Today’s workout is all about the run. Some of you love it, and many of you hate it because all I hear is complaining about it! If you struggle with running, or if you could improve on your running (pretty much everyone) then take the time to ready the write up.
Chris Hinshaw: The Running Man By Emily Beers
Long-time CrossFit athlete Tawny Sanabria used to dread box jumps.
“And wall balls,” said the 45-year-old who trains at CrossFit BelRed in Redmond, Washington.
“I could never get into a good rhythm, and they would make me so tired. They were so exhausting.”
All that changed for Sanabria when she made one major alteration to her training: doing interval running at the track.
Specifically, Sanabria has been diligently following endurance coach Chris Hinshaw’s Aerobic Capacity program since March 2016.
“The program I’ve been following is just twice a week—a lot of intervals and prescribed paces,” Sanabria said. As expected, her running has improved in recent months, but to her surprise, so has her muscular endurance and stamina in the gym, she said.
“We recently did a workout with wall balls, rowing and a lot of hang cleans. And I just don’t need to take as many breaks anymore. I just don’t get as taxed,” she said.
Even upper-body gymnastics movements are easier now, she said: “My pull-ups and toes-to-bar have gotten a lot better, too.”
How do running intervals improve someone’s pull-ups?
Hinshaw—the coach of CrossFit Inc.’s new Aerobic Capacity Course—explained: “Let’s say you’re doing ring dips. Eventually, you’ll become lactic in your muscles. The muscles start to fatigue one at a time. All that is actually happening is your body is trying to protect you.”
He added: “Eventually, the lactic acid will go down into your legs, and if your legs are developed aerobically, your ability to pull that lactate out of your system and process it as fuel has improved.”
Hinshaw revealed his elite athletes—including Rich Froning Jr., Mat Fraser, Katrin Tanja Davidsdottir and Camille Leblanc-Bazinet—have all had experiences similar to Sanabria’s.
“Camille (Leblanc-Bazinet) will tell you when she does muscle-ups and pull-ups, her work capacity goes up when her running improves,” Hinshaw said. “When your legs are developed aerobically, your ability to recover during other kinds of movements is also substantially improved.”
What Is Aerobic Capacity?
Micah Zuhl is a professor in the Department of Health Sciences at Central Michigan University, where he teaches exercisephysiology as well as exercise-stress classes.
Zuhl said what Hinshaw and his athletes have noticed makes a lot of sense. It comes down to improved aerobic capacity, Zuhl said, which he explained as simply a person’s ability to take in oxygen.
Specifically, when you are working at a high intensity, your body will start to emphasize non-aerobic energy systems, Zuhl explained. These systems use glycolysis to release energy and convert glucose into pyruvate, which is used for fuel in an aerobic pathway if enough oxygen is available. If oxygen is limited, pyruvate is converted to lactate.
Lactate can be used drive glucose breakdown, but only for a short time. After about 60-180 seconds of high-intensity anaerobic activity, lactate will start to build up in the muscles as a defense mechanism that increases muscle-cell acidity and prevents excessive exertion by limiting the ability to contract the muscle.
“When you’re more aerobically fit, you’ll be able to buffer the lactate (and resulting acidity) that builds up in the muscle more effectively,” Zuhl said.
In other words, you won’t become as acidic, and you’ll be able to continue to do movements such as pull-ups or ring dips longer.
Also consistent with Hinshaw’s observations, Zuhl confirmed that one of the best ways to improve aerobic capacity is through interval running: “If your aerobic system is more developed, this will help support the recovery of the muscle more effectively.”
He added: “With improved aerobic capacity comes improved recovery.”
When it comes to the best way to build an athlete’s aerobic capacity, Zuhl laughed and said: “That’s the magic question.”
A. “Team Tosh Sprints”
3 rounds for time:
*Partner 1 will run 200m, then Partner 2 will run 200m and so on.
**40 Min Cap