Yep, you heard us correctly. And, no, it isn’t April Fools day. We didn’t mispeak. We rarely mispeak. Why, then, is it that members always seem to question the validity of the 5k Run day? Is running not an exercise? Is a 5k run not a workout? Hopefully the answer to both of those questions is a resounding “no”. And yet, at our box, and probably every other box in the world, the 5k run day is, by far, the least attended day of the quarter. This fact leads me to believe that, while many perform CrossFit workouts regularly, most are still gravely misinformed on the principles and methodologies that underly the CrossFit program. Yes, 5k runs are just as important as CrossFit Totals. Contrary to popular belief, we don’t program 5k runs because the trainers want an off day.
CrossFit isn’t what YOU want it to be. CrossFit is CrossFit. Do CrossFit and you’ll become more fit than you ever imagined possible. Now comes the part that nobody wants to hear: CrossFit wants you to run! Nay, it requires you to run. True fitness can only be achieved if you incorporate long, low intensity, cardiovascular movements every once in awhile.
Still need proof? Below are three different models used by CrossFit to define and achieve a broad, general, all-around fitness. Each gives credence to our putting you through the misery that is the 5k run.
10 Aspects of Fitness
- Cardiorespiratory Endurance
By now most of you should be familiar with these. This model contends that fitness is made up of 10 different aspects. You are only as fit as you are competent in each of them. Amazing at three and awful at the rest? You probably aren’t very fit. Smack dab at the top of the list is Cardiorespiratory Endurance (aka cardio)! The point of the list is to demonstrate the importance of each. Strength is no more important than flexibility. Power is no more important than cardio. Having said that, you can’t be fit without having decent cardio (what’s a really good way of improving cardio? 5k runs!). All of them, together, make up CrossFit’s definition of fitness. Where athletes start getting themselves into trouble is when they begin to customize the list to meet THEIR personal interests and ideas of what fitness means.
The second model has to do with how the body creates and utilizes energy during workouts. Depending on the duration of the work, the body taps into one of three systems designed to support those efforts. Without getting too sciency, their is an energy system to support efforts that are 1) ten seconds or less, 2) up to a couple of minutes, and 3) well beyond several minutes. In layman’s terms? Short, medium, and long stuff. We must develop each of the pathways equally in order to improve overall fitness. The only way to improve the pathways is to spend time working out in each of the associated time domains. Guess what that means? 5k runs to help improve our long stuff! You’ll never get better at the longer, lower intensity domains if you never workout there.
There is, however, a silver lining. We can’t spend too much time working the 5k run because of the toll long cardio efforts take on other aspects of fitness. Training in the short and medium time domains will also improve the long stuff, hence the reason most of our workouts are on the shorter side. That doesn’t mean that we avoid long runs altogether though. They, too, have their place and their purpose.
The Unknown and The Unknowable
The final model measures fitness by the ability to perform physical tasks that are both unknown and unknowable. The unknown represents the workouts that we have you do on a daily basis. You don’t know what they are until you wake up the next morning and check Beyond The Whiteboard, or until you step into the gym. You might have an idea of what they could be, but you never really know until you see them. The unknowable represents the things that you can’t ever possibly know. For example, you have no idea whether or not a dog will escape from it’s yard and chase you down the street tomorrow.
Both require you to be prepared for, and able to perform, a random physical task thrown your way. The fittest individuals don’t need to warm up, mentally prepare, or have music blasting. Are they nice? Sure. Are they necessary? They shouldn’t be. The same can be said for our 5k run days. You won’t know when they are, but it will do your fitness a world of good to accept that fact and have a go at it anyways. It doesn’t make sense to be fit only for the times you feel like it. Be fit all of time. That’s the CrossFit way. So what if you weren’t expecting the workout to be a long run. Crush it anyway, because you can.
Each of these models is tested every day via constantly varied, functional movements, performed at high intensity. In other words, CROSSFIT. Simply do CrossFit. That includes 5k runs (for the reasons stated above), CrossFit Totals, and everything in between. If you do CrossFit, the way it was intended, you’ll achieve every fitness goal you’ve ever had and then some. Period.
Lastly, let’s be real…you’re not going to run a 5k by yourself at your house. Can you do it on your own? Of course. Will you? That’s a completely different story. The camaraderie, competition, and push of our group classes is enough reason to make the trip over to the gym, even for something as basic as a run. See you next quarter!