazine. A 2:38 marathoner and five-time Ironman finisher, he is the former editorial director of Triathlete Magazine and Inside Triathlon. His writing has also appeared in Outside Magazine and Runner’s World.

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