News / February 8, 2013

The Good, The Bad, and the Pukey, Week 1: Technique & Baseline Numbers

Everything hurts. Every muscle from my calves to my neck feels like it’s been tied into a knot and stretched tight. Only eleven more weeks to go.

According to the official website,, Crossfit Endurance aims to eliminate unnecessary volume from endurance training. Instead of 50-plus mile weeks of running, CFE incorporates short, high intensity runs, and short, brutal, high-intensity body weight, plyometric and olympic exercises designed to built up the anaerobic as well as aerobic proficiency, making one a better all-around athlete as well as an efficient endurance athlete.

Besides the fact that I get to lift weights (an early passion that I’ve long neglected since becoming  runner), I’m very intrigued at the thought of building up endurance without having to go through hundreds of knee-grinding miles to train for a run. This could change the game for trail runners with iffy joints, especially heavier runners such as yours truly. So the big question is: Can you actually train for an endurance race without putting in triple digit numbers of road/trail miles?

Let’s find out together.

I’m training with certified CFE trainer Daniel Gallagher at Jefferson State Crossfit, and he’s not taking it easy on me. This week we started out by working on my form and getting some baseline numbers. This is what we’re working with:

Starting body weight: 182lb.

1 Rep Max (RM) Squat: 255lb.

1RM Shoulder Press: 125lb.

1RM Deadlift: 365lb.

Monday entailed 7 minutes of box jumps/burpees (ten reps of each, then nine, then eight, down to one). After the squats. Tuesday was homework (112 burpees in 7 minutes). Wednesday was Helen, which entailed three sets of a 400 meter run, 21 kettlebell swings, and 12 pullups, no rest. It’s just as painful as it sounds.

My face right after finishing “Helen.” Not pretty.

So I’ll be giving CFE a “run” for the next three months, learning more about it as I go, and taking you guys along for the ride with me. I’m planning on finishing this all off with a long-distance run at the end of April (maybe the Wildflower 50k) to see how well it all worked. Hopefully you’ll gain some new insights on this method, and maybe I won’t puke my guts out in front of the real crossfitters.


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Billy Brown
Billy Brown
has a hard time standing still. A few years ago he combined his passion for the active lifestyle with his love of toys and somehow made a job out of it as a journalist specializing in outdoor sports and adventure travel. An avid runner, climber, crossfitter and snowboarder, he has tested gear around the world, from canyon running in Jordan to ice climbing in Chamonix. He writes for Outside Magazine, Men’s Health, Men’s Journal, Wired, and Backpacker. Contact him at

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