I knew a woman who, as a young girl, was raised in a particular religion and with that religion came dogmatic beliefs. When walking down the street in her hometown her mother instructed this young lady she was not allowed to look into the local church of a different religion. I know a lot of people, including triathletes, who treat CrossFit the same way. In discussions with athletes the word “cultish” often comes up. Many make the decision to stay away and not even go to their local box to see what, if anything, they could possibly gain from the experience.
Back to the idea of cultish, really? You mean more than training 15+ hours a week in three disciplines along with spending a small portion of your yearly income on running shoes, bike part upgrades, nutritional supplements, training and racing gear, etc. Really, cultish? By our very nature we have the tendency to condemn what we do not know and fail to take the time to understand.
So, I feel compelled to list ten reasons why you would want to incorporate CrossFit into your triathlon training:
1. Triathletes, by their very nature, live and die by the clock. If that is the case, you will love the CrossFit WOD (workout of the day). They are measurable.
2. It is a way of life. No different than tri training. It defines who you are.
3. It incorporates performance-based racing against the clock which is a great benchmark on overall performance, increased strength, flexibility, power, coordination, agility, accuracy, balance, stamina and, yes, speed!
4. You are part of a tribe. Fellow triathletes have this connection, a sense of community and kinship; a group of people who set achievable goals, compete and complete some incredible personal transformations.
5. It takes your regiment “out of the box.” You become that “weird” triathlete who now is incorporating shorter more high intensity workouts to your weekly training plan.
6. CrossFit endurance takes your daily and weekly training out of the routine by adding a considerable amount of variance.
7. CrossFit by its very nature helps to create a strong core and midline stability and, the last time I checked, everything we do initiates at the midline.
8. This is interval training at its best. CrossFit has adapted the principles established by Dr. Stephen Seiler on interval training and its necessity to help to maximize one’s endurance base. “The first wave is increased maximal oxygen consumption. The second is increased lactate threshold; and, the third is increased efficiency.”
9. The essence of triathlon training as in CrossFit training is somewhat identical. Both are looking for improvements in endurance, stamina, strength and flexibility which simply come through training. And, training by its definition, is improving performance through a measurable organic change to the body.
10. There must be something to this CrossFit endurance training because it is getting a ton of press from the triathlon publications. Good, bad or indifferent, live life on the “weird side” and go check it out. What is the worst that can happen; you simply get in the best shape of your life!