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View Full Version : Gant's hybrid/training for marathon..counterproductive?


David Klotz
09-29-2010, 09:22 PM
Hello, first post on these forums. I'm not quite sure where to turn to here and need some advice.

I've lost a ton of weight over the last two years(195 lbs!) working with my training and doing the main site Crossfit exercises and have recently gotten turned on to Gant's hybrid program(about 2 months into it).

Currently I'm at 180, about 12.5 percent body fat and about 2 months into what I would deem "heavier" training as prescribed (squats, deadlifts, etc) My long term goal is to have a physical that is very lean, strong. I have zero desire to bulk up. Think Michael Phelps physique or a gymnast. I'm enjoying throwing the heavy weight--and I'm seeing great progress. I was finally able to deadlift more than my body weight a few weeks ago(220 lbs) and was stoked. I love this but...

've recently set a new goal of wanting to run a half marathon in Jan as well. It's something I've wanted to do for many years but was too heavy/unmotivated to do so.

My question is this: Is it possible to train effectively with Gant's hybrid program and running or given this running goal would it simply be more effective to shift gears into Crossfit Endurance? Would my CNS be stable after doing a heavy lift, a heavy metacon and then running 30 minutes? I'd like to be able to do both but I don't want to over tax myself and risk injury.

Any ideas?

Derek Weaver
09-29-2010, 11:44 PM
Don't do CFE, unless you plan on not finishing your race.

What I would suggest. Train to run.

You would be well served to check out this page: http://www.runnersworld.com/subtopic/0,7123,s6-238-244-258-0,00.html

Seriously though, don't do CFE. At all.

Geoffrey Thompson
09-30-2010, 05:04 AM
The answer is probably, unfortunately, traditional race training. Now, if you just want to finish instead of doing well, there are semi-traditional programs (specifically, this one: http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-238-244-255-8257-0,00.html) that will have you on the road for fewer hours per week and will get you through the marathon in an okay time, but you shouldn't fool yourself into thinking you're doing the absolute best you can. But you can actually do pretty well.

Jarod Barker
09-30-2010, 10:38 AM
Don't do CFE, unless you plan on not finishing your race.

What I would suggest. Train to run.

You would be well served to check out this page: http://www.runnersworld.com/subtopic/0,7123,s6-238-244-258-0,00.html

Seriously though, don't do CFE. At all.

Thanks for the link, I bookmarked it. If you don't mind me asking, why don't you like CFE? I've never trained for a marathon, but I used to CFE to lower my 3 mile run for the USMC PFT, and my 5K went from 22:33 to 18:53. Certainly nothing spectacular, but I took nearly 4 minutes in about 3 months. I realize that's a comparatively short distance, but what is the shortcoming of CFE for longer distances?

Joe Hart
09-30-2010, 10:58 AM
[QUOTE= I realize that's a comparatively short distance, but what is the shortcoming of CFE for longer distances?[/QUOTE]

Let me state I am not a runner by any stretch. From what I gathered about CFE is that the guy who runs the site (BMac?) can't even finish races. I think it is because he doesn't put in the mileage, but that is my take.

Garrett Smith
09-30-2010, 11:11 AM
Lift and run. Forget the metcons until you've reached your goal. You will be fine.

Brian Stone
09-30-2010, 11:52 AM
i'm running a half marathon next week and have made excellent progress with 1-2 faster, shorter runs per week and one longer run mixed with weight training, judo, and some faster paced stuff and I've made great progress. Clearly if your goal is to run the best race possible and have a great time, relatively speaking, then you'll have to tailor your training down to be as run-specific as possible. However, I've made sub-2-hour half my goal at over 200 lbs while balancing plenty of other stuff and have had what I suspect is good success (we'll see come race day). Basically, it's largely dependent on your goals, time available, etc.

My guess would be that you'd obviously have to replace some of the Hybrid work with running, but in general you can do a balanced program that includes strength and metcon and still have success in the half.


Note: A full marathon may be a different story.

Geoffrey Thompson
09-30-2010, 11:54 AM
i'm running a half marathon next week and have made excellent progress with 1-2 faster, shorter runs per week and one longer run mixed with weight training, judo, and some faster paced stuff and I've made great progress. Clearly if your goal is to run the best race possible and have a great time, relatively speaking, then you'll have to tailor your training down to be as run-specific as possible. However, I've made sub-2-hour half my goal at over 200 lbs while balancing plenty of other stuff and have had what I suspect is good success (we'll see come race day). Basically, it's largely dependent on your goals, time available, etc.

My guess would be that you'd obviously have to replace some of the Hybrid work with running, but in general you can do a balanced program that includes strength and metcon and still have success in the half.


Note: A full marathon may be a different story.

I should think running would be sufficient "metcon".

David Klotz
09-30-2010, 12:31 PM
Thanks everyone for the advice. It's appreciated! This is my first marathon ---I don't have any intention to place. I would like to finish the half below 2:30.

