Q: I’m looking to add to my workout routine. Is crossfit beneficial to runners?
A: Yes but only if approached the right way. When trying anything fitness related for the first time, it should be approached slowly and carefully. For example, a beginner runner would not attempt to run 15K days after running for the first time because that’s something that the body is not yet capable of. You want the build to be gradual.
So you’re a runner heading to the cross-fit gym for the first time? Adding this to the routine is especially great for building needed muscle strength and correcting imbalances— both of which runners often ignore. Being a good runner is not just about putting on the shoes and adding up the mileage. Runners rely on strong glutes, hamstrings, quads, calves and cores. Cross-fit classes offer full-body training sessions which will target all of those muscle groups and so if you want to do your due-diligence and get this work in, crossfit is one way to get it done.
Do you have any injuries? If so, inform your instructor at the beginning of the course. Better than that, talk to your physiotherapist beforehand to find out which exercises you should be avoiding. Maybe you’re not currently injured. Let’s make sure you keep it that way. Crossfit has a bit of a reputation as being a culprit for creating injury. To avoid that, start with a beginner class. Likely those will have you doing a variety of exercises using your own body weight for resistance. Perfect those before moving on to lifting heavy weights, and when you do so, start with a lighter one.
Injury also stems from doing the exercises with improper form. Slow down and carefully observe the instructor’s movements. It can be tempting to jump in and try to outdo everyone (runners are competitive people…) but you won’t get the benefit if you’re doing it wrong. During the class, pay attention to how you’re feeling. Your body may not be used to short bursts of intense muscle work. If you need a break, don’t be shy to take one.
When done properly, cross-fit can certainly benefit your running. As you get going, you’re likely to learn new warm-up exercises to do before the run as well as some quick strength moves to throw in afterwards.