Photo by Kat: Milo after a 6 mile run.
While it’s not uncommon to see similarities in our Endurance programming and the regular daily wod. We need to look more closely at the differences. I’ve said it before. Crossfit Endurance will only work in conjunction with regular strength and conditioning workouts. This is why Endurance is scheduled to take advantage of days that are typically not lifting days At RVA. This often leads to some confusion from people who enjoy the chippers more than the strength training who want to know why the regular class and the Endurance class has running or rowing on the same days.
For one thing. Sometimes it’s the luck of the draw. While I look ahead at the programming, I also alternate running and rowing days during the week so anyone who does want to join us for 2 classes won’t be repeating workouts. I feel it gives us a better balance in our training, and I always have the option of substituting if the weather is bad.
So what are the differences?
While the core movements may be the same the implementation differs. A lot of wods are endurance style, but may not be geared towards endurance training. We lift in the regular class all the time, but you wouldn’t expect to compete in a strongman competition on that alone.
Most of us taking the endurance class regularly have specific goals in mind. It may be racing in distances ranging from a 10K to an ultra marathon, or we possibly came to Crossfit from a running background and want to continue to improve in the sport that got us interested in fitness in the first place. Whatever the reason, Crossfit Endurance gives us a bit more than a traditional running wod.
Technique: We spend a good portion of each endurance class on drills and reviewing techniques to make us better runners or rowers. An emphasis is placed on pacing and breathing and form. Intensity and volume are secondary. Endurance class running is rarely the same as regular wod running which is typically “go that way, fast.” with little if any instruction. We will often work, as we do with scaling weights now to lift more later, at 70-85% of our max. We are training our fast twitch muscles to work efficiently and improving our lactic acid thresholds and V02 max which is how much oxygen your body can deliver to your working muscles.
Intervals are a big part of endurance training, and a full workout may be 8x200m with 2 minute rests between each. This sounds like a long rest for a short run, and trust me, you will learn the meaning of patience, but there’s a reason for everything. The following week we may do the same with a 90 or 60 second rest.
One of the goals of Endurance is, when combined with regular Crossfit training, to minimize the long slow distance training usually associated with endurance events to create faster stronger athletes at less risk of injury. We don’t ignore long distance altogether, but we try to maintain a better quality of distance running.
So, while you may see similar movements in regular wods and Endurance wods, and I’m sure in the new RVAfit classes starting next week. The goals may be entirely different. It’s up to you to decide how you want to train on any given day, and what you may be training for.
RVA Endurance classes are Tuesday mornings at 6am and Thursday nights at 5:30pm.
You can find the wods posted on Mondays and Wednesdays on Facebook at
or on Twitter: @rvaendurance
Endurance homework for those training for specific events will be posted on Sundays. Current homework is geared towards the Instant Classic Trail Half Marathon, and the Monument Avenue 10K. Both races are in March.