Handstand Pushups are Stupid

Captain obvious has finally landed and crapped on me. Until this point, my ego has blinded me.

My box’s workout today was a hero WOD called JT:

For Time:
21-15-9 Reps
Handstand push-ups
Ring dips
Push-ups

It took me over year to get my first HSPUs so whenever HSPUs are in a workout, I feel obliged to attempt them and hopefully get better at the movement. And I know it’s dumb. The movement itself is dumb. Trying to do it as I approach 40 is dumb.

Everyone says so, the best CrossFit podcast in the world: The Wodcast Podcast (wodcastpodcast.com, @wodcastpodcast) is always railing against how stupid these fucking things are.

I’ve already pinched nerves in my neck three times in the past doing these things…

But today I sit at my desk not able to move my neck because I decided to do these stupid things.

I’m done with HSPUs.

That is all.

(any post is a good excuse to post the beautiful Alex Parker doing anything though)

A 5K Training Plan built on “Power Speed ENDURANCE” Principles

The first time I read Power Speed ENDURANCE: A Skill-Based Approach to Endurance Training by Brian MacKenzie was when I was a strict triathlete (AKA pre-CrossFit) and although the book was a good read – I hailed from the endurance camp known as long slow distance (LSD) so immediately dismissed the book as gimmicky. The book attempts to dismissed the notion that high training volume is needed to be a competitive endurance athlete, instead it stresses that intensity is key in much the same way as CrossFit does (I’m not sure of the history but Brian MacKenzie subsequently started CrossFit Endurance with these principles).  

Then I started doing CrossFit and began toying with the idea of trying CrossFit and triathlons at the same time.

That took me back to this book and reread it.

The book touches on almost every training aspect in the endurance world: strength, running, swimming, biking, and mobility teaching. Not just building a plan but attempting to teach each of them as a skill. As a former swimmer, this jives with the old notion that fitness is technique practiced.

The book isn’t crazy technical however and many hard core athletes may find it too basic but it provides a good foundation and some actionable items for each area to enhance everyone’s training.

Using this book and some templates I found online, I prepared the following workout plan to prepare a PR attempt at a 5K:

Week 1

Monday: WOD (here and with all the WODs below, I just used the class at my CrossFit and did the prescribed workout there so there was no correlation to the 5K goal)
Tuesday: 8 x 200m w/ 2 min rest…
Wednesday: WOD
Thursday: 2 x 800m w/ 3 min rest…
Friday: WOD
Sat or Sun: 5k Time Trial (TT)

Week 2

Monday: WOD
Tuesday: 10 x 200m w/ 2 min rest…
Wednesday: WOD
Thursday: 3-4 x 800m w/ 3 min rest…
Friday: WOD
Sat or Sun: 5k @ 85% of 5k TT pace from Week 1

Week 3

Monday: WOD
Tuesday: 10-12 x 200m w/ 90 sec rest…
Wednesday: WOD
Thursday: 4-5 x 800m w/ 2:30 rest…
Friday: WOD
Sat or Sun: 5 miles(M) @ 5k pace from Week 1

Week 4

Monday: WOD
Tuesday: 4 x 400m w/ 2 min rest…
Wednesday: WOD
Thursday: 3 x 1000m w/ 3 min rest…
Friday: WOD
Sat or Sun: 10k Time Trial (TT)

Week 5

Monday: WOD
Tuesday: 6 x 400m w/ 2 min rest…
Wednesday: WOD
Thursday: 6 x 800m TT’s w/ 5 min rest…(This means SPRINT!)
Friday: WOD
Sat or Sun: 5k @ 10k TT pace from Week 4

Week 6

Monday: WOD
Tuesday: 6 x 400m w/ 90 sec rest…
Wednesday: WOD
Thursday: 2 x 200m w/90 esc rest, 2 x 400m w/ 2 min rest, 2 x 1000m w/ 3 min rest
Friday: WOD
Sat or Sun: 7 mile (M) @ 10k TT pace from Week 4

Week 7

Monday: WOD
Tuesday: 6 x 400m w/ 90 sec rest…
Wednesday: WOD
Thursday: 4 x 1000m w/ 2-3 min rest…
Friday: WOD
Sat or Sun: 10 mile (M) Time Trial (TT)

Week 8

Monday: WOD
Tuesday: 4 x 200m w/ 60 sec rest, 4 x 400m w/ 90 sec rest…
Wednesday: WOD
Thursday: 4 x 4 min efforts w/ 3 min rest…
Friday: WOD
Sat or Sun: 5k @ 10 M TT pace from Week 7

Week 9

Monday: WOD
Tuesday: 6 x 400m TT’s…w/ 3-4min rest…(This means SPRINT!)
Wednesday: WOD
Thursday: 5 x 4 min efforts w/ 3 min rest…
Friday: WOD
Sat or Sun: 2 x 5k @ 90% of 5k TT pace from Week 1

Week 10

Monday: WOD
Tuesday: 8 x 300m w/ 60 sec rest…
Wednesday: WOD
Thursday: 3 x 1200m w/ 2-3 min rest…
Friday: WOD
Sat or Sun: 10k Time Trial (TT)

