As I mentioned in my weekly recap, I started going (back to) Bootcamp last week. I say back to because I went off and on for about 2 months last winter and then for some reason I stopped going...probably because I wanted to run more. I did notice last winter my 5k pace dropped by about a minute and my long run "comfortable" pace dropped by more than a min/mile. I knew the "muscley" stuff played into my pace going down...I mean, I didn't get that much faster just from running an extra month! And I've already seen a difference in the past week! My long run today was a breeze, I didn't feel like I was really pushing myself and I averaged a 9:40 mile!
Over the past year my pace has gone back down because of injuries and such...and I think the treadmill has a field day playing mind games with me. For some reason it's near impossible for me to run a 10 min/mile on the treadmill but I can do it just fine on the track or outside.
When I went back to Crossfit Tuff this week I was talking to the trainers about how I'm training for a marathon and they mentioned that I could replace a lot of my running with Crossfit workouts and still be able to run a marathon. He even said he trained someone who ran a personal best marathon and his longest run training for the marathon was 10 miles! It was his third marathon so he had some idea of what to expect, but still! I didn't really buy it so I still snuck off to the Y on Wednesday after bootcamp to get my prescribed 3 mile run in.
But as I was reading the February Issue of Runners World today, I found this. Basically it reaffirms everything the trainer told me at the gym this week! Crazy. For those who don't want to read the whole thing, it basically says you if you combine short, high intensity aerobic exercise with Crossfit Endurance, you don't need the long, low intensity runs to prepare for a big race. The longest run you train in a single session is 90 minutes. Overall you can reduce your mileage to 1/4 of what you'd run in a "typical" marathon training program.
Granted, it says that it probably works better for experienced runners because there are mental benefits to long runs for a first time marathon runner. And it might not work as well for longer, Ironman type events. I'll stick to the long runs for now. But if all goes well with Bootcamp and stepping up to real Crossfit classes and if I finish my May marathon I might try to Crossfit/intense short run hybrid plan for my next marathon (is it weird that I'm only in week 4 of marathon training and I'm already thinking about marathon 2?).
It would be interesting to train for both and do a comparison of how well I, personally, survive both races. Granted, if I try to do them relatively close to each other than 2nd race might be slightly tainted since I'm pretty much starting from nothing now and I'll be relatively fit if I start training for a 2nd one. Maybe I could take a month or two off and eat ice cream every day before I start training for a 2nd race so I'd start on an even playing field :)
What do you think about incorporating Crossfit Endurance training to reduce the mileage of a training program?