I'm going to try cutting the heavy metcon out and see how that goes. I should probably start a log up to track my progress.

Alex Bond
09-30-2010, 12:33 PM
Yeah, if you want to get good at running, why would you do thrusters? If you want to get better at running, then run. Do some deadlifts and presses once or twice a week and run a bunch and it'll work out.

Jarod Barker
09-30-2010, 02:28 PM
Lift and run. Forget the metcons until you've reached your goal. You will be fine.

Wendler 531 was a great recommendation, Dr. G. I'm feeling really good on it. I can't wait till my foot is back to 100% so I can start some sprint work and prowler sled for my accessory work. I'm getting bored with air squats and pistols.

Derek Weaver
09-30-2010, 02:40 PM
Thanks for the link, I bookmarked it. If you don't mind me asking, why don't you like CFE? I've never trained for a marathon, but I used to CFE to lower my 3 mile run for the USMC PFT, and my 5K went from 22:33 to 18:53. Certainly nothing spectacular, but I took nearly 4 minutes in about 3 months. I realize that's a comparatively short distance, but what is the shortcoming of CFE for longer distances?

Like Joe said, CFE tends to = DNF. People that do CFE and excel were usually successful athletes to begin with. As is usually the case with CF of any "form".

It's been said all over this board on numerous occasions but: "Work capacity across broad time and modal domains" means that you'll probably not suck at anything, except whatever actually matters to your sport. Unless your sport is thrusters, overhead kettlebell swings, vomiting and rhabdo. Even that's questionable.

It's pretty out there to believe that one could be good at long distance endurance events while never running anything more than a 10k. And rarely at that.

If someone wants to be good at 10k and up races, they need a deep bank of work capacity in the actual "modal domain" required from which to draw and build. Not saying that every training run is going to be a marathon... that's stupid too. Keep the marathon for race day. But nobody became a world champion marathoner by doing Heavy Fran and 100m repeats with the occasional 5k or 10k thrown in.

I think I saw something by Joel Jamieson on his site noting that even in fighters, who have a serious anaerobic requirement, they need to do more longer distance, lower intensity work. Boxers have done this for ages. Sprint/speed work is important, but low intensity work is the goods for any sport requiring a sustained effort.

If a fighter needs that kind of base to build on, why wouldn't an endurance athlete?

/soap box.

David Klotz
09-30-2010, 09:37 PM
One further question if I may..what are some books that are considered must "reads" in regards to lifting?

I have Starting Strength, reading Pavel's kettlebell book currently. I hear alot of talk of a book called "Supertraining".

I don't know if this is too general of a question ---but what should I be reading?

Jarod Barker
09-30-2010, 09:42 PM
I think I saw something by Joel Jamieson on his site noting that even in fighters, who have a serious anaerobic requirement, they need to do more longer distance, lower intensity work. Boxers have done this for ages. Sprint/speed work is important, but low intensity work is the goods for any sport requiring a sustained effort.

If a fighter needs that kind of base to build on, why wouldn't an endurance athlete?

/soap box.

Thanks Derek, that makes sense to me. I didn't know if you had a specific issue with CFE or just the programming as a whole. I know from my experience, the interval work improved my short distance runs, but I've never trained for a marathon. I can appreciate the boxing comparison though, I boxed for a few years (or perhaps I should say I boxed poorly for a few years), and it's amazing how much energy you expend in a 2 (or 3 for higher levels) minute round.

It seems like the general consensus here is that CF is bogus and only makes you better at CF. More of a training tool than a training program.

Jarod Barker
09-30-2010, 09:47 PM
One further question if I may..what are some books that are considered must "reads" in regards to lifting?

I have Starting Strength, reading Pavel's kettlebell book currently. I hear alot of talk of a book called "Supertraining".

I don't know if this is too general of a question ---but what should I be reading?

Greg Everett's Olympic Weightlifting is awesome. I reference and check it regularly. It's very good for addressing errors and correcting them.

Practical Programming is a good supplement to Starting Strength.

The Wendler 531 ebook is good if you're interested in trying that program. There's enough free "calculator" spreadsheets out there though that you don't necessarily need the manual.

Derek Weaver
09-30-2010, 10:27 PM
Thanks Derek, that makes sense to me. I didn't know if you had a specific issue with CFE or just the programming as a whole. I know from my experience, the interval work improved my short distance runs, but I've never trained for a marathon. I can appreciate the boxing comparison though, I boxed for a few years (or perhaps I should say I boxed poorly for a few years), and it's amazing how much energy you expend in a 2 (or 3 for higher levels) minute round.

It seems like the general consensus here is that CF is bogus and only makes you better at CF. More of a training tool than a training program.

I'll make this my last post on this since we went off when Greg and Robb were excommunicated, and there's a whole thread on this at another forum approaching 1 million views.

