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CrossFit is defined as constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity,” and following such a program means always having to alter movements, reps, weights, and time domains. The CrossFit workouts we’ve covered in CrossFit Corner over the past year often included a wide variety of movements, loads, and rep schemes. But single-modality workouts-workouts that only incorporate one movement are also a big part of CrossFit.
Running is one of the most basic human movements, and for a lot of people, it’s the only form of exercise. In CrossFit, running is just one important part of general physical preparedness, and you’ll find it mixed in with other movements or sometimes by itself, as in this month’s workout, the Run WOD. In the Run WOD, the first run is a one-mile time trial, and the goal is to be as fast as possible.
Regardless of your time, you get only three minutes of rest, which will go by quickly. The next effort is a 1,200-meter run. Hit this portion as hard as the rest, and try to maintain the same 400-meter splits. After the 1,200, the rest is cut down to two minutes, which will seem cruel when you’re gasping for breath.
The third run is an 800- meter sprint. Unless you’re a running specialist, the 800 might be the most painful part of the workout: The first two efforts have taken their toll, and the rest period simply isn’t long enough to allow for much recovery. You may burst of the line for the 800, but it won’t take long before you feel like you’re hobbling around the track. Once you cross the line you have only one minute to rest, and then it’s time for one more effort, a 400.
Scoring this workout is simple: Start a clock at the beginning of the first run and stop it after the last run. Subtract the six minutes of rest and you have your total running time. The goal should be to maintain a competitive split for each portion. For example, if you run a seven-minute mile, you should strive to maintain a 1:45 pace for 400 meters. This is very difficult, and managing the rest portions is key. Breathe deeply and slowly -in through the nose, out through the mouth-while trying to get prepped for your next effort. This workout is interesting, because the difficulty can vary wildly from person to person. It can feel like a nice jog if you don’t attack any of the runs with intensity. But if you hammer each effort as though it’s the last competitive WOD you’ll ever do, it makes for a very painful 20-plus minutes-and the oxygen debt you create in the process will help you burn fat for hours after the workout is over.
Take Your Medicine: If you’re a regular M&F reader then running probably isn’t your favorite exercise. For years this magazine has offered up ways to do cardio without having to run, just because so many guys hate it. But sometimes, the exercises we need most are the ones we dread; just think of doing this workout like eating your vegetables.