No, I’m not talking about the psychedelic drug! Although, I don’t endorse that either.
I mean the old staple of endurance training, the Long Slow Distance run.
Wikipedia says LSD is “continuous training performed at a constant pace of low to moderate intensity over an extended distance or duration”. People in the paleosphere often call it Chronic Cardio. When I started training for marathons years ago, the LSD was always the main part of any training plan I followed. …when I wasn’t hurt. That’s how I trained for my first three marathons, and it always got me to the finish line…when I wasn’t hurt.
Then four years ago I found CrossFit (ironically, through a running buddy!) and suddenly running seemed SO boring. But I still wanted to run another marathon because I had finally gotten a spot in the New York City Marathon. Then, I learned about Crossfit Endurance.
In Crossift Endurance, the main part of your training consists of CrossFit classes, 3-4 times a week and you supplement that training with high-intensity running intervals and time trials.
In practice, I was going to CrossFit in the mornings and doing a quick after-work track workout twice during the week, usually running a race on the weekend. The long runs (time trials) typically only go up to about 13 miles, so I did a whole bunch of half marathons.
The first time I trained this way, I ran a 20-miler mostly to try out my new race-day fuel. The NYC marathon never happened that year because of Hurricane Sandy, but I got into the Philly Marathon instead, and set a 12-minute PR.
This summer I trained for my second marathon using Crossfit Endurance. My longest run was the Around Cape Ann 25K race. 25K is only15.5 miles.
So what happened when I spent so much less time running and more time squatting, deadlifting, snatching, doing pull-ups and double unders…? Well, I still finished my marathons. Only I did it faster and without injuries. And I had a lot more fun training!
Take a look. Here’s a comparison of my weekly and total mileage from the last few marathons:
I’m not saying the traditional training doesn’t work – it obviously does! But if you, too, are starting to think chronic cardio may not be the best thing for your health or you’d rather spend your time doing other things, there is another way.