Endurance is the most overlooked skill for 90% of all CrossFit athletes. Most (if not all) athletes in the upper echelon of the competition spectrum will agree with this. My goal as an endurance coach is to help the 90% achieve endurance that they need in order to meet their personal goals- whether it be placing higher in the open or on the podium at the CrossFit Games.
Endurance is a skill that takes planning. (As an individual athlete, I always plan 12 – 18 months ahead.) This is because when you realize you need to improve your endurance, it’s too late to do much about it. Because of this, athletes need to be working on their endurance base in the off-season to develop the foundation for more specific training as the Open and competition season approaches. This need is why we have developed a year-long overview of how our Power & Grace Endurance programming fits into your world as an athlete.
The season is broken down into three basic seasons:
- Off-Season. This season runs from the end of the Open in March to the end of August. The off-season is actually the on-season for building endurance. Each athlete will go through a progression that has them running 3-4 days a week and 10 – 20 miles per week. There is a minimal focus on speed in the off-season. The primary goal is to force your body to move for a set distance or time.
This season is the best time to take a step back and go back to the basics. This is best accomplished by first building a cardiorespiratory endurance base that will help an athlete be able to handle more strength and conditioning training in the pre-season. The off season is also the best time for an athlete to revisit their running and rowing form. This is because improving overall efficiency in the movement will allow for greater output when competition season arrives.
Power and Grace uses running as the primary source of this endurance conditioning because it is the most efficient and accessible tool.
Last, building a base for endurance conditioning is the best way to prevent injury during higher intensity training. These lower intensity workouts are great for developing tendon strength and overuse injuries that plague CrossFitters.
- Pre-Season. This season runs from the beginning of September to the end of November. This is where speed/pacing becomes more important. Athletes will run 2-3 days a week and 7-15 miles per week. However, the long runs will get longer and speed will play a major role. Weighted vests will also play a larger role.
All of these more specific skills (distance, speed, and strength) are able to be added because of the base that was built in the off-season. You will have less volume, but higher intensity for each workout.
- Open Prep. This runs from the beginning of December to February/March (through the Open). This is the off-season for endurance. Our goal in this season is to not overload your body and to recover from high-intensity training. Athletes will run, bike, and or row 1-3 days a week at slow paces for moderate distances. Running will still be the primary movement, but we understand running outside in the winter isn’t always an option so there will be rower/bike options each day. Overall weekly mileage will be 3 – 7 miles a week.
Follow this plan in order to put yourself in the best position possible to succeed when competition season rolls around. Like what you hear? Sign up on the Wodfollow Marketplace.
(Keep in mind this schedule is designed for the 99% of athletes who don’t make it to Regionals and the Games. All Games and Regionals athletes get personalized and specific instruction on how to modify their seasons.)