Last weekend I completed a two-day CrossFit Endurance seminar in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. I wanted to write a recap to provide an overview of the seminar to anyone who might be interested in attending one as well as to share my experience with readers because it was an interesting two days! This will be a general overview of the seminar. I will get more in-depth on some of the topics we covered in future posts.
First up, what is CrossFit Endurance? From the main site…
“CrossFit Endurance is an endurance sports training program dedicated to improving performance, fitness and endurance sports potential. We inspire, coach, and provide our community with the most aggressive and proven fundamentals of sports science, exercise physiology, nutrition and athletic training protocols.
Power and speed are critical components to success in the endurance world. With careful planning, our strength and conditioning plan increases these two mainstays of performance while decreasing recovery time, reducing injury, promoting preservation of lean tissue and creating a more sustainable performance curve.
We focus on eliminating unnecessary volume of training while increasing intensity. Our programming is structured, sport-specific and seamlessly integrated with Olympic lifts, powerlifting, gymnastics movements, explosive activity and mobility-based support. Everything we do focuses on midline stabilization and working from the inside out.
Our strength and conditioning approach for endurance athletes is unparalleled. We incorporate the CrossFit fundamentals of being constantly varied. Repetition is the enemy and results in a decreased ability to build fitness.”
Honestly, this was about all I knew about CrossFit Endurance before going into the weekend. We arrived at CrossFit Hilton Head (the host site) just before 8 a.m. on Saturday. We kicked off the day with introductions and I I quickly learned that I was in very accomplished company. Our group of 29 was not only made up of hardcore “CrossFitters” but also accomplished triathletes, marathoners and a respectable number of Ironmen (and women!).
Our schedule for the day was posted on the white board. After introductions, we got right to work. Before they exposed us to any of the CrossFit Endurance techniques and tools, they captured video of us running. We ran 4 x 400 meters and were filmed on the last repeat so they could catch us once our form had become more normal and we weren’t trying so hard.
After the video, we discussed running mechanics and the preferred technique of CrossFit Endurance, Pose Running. (I’ll write a post with detail about this running technique later.) After discussing the ideas/principles behind it, we completed drills to begin to introduce our bodies to the technique.
And then it was back inside to review the videos of our running. One of the things I enjoyed learning most was how to analyze running mechanics. I definitely have a much better grasp on this and can’t wait to help out some of the athletes in our gym and friends with their running form. It was very interesting to watch myself run. My natural form wasn’t as bad as I anticipated. Honestly, I was hoping for a big “aha” with my running form and I didn’t really get that. It looked pretty okay and can be tightened up by working of a few small issues and by implementing the Pose method. The biggest things I learned are that I do not release my heel down when my foot strikes and this explains why my calfs get so tight and sore at high mileage and also my right foot externally rotates a bit and I have to get this corrected to take care of the pain I get in my right hip.
After the video review it was more Pose Running drills and then time for a lunch break. Eating with the group was rather interesting. We had quite a few people who were very dedicated to the Paleo diet. I don’t believe in pretending to be something that I’m not so I ate happily ate a turkey wrap guilt-free. I don’t adhere to the Paleo diet but I have been making an effort recently to amp up the amount of lean protein, veggies and fruit I eat and dial down the sugar, dairy and processed carbs. (I say that and then I definitely ate a cookie late night on Saturday…sometimes a girl just needs a treat! ;))
After lunch we talked about nutrition and race day fueling. It was my favorite lecture of the weekend and I have so much to share about what I learned. Stay tuned for a post (or several!) on this topic soon. Our trainer posted a list of recommended reading on the board. Born To Run and Omnivore’s Dilemma are two books that I have been meaning to read for a long time so I think I’ll have to finally make that happen.
The remainder of the afternoon was dedicated to more drills, talking about injury prevention and then finally a WOD (Workout of the Day). They kept us in anticipation all day and wouldn’t tell us what the WOD was. This continued throughout the warm-up and then they directed us to go outside in the parking lot where they finally shared the details. It was a partner WOD (meant to help us team build) so we were divided into groups of three. The workout was 12 minutes of burpees, a 200 meter run and rest. So while one partner did burpees, the second partner ran and the third rested and counted the burpee reps. You scored the total number of burpees your team completed in the 12 minutes. My team was so awesome and we knocked out 235 burpees!
The WOD was the perfect way to end the day. I was dripping in sweat and in dire need of a shower when we got back to the hotel.
We had a couple of hours of downtime and then headed out to the evening social. Our trainers told us it was one of the biggest turnouts they had ever seen. We had about 22 attend out of the 30 people in training. I really enjoyed getting to chat with everyone out of the gym in a casual setting. I slept really well on Saturday night after the long day of training and then our night out.
We arrived at 8 a.m. Sunday morning to find the day’s schedule posted on the board again. We started the morning with self myofascial release (SMR) which was perfect for our stiff/sore muscles. We used a lacrosse ball to roll out our feet and also did some work on our shoulders/lats. I thought the foam roller was painful but the lacrosse ball took it to a whole new level.
The bulk of the second day was focused on programming. We discussed everything from how to program a class to how to introduce CFE to endurance athletes who are wired to train one way (volume, volume, volume). Our trainers provided us with tons of back-up to help fight the mentality that more is always better. Personally, I learned a lot from this portion of the seminar. I am definitely guilty of the “must get my workout in” mentality sometimes and in truth it’s not just about getting it in but about the quality of the work you’re doing. CFE focuses on getting rid of the junk work that doesn’t do much for you and focusing on making workouts really count and have a purpose. What I also love is that they focus on recovery and stressed to us over and over the importance of getting enough sleep and allowing the body to recover from intense work.
We wrapped it up with a second video review. It was amazing to see how much the group’s running form had improved just one day after being introduced to Pose. Everyone made remarkable progress. We’re all on the way to running faster, stronger and more efficiently and armed with the tools and knowledge we need to share it with others.
I am very thankful that I had the opportunity to attend this seminar and I learned so much in just two days. I appreciated the high level of organization throughout the weekend. The lectures were informative but succinct, the drills were orderly and quick and it was the perfect balance of sitting and moving. Our trainers were knowledgable and clear experts in their field and had tons of personal experience to share with us. I would recommend this seminar to any endurance athlete or CrossFit enthusiast looking to improve on the endurance side of things.
Much thanks to our trainers Max and Paul! Sean and I are so excited about bringing this program to Metro Fitness Club!