Wanna Go Longer…Go Faster

Apr 21st, 2008

Wanna Go Longer…Go Faster


A picture of Sara Hall, an aspiring US miler, from the NY Times

(Thanks to CFOer Carlo C for passing along this article.)

Interval training–a la CrossFit–got another nice piece of validation in the mainstream press in a recent article on US miler Sara Hall.

The gist: push the intensity levels high in your training no matter what your distance. In other words, results won’t come through settling into a comfortable pace.

The article is nice because it delves into mechanics, training, and recovery. We could lay this template over anything we do in CrossFit, whether it’s running, performing a back squat, or doing Helen.

I highly recommend reading the full article here.

Post to comments any insights or thoughts you have after reading the article.

DISCUSSION 13 Comments

  1. Jonathan April 21, 2008 at 4:24 am

    uh, the video on that article is proof that running is evil. she doesn’t look very healthy. all skin and bones. this vindicates my hatred of running :) thanks for posting. i can go on with my life hating to run.

  2. james p April 21, 2008 at 5:04 am

    I found the section on recovery particularly interesting. At this early stage of my crossfit experience, I find myself coming to workouts still sore from the last more often than not.

    But Mahon, at least, believes ice baths are helpful in reducing swelling and soreness in his athletes, allowing them to return for another interval session within only a day or two. (Most sports medicine doctors suggest waiting until any significant muscle soreness is gone before repeating a hard workout.)

    Picking up a 10 lb bag of ice on my way home from a workout is probably not going to happen (although I’m almost tempted to try it at least once), but that aside, should I be laying off the workouts when I’m sore? What exactly is considered “significant muscle soreness”?

  3. Lau April 21, 2008 at 4:39 pm

    Ray you are a beast

  4. TomC April 21, 2008 at 5:47 pm

    I think Rob Wolf is also an advocate of a “cold plunge” to aid in recovery, although I never read his reasoning for it. I have a feeling that an ice bath is probably far more painful than most of the things we do in CrossFit. I’d also be concerned about hypothermia and blood flow to hands and feet, although I may be overly-conservative about that.

    should I be laying off the workouts when I’m sore? What exactly is considered “significant muscle soreness”?

    The answer is maybe, although Mike may want to chime in. If you wait until you are not sore to workout again, then you probably will not progress very quickly. Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) may be caused by hypertrophy, although I think the exact cause of DOMS has not been conclusively identified. If you are so sore that you feel like you can’t workout, then rest may be in order. If you are kinda sore, chances are that you can train again provided you properly warm up.

    James, I am psyched to see someone else utilizing blockquotes. Just for Mike’s benefit:

    Ice cream

  5. TomC April 21, 2008 at 6:00 pm

    she doesn’t look very healthy. all skin and bones. this vindicates my hatred of running :)

    I have to agree with you here. She’s impressively lean and I would love to be able run as fast as she does, but she doesn’t carry a lot of muscle tissue. I wonder what her deadlift is?

    Jonathan, you should look up Brian MacKenzie. He’s a POSE running coach that does…shudder…ultra marathons. He and his wife do the CrossFit endurance certs, I think. He’s pretty strong and trains CrossFit workouts. Brian’s weekly mileage is about 1/2 to 1/3 of Sarah’s training, yet he does much longer races. Running isn’t all bad. People training for the Olympics often sacrifice their health for excellence in their sports.

  6. Mike Minium April 21, 2008 at 6:27 pm

    Yeah, but Jonathan, there’s running and then there’s running.

    A lot of the training effect of running will have to do with volume, distance, etc. Not unlike weightlifting.

    And James, I think TomC’s advice is good. You’ll likely be sore in a lot of these workouts. But as long as the pain is confined to muscle soreness, and is not so bad that you can’t go, I say go for it.

    TomC is a funny guy, by the way.

  7. Mike Minium April 21, 2008 at 7:01 pm

    Brad Gi,

    Just an FYI…I responded to your question from a couple days ago (on muted hip function) in that thread.

  8. Nabil April 21, 2008 at 7:35 pm

    Lots of people swear by the ice bath for recovery, but it hasn’t been scientifically proven to work. I’ll use an ice bath immediately after I run for more than 12 miles or if I bike for longer than 3 hours and it seems to speed the recovery process. However, leg soreness from doing heavy squats or even some high intensity stuff like Fran will probably not see any benefit from an ice bath. A workout like Murph may benefit from an ice bath,.. .really the best thing to do is just try it and see if it works for you. It definitely sucks the first couple of times but you get used to it. Just make sure the water is at most 56 degrees and you stay in it for 7-10 minutes. For leg soreness there’s no need to fill the tub more than what will go to your waist while seated. If your chest or shoulders are sore I wouldn’t recommend using an ice bath b/c you would have to submerge yourself up to your neck in really cold water and you would probably die.

  9. Brandon April 21, 2008 at 9:30 pm

    “…you would probably die.” F’ing genius.

  10. jp April 21, 2008 at 10:26 pm

    “and you would probably die.”

    That’s if Brandon hasn’t already killed you.

  11. Jonathan April 22, 2008 at 12:56 am

    obviously running isn’t all bad. like when I was a teenager and had to run from the cops for various reasons. running was absolutely necessary then. Or when you have to run from some guy because you just lit a bag of sh*t on fire on his porch and rang the doorbell. Or when I was a teenager back in Pennsylvania and we had to entertain ourselves by throwing cow-feed corn and buckeyes at houses with aluminum siding. All excellent reasons to run. The best was when you trick-or-treat and someone gave you an apple or some other lame thing and you waited until the second they closed their door and then “corned” their house. good times. :)

  12. Allen April 22, 2008 at 5:27 am

    I have never used an ice bath but I believe the primary benefit would be reducing inflammation caused by microtrauma to the muscle tissue incurred in training. (I’ve also never run more than 6 miles or so, so I’m hardly the authority on distance training.) Ice has been proven to reduce inflammation and speed healing, which is generally seen as a good thing. So it’s not much of a leap to assume that ice baths would help speed recovery after a long hard run, bike ride, etc.

    Nabil’s post makes sense to me since long duration high intensity training would probably be more likely to cause signigicant inflammation than short duration high intensity workouts like Fran or heavy squats, etc.

    Another probable side effect of ice baths that you may want to consider: shrinkage. Just thought I’d throw that out there and frankly I’m surprised no one brought it up till now.

    There are tons of great ice bath videos on youtube…here is a guy trying to set the ice bath world record (72 minutes, up to his neck!)

    this one may be more enjoyable though: