10 Reasons CrossFit Coaches Oppose Running

By t. | In Articles, Training | on September 27, 2013

inov8-2Running and endurance work has many proven training benefits.  So why are so many CrossFit and S&C coaches adamantly against it?  With thorough and careful study, I compiled this ironic list to better identify the reasons our community recommends avoiding endurance activities.

1.  You can’t wear a weight lifting belt.  Duh… we wear lifting belts for F’ing everything!

2.  You can’t wear Reebok crossfitting, rope climbing, box jumping, oly lifting, muscle-upping hybrid shoes.  Running shoes are boring…  even though they are available in more ridiculous color schemes than anything Reebok makes.  You’d think CrossFitters would love them!

3.  It doesn’t tear your hands.  Runners have been getting blisters for a long time…  who cares?  Bloody hands are way cooler and it makes you feel like a Navy Seal to rip a callous.

4.  Running on a treadmill or spinning on a stationary cycle is stupid…  you don’t go anywhere.  C2s and Airdynes are awesome!

5.  Running causes repetitive use injuries.  But make sure you don’t miss your mobility classes and foam roll…  it’s thrusters and push presses and jerks and muscle ups after burpees again tomorrow.

6.  Running breeds cowardice.  Not everyone runs away from the fight.  Luckily, enduring a tough, 10 minute CrossFit workout makes everyone feel like they could be a Green Beret.

7.  Steady state endurance work is boring.  This is America and even though CrossFitters are not sheep and are better than most Americans we still want more for doing less…  like an American.  If a 15 minute amrap of some “touch and goes” won’t do it, I’ll put on my flat bill hat and eat a paleo snack.

8.  Running makes you weak.  The last thing we would want is to compromise our big numbers.  That 215lbs Snatch is badass.  It’s almost as much as Natalie Burgener did at 133lbs BW.  If you’ve not noticed, the CrossFit Games is an endurance event full of little endurance events.  Falling apart on the last day of competition because you’ve never done anything longer than a 15 minute amrap is sad.

9.  Running breaks down muscle.  If you’d ever done both, you might know more about how to program them both concurrently, manage diet to offset the increase in volume, and supplement to fully aid recovery athletes can develop strength and endurance at the same time.  That’s way complicated… it’s easier to just follow Outlaw.

10.  Running makes you fat.  There are no fat CrossFitters… some are just carbing up on sweet potatoes.  The 2014 Games are right around corner!

Disguise running by programming it like this:   AMRAP in 30 minutes – Forward moving alternating  foot to grounds.

It is possible to develop endurance and strength concurrently.  It takes careful management of programming so not to overtrain and under recover.  Anything done too much too often is not good for you.  That goes for running and any other training.  The benefits of a good endurance base for the general and competitive CrossFitter far outweigh the costs of the endurance training itself.  The problems linked to running are from excessive amounts of running.  Making general statements that running causes injury or makes people fat is ignorant and displays a coach’s laziness and unwillingness to set the example for his or her clients.



11 Comments to "10 Reasons CrossFit Coaches Oppose Running"

  • Steven James says:

    September 27, 2013 at 7:03 am -

    It depends on how you define running. If you’re referring to jogging and other cardio then yes I agree. But if you extend this to sprints/hill sprints. This article is completely false. Sprints are great ways to work out your legs in addition to conditioning. Look at all the great running backs Herschel Walker, Adrian Peterson do they look weak?

    Bottom line is stay away from jogging and sprints instead.

    1. Andrew says:

      September 27, 2013 at 8:53 am -

      Or Steven, you could attempt to expand on your programming knowledge/experience and go by something other than the tired idea that sprinting cures cancer and LISS work has no place in training. Hint, both statements are false.

  • Andrew Smith says:

    September 27, 2013 at 9:29 am -

    Original comment seems to have never posted.

    To Steven: Stay away from jogging? Great mass recommendation for everyone…how about expanding on your knowledge base/experience and work yourself away from the sprints cure cancer and jogging has no place in a proper training split ideology. Hint…neither statements are true.

  • Amanda W says:

    September 27, 2013 at 9:42 am -

    If we can’t make fun of ourselves, who will? Oh yeah, T will. T will always make fun. Of me. Or anyone. :)

  • Gene says:

    September 27, 2013 at 10:00 am -

    Running is for wimps

  • Taylor says:

    September 27, 2013 at 10:38 am -

    Did Bruce Lee run? If he did, then I’m going to.

  • t. says:

    September 27, 2013 at 5:10 pm -

    Steven, I don’t think you caught onto my sarcasm. The reasons I listed are many of those I hear from within the CrossFit and Strength & (lack of) Condition communities. I think each are absurd and based on ignorant perspectives. A responsible fitness coach doesn’t purvey his/her own personal views as scientific fact. They provide the best training programs to help their clients reach their goals… that’s the client’s, not the coach’s, goals. Aside from the competitive pure strength athlete, I cannot think of a single athlete, much less the average fitness buff, that cannot benefit from increasing their work capacity in the oxidative threshold.

    So yeah, we need to be made fun of… we are funny. So many CrossFitters make ridiculous claims about endurance work not having any benefits. It is true only doing LSD training is not completely healthy, it leads to muscle wasting (natural adaptation), oxidative stress, elevated cortisol, repetitive use injury and so on, but a poorly designed CrossFit program can do all the above too. I find in most cases, the coaches that say long slow distance is completely bad and we should “just do sprints” know little about endurance and only give lip service to sprint work anyway.

    I do, however, enjoy slogans like “if you run, you’ll only die tired” or “strong people are harder to kill”. They make me laugh. Let’s face it… a person who can cover a lot of distance in a short time is hard to catch and therefore more difficult to expunge and strength does nothing to make you less apt to being dispatched.

    In a soon to come article, I’ll address the benefits of training the aerobic system for the CrossFit athlete. It’ll be fun.

  • Nick W. says:

    September 27, 2013 at 5:57 pm -

    T man, I haven’t been at that gym since I left the school house, but I love getting back to your page every once in a while and seeing what yall are up to. I like your common sense approach. Keep it up.

  • Gloria says:

    September 27, 2013 at 8:07 pm -

    BAHAHAHAHA! I do crossfit so I don’t have to run 😉

  • Brock Wilson says:

    September 27, 2013 at 8:56 pm -

    HAHA. Many got some LOLZ, but this was my favorite: “Running on a treadmill or spinning on a stationary cycle is stupid… you don’t go anywhere. C2s and Airdynes are awesome!”

    my 2c: I dislike running, and am fair to middling at it on a good day, but it is undeniably functional. Much of what is commonly in the CF toolbox is valid in one aspect of fitness or another, but it’s hard to make the case for the functional transfer of the C2 and the Bike With Handles (both of which we have at CFCB). They’re basically good for oxogen uptake/vo2 stuff and making people suffer, but I’m forced to stretch to extremes to find a real-life scenario where ill be biking and handle pushing my darndest, and be thankful for all those airdyne sessions. Running is SO fundamental to human movement that id say regardless of how impressive your squat/deadlift/Fran Time/BodyFat% etc etc may be, if you dont have a bare minimum of running capacity, you cant claim to be “Fit” in any reasonable sense of the word!

  • pedrina says:

    September 29, 2013 at 9:14 am -

    Ok Tony this was funny! I live for good sarcasm! BTW when i rip my hands i feel more like a green beret than a navy seal :)