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“Running Strong”

July 30, 2012

Great post from my friend and running partner Tom Glen of Patriot Crossfit in Arlington, Va. I often hear from endurance friends that they dont want to lift because they dont want to get too big. Tom presents some very interesting thoughts on the subject.


Posted by Tom G. on July 27, 2012 · Leave a Comment


CrossFit blogs, scientific studies, and the fitness community are heavy with articles that are slowly opening the world’s eyes to the fact that a pound does not equal a pound.  We as CrossFitters understand that the almighty scale, while an indicator, is not the truest nor sole indicator of our health.  We measure our waistlines, compare past and present clothing sizes, and even take photos to measure progress.

The running community, however, remains skeptical.  Sure, running isn’t a fitness program (I’m going to catch some heat for that one); it’s a speciality program.  So, to the runners out there that think CrossFit isn’t for them, I say: “first,read this.”

Okay, maybe you buy those points and are now committed to mobility, technique, nutrition, and are even working to improve your core strength.  Great! You’re off to a good start.  Though, the fear still remains … “Lifting heavy weights will make me too bulky.  I need to stay small to run fast.”  I’m a marathoner, do I want to carry 170lbs or 190lbs for 26.2 miles?  The answer, on the surface, seems logical.  In reality, however, it depends.

Consider this analogy:  I challenge you to a race in which we will select our own vehicles.  You have two choices … Camaro or Mini-Cooper.  Which do you choose?

The Mini is lighter, but I’m pretty sure you landed on Camaro.  Why?  The Camaro is heavy in all the right places, i.e. the engine.  Your body is no different.  If you want to run faster and injury free, there is great value in building your engine.

Do you need to squat 500lbs? No.  To a point, just as in CrossFit, there are diminishing returns to getting stronger.  A big fat power lifter likely can’t run a mile, let alone a marathon.  However, if your background is long slow distance running, I suspect that isn’t your problem and never will be.  Today, I squat twice my body weight, weigh 20lbs more than what I previously thought to be my ideal race weight, and have PR’d my last two marathons.  If you still don’t believe me, try it.  Worst case scenario, you at least look better naked.

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