Box jumps increases explosive strength and stamina. (Runnersworld.com)

Box jumps increases explosive strength and stamina. (Runnersworld.com)

Devotees of the training regimen say you don’t need long runs to train for distance running

While you may not think CrossFit can benefit you as a runner, Brian MacKenzie, a power lifter turned ultraendurance athlete based in southern California, would beg to differ.

It’s not all about crazy lifting moves you couldn’t fathom performing. In fact, MacKenzie developed CrossFit Endurance, a training program that has cross-over appeal for endurance athletes to make them faster and stronger overall.

By mixing and matching three to four of the following CrossFit moves into your training routine—even just once a week—with the high-intensity intervals and endurance runs prescribed, and you’ll benefit as a runner.

High-intensity, short-interval runs build your top-end tolerance, while longer tempo runs and time trials improve aerobic endurance. (Runnersworld.com)

High-intensity, short-interval runs build your top-end tolerance, while longer tempo runs and time trials improve aerobic endurance. (Runnersworld.com)

According to Brian MacKenzie, a power lifter turned ultraendurance athlete based in southern California, to go long, you have to be strong.

To that end, MacKenzie, along with partner and two-time California state cycling champion Doug Katona, created CrossFit Endurance (CFE), a high-intensity, low-volume training plan that blends CrossFit conditioning (i.e., heavy, explosive strength training) with sprints, time trials, and tempo workouts.

Goodbye, long runs. CFE reduces mileage to as much as one-quarter the average of a typical marathon program.

The Deadlift strengthens your posterior chain - the stride-driving muscles in your hamstrings and glutes (Runnersworld.com)

The Deadlift strengthens your posterior chain – the stride-driving muscles in your hamstrings and glutes (Runnersworld.com)

MacKenzie developed CFE while training for Ironman and ultramarathon events. Following long, slow distance (LSD) training while preparing for an Ironman in 2004, he experienced knee problems and plantar fasciitis.

So he did something radical. He replaced LSD workouts and easy runs with 20-minute Cross-Fit workouts, a conditioning program developed by former gymnast Greg Glassman that takes functional training to the extreme by combining power lifting, gymnastics, kettlebell training, and other blisteringly hard strength training.

Kettlebell swings hits nearly every muscle, sends your heart rate soaring, and builds flexibility, endurance, and strength (Runnersworld.com)

Kettlebell swings hits nearly every muscle, sends your heart rate soaring, and builds flexibility, endurance, and strength (Runnersworld.com)

He kept the high-intensity speedwork found in many 26.2 plans, like 400-and 800-meter repeats. It worked for him—his high-test training twist helped MacKenzie evade injury and finish ultramarathons on less than 10 hours of training a week.

In 2007, he launched CFE and remains vehement that a strong—really strong—body will carry you as far as you want to go.

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