Week 11

Monday: WOD
Tuesday: 5 x 400m w/ 60 sec rest…
Wednesday: WOD
Thursday: 2 x 1 mile (M) w/ 5 min rest…
Friday: WOD
Sat or Sun: 3 x 5k @ 10k TT pace from Week 10 w/ 5-10 min rest…

Week 12

Monday: WOD
Tuesday: 6 x 400m w/ 60 sec rest…
Wednesday: WOD
Thursday: 3 x 1 mile (M) w/ 5 min rest…
Friday: Rest
Sat or Sun: 5k – 15k TT depending on length of upcoming event (test race day fuel sources if using any)

So how did it go? Mixed.

I missed the PR by about 1:30 (time realized was 19:40 verse a PR of 18:05) but there was some positives. 

Why didn’t I PR? The CrossFit.

Since beginning CrossFit and giving up my all-in training for triathlons, I’ve put on about 20 pounds. Let’s just say that’s all “muscle”, I honestly think that most of it is but it’s still weight that needs to be carried around and messes up your power to weight ratio. If you want to be truly competitive in the endurance world, sports specificity remains relevant as does keeping your weight low which, at least for me, it much harder while doing CrossFit. There is a quote by Tyler Hamilton in The Secret Race that to be more competitive, he would rather lose a pound than do EPO (a performance enhancing drug). I’m not sure if that is actually a fact but he believed it. 

On the plus (not talking weight here) side, I had a lot more fun going through the training program than doing purely running plans in the past. And at some point enjoyment of the training has to be a factor or it’s going to be impossible to stay with any plan. Also, what is the point? I’m not going pro at any of this so I want to have fun.

I don’t know if would use this method to really train for long course events but I think it’s a great plan for short races. I also messed around with a more informal plan that mixed in each triathlon discipline twice a week to train for a sprint tri. Again, I was somewhat disappointed by the results but the training was enjoyable.

After the CrossFit Open ends again I’m going to give this training plan another shot to get back into running shape and go from there.

Either way, read Power Speed ENDURANCE: A Skill-Based Approach to Endurance Training by Brian MacKenzie and get a different perspective on endurance training. Go to your local library and borrow it or if you prefer to waste money and own books, it can be purchased here from Amazon here (and that would help support this blog!).

 

Is the CrossFit Open a community building event or a games selection event?

 

Being a slightly above average CrossFitter for three years now, the CrossFit Open and I have a complicated relationship. It is has both been a source of motivation and frustration. The first year, it motivated me to do my first double thanks to the increased pressure of a competition and someone right there judging me. The second year, 2015, however the open was an extremely frustrating experience.

Due to complaints that some athletes who do well in the open fail to perform at those same levels at the regionals (because the open stresses low-skill high cardio movements whereas the regionals test high strength for shorter durations), CrossFit decided in 2015 to create two separate divisions, a scaled division for the everyday CrossFitter and a Rx division for the competitors hoping to make it to regionals.

What that took away from the Open was the feeling that every CrossFitter had a chance to compete against the top people to see where they stacked up. A lot of what I’ll call participation sports;  running, triathlons, weightlifting, jiujitsu (and the variations), cycling, rowing – sports where a majority of the revenue is derived from people actually participating in it, have some aspect of competitions or “opens” where even the beginner has a chance to compete against the pros.  

This is contrast to sports like baseball, football, basketball where a major of the revenue in comes from viewership (primarily through television dollars). In these sports the trend is not have a chance to compete against the top athletes and in most, it’s hard to even interact with them.

As of right now, a majority of the revenue generated seems to be generated from participation fees either by members joining affiliates (CrossFit is privately held so information is difficult to find but here is a good article on the speculated numbers) – funneled back to CrossFit HQ via affiliate fees or by paying to participate in CrossFit-like event.This would put in in the participation sports camp although it could be trying to build its future model after golf which seems to be squarely in the middle.

Why does it matter?

Participation sports growth is driven by the participants, they need to believe in the dream and sell it to other people (think about the endless stream of marathon stickers you see on the back of cars). If the CrossFit open becomes strictly a selection process for the regionals and therefore the games, it will begin the lose the appeal of the everyday CrossFitter and soon they will detach from the dream. When that happens, they will be a lot more likely to move to other dreams and take the growth with it.

So back to golf. For golf, the middle area seemed to work well for quite some time – namely during the rise of the Tiger Woods phenomenon. Tigers mass appeal (at least then) sparked growth for the sport for many years but with Tiger on the decline the story is less rosy. According this article by Forbes and many others, the sport is in a state of decline. And CrossFit does not have any decade long starts that it can hang its hat on. Rich Fronning is phasing out and the people behind him have not generated much star appeal. For CrossFit to hope for the golf model to pan out seems overly optimistic when it hasn’t even worked out for golf itself.

Random aside:

If you’re looking to relate this all back to business and money as well, you can read this piece on Inc.com called What Failing at the CrossFit Games Can Teach You About Success.