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Why runners should try CrossFit

Matt Hewett track

CrossFit is taking off like wildfire, and many runners are hopping on the CrossFit train as well. How can CrossFit benefit you as a runner? Are there any risks of CrossFit for runners? We take a look at CrossFit with the help of Swiftwick athlete Matt Hewett.

Why is CrossFit a good complement to running?

CrossFit exercises involve your whole body rather than isolated muscle groups, which strengthens from head to toes and makes you a better runner, says marathoner and CrossFit instructor Shirley Brown of CrossFit L.A, as quoted by CrossFit combines power lifting, strength training, and gymnastic training, all of which benefit the fast-twitch muscles used for sprinting and slow-twitch muscles used for long distance, Lee adds. Working your entire body will also help you lose overall body fat, which may increase endurance and speed and also help you maintain proper form during runs and therefore avoid injury.

Another benefit? CrossFit helps prevent those dreaded workout plateaus so you’ll actually be excited to work out. “CrossFit forces you to do things you would have never done before and to push yourself in a way that you thought you had pushed yourself,” Lee says.

 The CrossFit prescription is “constantly varied, functional movement, performed at high intensity.” CrossFit combines functional movements from many different aspects of fitness. Some include gymnastics, Olympic weight lifting, and power lifting.

Are there any risks of trying CrossFit as a runner?

As with any exercise, runners participating in CrossFit should do it in moderation. Make sure you are always listening to your body and slowing down if necessary. Knowing you need to hang back in a race is not the same as giving up.

Is CrossFit for me?

Before trying Crossfit, you need to evaluate your goals. CrossFit will definitely build your power and speed for short distance races like 5ks and 10ks. The same could potentially be said for running a half, but limiting the classes to once or twice a week is probably best. During a CrossFit workout, you are pushing yourself to the absolute limits, and you will (and should be) tired that day and even into the next. This would be mean that you wouldn’t be running on “fresh” legs, which could be a disadvantage.

But honestly, it’s really all about what works for you.

Ready to try? Here’s a workout from a pro!

Crossfit Champion Matt Hewett shars one of his favorite workouts with Wick Nation.


Matt Hewett demonstrates a proper pullup for the Half Cindy

Half “Cindy”

  • 10 minutes of as many rounds as possible (AMRAP)
  • 5 pull-ups
  • 10 push-ups
  • 15 body weight squats

Ways to scale the workout if you are not able to do strict or kipping pull-ups is to use a band for assistance.

Matt Hewett is a world champion CrossFit athlete. We are excited to have Matt as part of the Swiftwick athlete team! Visit Matt on Instagram to see more of his CrossFit adventures.

What do you think? Is CrossFit a good complement to running? Would you be willing to try it?

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