The other day I
derided wrote about the Crossfit program that Brian Mackenzie is deluded into believing convinced will revolutionize training for distance runners. At the time, the full article in the June issue of Competitor was not available online, but it is now, in Competitor’s nifty digital format.
A couple of notes. One, Richard Gibbens (not Gibbons) is incorrectly identified in the article as an exercise scientist. He has a bachelor’s degree in exercise science, but that doesn’t make him a scientist, and this would hold true even if he were a bastion of sound analysis instead of a fifth-degree crank. If he’s an exercise scientist, then I’m a physicist, and anyone with a B.A. in psychology is a psychologist, and wouldn’t that be a colossal mess.
Two, and more importantly, it’s become clear to me that all of these guys pushing low-volume, high-intensity training for distance runners because they themselves became injured or otherwise wiped out by high-volume training have no idea how to train properly using high mileage. Mackenzie is very clearly an intense guy, as is Gibbens, a former Green Beret. I have no doubt that whatever mileage totals they reached in their previous lives included far too much work at the high end of the aerobic spectrum, and that they had no concept of how to properly execute recovery days. Had they gone about things the tried and true way, and maybe tried running more on grass and dirt and less on pavement, and learned that hammering away all the time is a bad idea, then they surely could have thrived on a greater overall workload. This is admittedly just a guess, but it’s not a blind one — I’ve seen their Type-A ilk in action and their ability to survive sane marathon training is limited by their personality traits unless they submit to being reined in regularly by a second set of eyes.