You are a CrossFitter and hate running? You are not alone, but you should not run away when you see the next WOD involves… well… running. To inject some courage into your spirit, continue reading to find out what are the benefits of running for CrossFit athletes.
You started CrossFit because you wanted to become healthier, fitter, and a good athlete in functional fitness. Walking, or running for that matter, is right at the top of functional movements. It is okay to be fearful for a second. I mean, even Mathew Fraser is a bit afraid of cardio during workouts now and then.
To put it bluntly, running will turn you into a better CrossFit athlete in every possible way, even if you have just begun your life as a CrossFitter or you are an advanced athlete who is dreaming of becoming the Fittest on Earth. Here are some benefits of running for CrossFit athletes:
- Improve oxygen usage in the muscles
- Increase heart’s mass and volume
- Improve ventilation in the lungs
- Reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure
The benefits cited above are for athletes that use running as an aerobic activity, meaning a steady mid-level pace run, and not a burst of high-intensity level or sprinting.
Let’s see what these benefits mean for a CrossFitter.
It Builds Up Your Engine
Quick question, who usually dominates a long workout in the CrossFit season? Is it the strongest? Is it the best gymnast? Of course being strong and having elasticity helps a lot, but greater lungs will help you finish nearly every WOD faster.
The people who have trained their cardio capacity are the athletes that need less time to recover between one round and another. As you read before, running will improve your muscles’ oxygen usage, meaning the oxygen you breathe in will be used more efficiently in the mitochondria of your muscles.
By running you will improve your endurance and thus increasing your VO2 max, which is the maximum rate of oxygen measured during the exercise of increasing intensity. In competitions, those who need less time to catch a breath in between rounds are the ones who finish faster.
It Will Help With Nearly Any WOD
“Cindy” is a benchmark girl WOD that comprises of 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups and 15 air squats – this is an AMRAP in 20 minutes. On the surface it seems like a classic body strength workout, but any athlete without good cardio endurance will get a low score. CrossFit has published a study in which it compared the heart rate (bpm) of athletes performing the Cindy WOD and athletes on a rowing machine for 20 minutes. Those doing Cindy had a higher heart rate than the rowing athlete, which proved that Cindy, a workout seen as a resistance and strength exercise, actually demands a big engine from the athlete. Source: CrossFit
In simpler terms, running will improve your heart’s mass and volume and, therefore, improve your score in many WODs, such as Cindy. Perhaps also help you achieve your PR in the fearful Murph?
It Helps With Recovery
Yesterday you had a WOD that focused on squats and lower body strength in general, and today you woke up with pain in your muscles. Everything is sore. How do you recover from it? Run.That’s right, running can help you recover from soreness, even if your legs are what hurts the most.
This happens because running facilitates better blood flow and brings lactate to your muscle tissues. Lactate, or acid lactic, is a metabolic by-product produced by muscle cells and other tissues when there is insufficient oxygen in that cell. In other words, when you work out excessively.And running can help as an active recovery.
FOR CROSSFITTERS, THAT MEANS THAT RUNNING AT A LOW TO MID-INTENSITY LEVEL DURING REST DAYS IS RECOMMENDED TO RECOVER FASTER FROM THE PREVIOUS WOD.