Improving Running v. Improving Speed

Most people want to get better at running, especially competitive CrossFitters. But the problem many competitors have is that they want to get faster at running and simply ask “How can I get faster at running?” This is the wrong question to ask.

Ask yourself how you can get BETTER at running. Running is like all other movements, there is a component of form, skill, speed and conditioning. Speed is one small part of running that is nearly impossible to improve when focusing on that alone.

Instead of pure speed, think of how running fits into your goals. In CrossFit running is coupled with some other movement 99% of the time. It’s no secret that programmers use running to get an athlete tired before sending them through the real competitive test. Thus, if you only improve speed, you can be the first person to the movement after the run, but that doesn’t matter if your hands are on your knees when you get there.

Work on running like you do conditioning on all other movements. That’s why our Endurance program prescribes set paces and set rest periods. Just like training your body to work faster we can train it to recover faster. I argue that recovery ability is the greatest factor of running in CrossFit.

Long-story-short: when you think about getting “better” at running remember to focus on all aspects of running, not just speed.