Burning Runner: Transition Time

T.J. transitions from long slow distance to power, speed and endurance.

T.J. transitions from long slow distance to power, speed and endurance.

Written by: TJ Murphy

As mentioned last week, I’m going to dedicate my year to training the Crossfit Endurance way—effectively transitioning from a more traditional week of distance running to one that relies on interval, tempo running and time trials and also trades in recovery and long-slow runs for power and stamina work. The Crossfit Endurance approach also emphasizes running form and mobility training to achieve efficient movement.

It’s all new to me, and after a decade of overuse injuries carpet bombing my running, I’m ready for something that requires less overall mileage and more attention to physical infrastructure. I’m also ready for something different.

I’m following a schedule being created by Brian MacKenzie, founder of Crossfit Endurance. Although I’ll likely race at other points in the year at different distances, I’m going to use these four half-marathons to mark my progress. My best half-marathon last year, before I got injured, was a 1:37 in October. The races are spread out a bit and should give me some direct measurement as to how the CFE work is going for me.


Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle — June 25

Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago — August 14

Rock ‘n’ Roll Loas Angeles — October 30

Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas— December 4

Looking to have Brian MacKenzie make appearances at these expos for each of these races and holding Q and A’s on the CFE approach to running.

DAILY TRAINING LOG: March 14, 2011

Strength: Good morning exercises. The goal was to work up slowing through a number of sets to a weight that is the maximum I can perform for 3 repetitions. I started off with just the bar to hone in on the technique that is crucial to getting the proper benefit out of the exercise (and staying clear of injury). I worked up to 105 pounds for 3 reps

Crossfit: A 3-exercise circuit, no rest between exercises except for the time to travel between each set going like this: 10 reps, 8 reps, 6 reps, 4 reps, 2 reps. The circuit was this: Box jumps (12-inch box), kettle bell swings with 35 pounds and machine-assisted pullups. You know I’m not a veteran Crossfitter because this workout was scaled down to what I’m currently capable of achieving. The vets do box jumps, swings and pull-ups that blow your mind. I finished the workout in 7 minutes and 3 seconds.

Running Endurance: None scheduled for Monday.

Mobility WOD: Did “couch” stretches–2 minutes each, deep calf stretches (2 minutes each leg) then assorted foam rolling.

Additional Notes: Iced left Achilles tendon 2 x 20 minutes with an ice pack and 1 time ice massage for 5 minutes.


Breakfast: free range egg whites, whole egg, lentils, spinach and veggies, hot sauce.

Lunch: Vegetable salad with mahi tuna.

Snack: cherry tomatoes, carrots and an ounce of turkey.

Dinner: Vegetable stir fry with grassfed lean beef

Hydration: Over 100 ounces of water, 48 ounces of it spiked with Nuun electrolyte tabs.


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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