Are You Running Too Much?
Written by Nuno Costa

If you are training for an endurance event, it’s more than likely you’ve had the thought that you are not doing enough. This is super common in the endurance community and as a matter of fact, I call it the “more is not better trap”. I am a big fan of better is better – emphasizing quality over quantity when it comes to training volume.

As the distances get longer for the event you are training for – there is a higher tendency to want to do more and there’s more often that nagging feeling like you are not doing enough. But no matter how much you do, that never seems to go away. It doesn’t ever seem like endurance athletes go into a race feeling confident their training fully prepared them.

The Writing on the Wall: You’re Doing too Much if…

There are some clear signs that you are doing too much – if your body starts to break down, more than likely you are doing too much. If you start getting slower and it’s taking you longer to recover from your training, you are probably doing too much. If your performance in the gym is not continuing to improve, you are probably doing too much.

Using the CrossFit Methodology for Endurance Training

CrossFit changed the way people trained for health and fitness! No longer were people spending 2-3 hours in a globo gym moving from machine to machine. Doing constantly varied, functional movements at high intensity taking hour long classes gets some great results.

Now let’s take a similar approach to endurance training – instead of putting on a lot of junk miles, let’s train with a purpose. Make every training session mean something – specific targets based on their goal.

Back in the day, CrossFit Endurance proposed a new method of training for endurance events. The baseline being 3-5 CrossFit workouts per week giving you a strong strength and conditioning foundation that would carry over to your sport-specific training and supplementing it with 2-3 sport-specific weekly workouts. This would definitely get a little trickier if you are training for a triathlon where you have to manage three sports on top of doing CrossFit. It can be done, and not only have I done it personally for a variety of events, but I have had the opportunity to coach athletes over the years accordingly.

But let’s get back on track to what we want to discuss here. Your body is the best indicator of how your training is going and whether you are doing too much or not. Most of us though, may not be well in tune with how it’s responding until its too late. Instead of listening to our body, we listen to our mind – and our mind will tell us to do more most of the time.

How to “Do Less” Better

Let’s take a half marathon for example – my suggestion would be to start with CrossFit and let that give you a strong baseline of fitness, see if you can be consistent 3-5 times a week. Then add in your running 2-3 times a week. You should take at least one full day off per week and if you need it more – take more.

Again, listen to the warning signs mentioned above about how you are responding to the training and allow the results to dictate when to do more and when to do less. An endurance event will be more of a mental battle than a physical challenge most of the time – it’s a matter of how you handle what goes on between your ears during the time you are out on the course.

As you train for this half marathon, make sure your sessions are focused on intensity: short or long intervals and tempo/time trial efforts to build your stamina. For more on this, please feel free to contact me directly – and be sure to check out our Invictus Endurance online training program.