Do you ever have that workout which is the just the right amount of make-you-want-to-vomit tough, but you surprised yourself in how strong you felt and therefore, it’s your new favorite workout? If you haven’t, you’re missing out!
Tuesday’s endurance class is always an ass kicking for me, with exception to our recovery Nuun-tini infused night. I generally need a day (or two) off afterwards and it always puts my weaknesses into perspective. This week I actually took a class the day before where I focused on shoulder presses, shoulder push presses, and push jerks. To say my upper body was tired at the start of the class on Tuesday is an understatement.
A typical class (endurance based or regular CrossFit) involves warming up actively, followed by some sort of technique, and finally the workout. It was beautiful outside, so we took a box out in front and worked on triple flexion as well as power and explosion after warming-up.
We started with drop squats with a jump. Then moving to the box, with one leg up on the box and the other on the ground, we pushed through using our glutes and triple extended to the top with a slight hop. It was tough to generate the power necessary to explode, rather than using my quads and glutes to just lift up. Afterwards, we did something similar to a sideways skater/skier movement. Hopping laterally, you push off and stick the landing in an athletic stance. We repeated those last two movements a few times before starting our workout.
Chris had already warned us that the workout was going to be tough and take twice as long as what the class opposing us was doing. My hip was a little crabby after the technique exercises, but nothing to be officially concerned about. I took a mental note to listen to my body during the sets and stop if it became worrisome.
Hearing about the workout in full made me grimace: 800m run, 5 renegade rows with kettlebells for each side, and 3 kettlebell thrusters each side. Oh, and repeat it four times.
The regular CrossFit class started their workout with an 800m run as well, so we all started together to use the same clock time. Due to the gym being in the west side of Buffalo with awkward length city blocks, we had to run 4 lengths of the street to equal about 400m. Three 180 degree turns kind of puts a dent in your momentum, you know?
The first set I felt good and surprisingly fast. Maybe it was the new sneakers (thanks Saucony and Competitor Group), maybe it was the couple of kids sticking their hands out for high fives as we passed, or maybe I just honestly felt good. Since most of the general gym members loathe running, I found myself feeling even faster as I was passing people. They school me in the gym with the weights, so I didn’t feel too bad passing the guys.
The renegade rows, which I did in a hip hinge rather than a plank and the thrusters took much less time than I anticipated. I’d estimate that each weight session probably took 1:30 from the time I walked to my weights, completed the sets, and then started my run again.
While each set got progressively slower, I never felt exhausted. More kids began to come into the street trying to get high fives. Their parents were telling them to come inside and “really scrub their hands clean” after touching us. Excuse me, ma’am, but your child has chocolate or dirt covering their body. I’m going to wash my hands! It was really cute though — they were at the age to be excited about the interaction and so curious about what we were doing. Plus, they’re young enough to not be influenced by any of the riff raff they might live around.
Despite working upper body hard yesterday and my triceps and shoulders burning, I was able to accomplish each set feeling pretty strong. The only set back was sweaty hands making me nervous when I hoisted the kettlebell over my head. The last thing I want is a concussion!
On my final set, I picked it up the running a little more. One punk (affectionately calling him such) was on his bike and told me to go faster, then tried to race me. I considered truly racing him but I did notice my hip a little more and didn’t want to risk anything. The few kids that were still outside I waved and said good-night to, as I finished my last 100m with a sprint to finish.
Officially, my time was 21:06. I assume I spent about 6-7 minutes doing the strength portion, which means my runs averaged 7:30 pace. I think I could have pushed it harder on the run but it’s difficult to anticipate what type of effort I should put forth when there is a strength component involved. My first set approached “need a break, now!” status, my next three didn’t quite get to that same level. You live and learn.
When I finished, I felt strong. I was tired, but my legs overall felt ready to start training again. It was a freeing feeling I haven’t experienced in quite a few weeks. Excitement to train again? Legs feeling ready? It’s been a while. I don’t remember the last time I ran fast and felt good about it. It leaves me excited for my upcoming 5k’s in the next few weeks.
Unfortunately, my hip is a little irritated again so I need to figure that out. While it feels less like an injury and more like an imbalance I need to address, it does concern me a little. I do have a massage coming up which I hope can help, but if continues to feel like my hips are uneven, I’m going to a chiropractor and as a last resort, I’ll get it check out by my PT. It was doing very well the past 3-4 days so I think the hard effort put a little too much strain on.
It’s not often I post individual workouts, but this one really struck me as the turning point. It was a workout that I finally felt like I excelled at and it was incredibly motivating to complete. Instead of feeling like just another Tuesday, it made me ready to move forward and look towards the current long-term goal: #ChiMarathon.
Have you ever incorporated a strength component to a running workout?