CF only makes you good at mediocrity. Nothing elite about it. CFE, CF Football, doesn't matter if you ask me. The only current affiliate I would think about would be San Francisco Crossfit. It took a long time for me to see the light, but now that I have...

One further question if I may..what are some books that are considered must "reads" in regards to lifting?

I have Starting Strength, reading Pavel's kettlebell book currently. I hear alot of talk of a book called "Supertraining".

I don't know if this is too general of a question ---but what should I be reading?

Greg Everett's Olympic Weightlifting is awesome. I reference and check it regularly. It's very good for addressing errors and correcting them.

Practical Programming is a good supplement to Starting Strength.

The Wendler 531 ebook is good if you're interested in trying that program. There's enough free "calculator" spreadsheets out there though that you don't necessarily need the manual.

Just read the 5/3/1 interview on T Nation and look up the various calculators out there, like Chad said. Don't bother with Supertraining unless you like being bored. I went through it a little at my library. Boring.

If you want to learn about strength training and don't care about the Olympic Lifts, I would just go through Eric Cressey archives, Mike Robertson archives (both are good injury prevention/corrective guys), everything Dave Tate wrote for T Nation, and then Practical Programming. Do google searches for Glenn Pendlay's various forum posts. He's been on Lyle's board and Thibaudeau has/had a Q&A thread for him recently.

Look up Joe Defranco's Westside for Skinny Bastards Parts 1, 2, 3 for more perspective.

I hear the RTS manual is fully legit as well.

Don't forget to read everything Dan John wrote for T Nation, and elsewhere.

If you get the RTS manual and Practical Programming you're about $60 invested, but all that information I mentioned would keep you busy for weeks.

Or you could just get Practical Programming and call it a day until it's necessary to read further.

Donald Lee
09-30-2010, 11:46 PM
I think Pavel's "Power to the People Professional" is up there, too. "Beyond Bodybuilding" looks good, too, but I haven't gotten to reading it yet.

If you'd like to know a bit more sciency but still very practical stuff, I'd go with Arthur Dreschler's "Weightlifting Encyclopedia."

Jarod Barker
10-01-2010, 09:12 AM
I'll make this my last post on this since we went off when Greg and Robb were excommunicated, and there's a whole thread on this at another forum approaching 1 million views.

CF only makes you good at mediocrity. Nothing elite about it. CFE, CF Football, doesn't matter if you ask me. The only current affiliate I would think about would be San Francisco Crossfit. It took a long time for me to see the light, but now that I have...



Yeah, I read that thread when the black box summit happened. I took it with a grain of salt figuring that everyone was really just mad at @F HQ and wanted to show their support for Greg and Robb who were clearly in the right.

I think as far as any sport goes, no one gets elite by crosstraining. So, it makes sense to say if you want to be marathon runner then run or if you want to be a downhill skier then ski.

The only hang up for me is that I know many SEALs, Rangers, Marines, and Special Forces operators swear by "Crossfit style" training. For example, Fatal Fitness has been touting extremely long and grueling metcons as a way to prepare for everything from long ruck marches and runs to kicking in doors and sprinting. Then again, the military is always slow to change, so I guess it only figures that they'd start to adopt CF at the same time people are recognizing its failure to produce "elite" fitness.

Dave Coughlin
10-07-2010, 08:51 PM
The main aspect relative to training for one's first marathon is twofold, IMO:
-Developing an aerobic base
-Getting your body used to working for an usually duration of time

The Galloway method is a very slow and steady way to build up miles/time running, you may want to look into that. The way it is programmed, CFE would best benefit a distance runner/triathlete that already has a sufficient aerobic base. Gordo Byrn wrote a book called Going Long; although it is intended for ultra distance triathlon training, there are several outstanding nuggets of info regarding the run portion of IM training.

I'm not sure how much strength you would actually gain while on this hybrid + marathon program. Assuming you would have one LSD running day (long slow distance training), I would figure that would put your body in a fairly catabolic state. even with 2-3 solid 531/short MCs days during the week; a constant stalemate within your body might be the best you can do....


Sidenote: I have several half IMs and one IM finish, all at a bodyweight around 225#. I'm now just finishing up my third 5/3/1 cycle, and I'm at 240ish. I usually do one half-mary every Feb, and finish right around 2hrs give or take. Next Feb, I am looking to run my first stand-alone marathon, and I would like to keep doing strength training, not unlike the OP. Realistically, I may have to put the strength gains on the back burner, while I rev up my aerobic base. Ideally, I would like to keep my strength losses at a minimum. I'll start this programming around Thanksgiving methinks...

Spencer Mackay
12-05-2010, 02:49 PM
Outstanding weight loss, great work.

Justin Algera
12-06-2010, 12:25 PM
Ive been on 531 close to 2 years now and just recently moved to the 2 lift a week program Jim outlined in T-Nation (doing the powerlifting variant he described as well). Would think that split would be great for getting in strength work with the running in you would need as well. Maybe 1 day of hill running/prowler work and 2 other days of longer distance work.