CrossFit and Running

This post has been gestating for a while, ever since I created a training schedule for my friend Tina’s Hat Trick. Tina is a big time CrossFitter but also an experienced runner. My challenge was to keep CrossFit in her life while she trains for a 5K and a 10K on the SAME DAY and then a half-marathon the VERY NEXT DAY.


(Halfway) Dr. Abby is on the case!

(Halfway) Dr. Abby is on the case!

The flood of emails that followed from my popular friend’s blog posting about her new schedule were predominantly about how to train for a marathon while still being able to do CrossFit. Some were CrossFit-like HIIT workouts, but the majority were people going to actual CrossFit boxes (this is what they call their gyms).

Disclaimer: I do not condone nor was I compensated by CrossFit or any CrossFit affiliates. This is NOT an article supporting or encouraging the use CrossFit in any fitness program, but rather a “How To” guide for marathon training for those who don’t want to exclude it from their schedule.

Probably. (Image courtesy of

(Image courtesy of

There are a couple of rules of thumb that you will just have to deal with during training if you want to get the most out of your running program.

  1. Put your running first.
  2. Scale back your heavy lifting to 2 days per week in order to get the most out of your run workouts.
  3. During peak running season, don’t increase the weight on your strength workouts.
  4. Get more rest. No really, get MUCH more rest.
  5. Schedule your lifting days appropriately in your running schedule.

With each of my CrossFit runners, they learned #1 the hard way. They didn’t want to switch up the WODs (Workout Of the Day) for their runs and thought they could do it all and see results in running.

Thing is, it’s no my opinion that they need to prioritize running in order to see running results. It’s science.

One specific type of muscle fiber develops during maximum lift training. Another completely different type of fiber develops during endurance training. They don’t exactly play nice together. There are a few other in-betweenys but those two are the biggies who rule the schoolyard.

Only one can win.

Only one can win.

So, when you think about mixing marathon training with CrossFit, get your priorities lined up. What’s important? Running a great race? Continuing to rock your CrossFit WODs? Setting a personal best in the 26.2? Putting up more weight on your deadlifts?

It’s all about what your personal goals are. You can do both, but in the end, one really has to be the focus. Set the other one on the back burner and put it on low heat during high training.

Now go out and run.