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What if you could run forever?
What monster would ask such a question?
Me. I am that monster.
Running is like driving a car. Gas goes in (energy in). You tell the car how fast you want to go by using the gas pedal, and the car combusts the gas and moves(energy metabolism), and the car creates exhaust toots in the process (energy out).
Want better fuel economy? Go easy on the accelerator to reach cruising speed. Avoid stop/go driving.
Want to race that patrolman next to you at the stoplight? Even if he doesn’t know you’re racing him? Slam the pedal to the metal and blast the Skynard for all to rally to. We’re here for a good time, not a long time.
If you’re lifting a heavy weight, that’s like drag racing. So is sprinting 50 yards to the back of Best Buy on Black Friday.
Just like drag racing, when you go heavy or sprint, you consume more energy than you can replenish so you can’t keep the effort up for long. That’s why you can run all out for a few seconds, but afterward, you’ve bent over into the official CrossFit rest position. If you’re me, you just lay down and tell people “I’m fine, I just ate too much cheese.” Regardless, this energy system is ATP, and it’s useful for getting out of dodge.
Ever Notice how we’re never told to get into a Dodge?
However, if you ramp to a pace that you can hold for say, 15 minutes of running, that’s a lot like getting on the highway and then cruising. You won’t go as fast, but the benefit is the greater distance you can cover through fuel economy. This energy system is glycolytic and it’s useful for getting a lot of work done over time.
How do you run forever? That’s the aerobic system. If we took joint pain and the inevitable death we’re all slowing inching toward out of the picture, you could theoretically run forever as long as you have a constant stream of fuel in, exhaust out and open road.
To my knowledge, no one has signed up to test that yet, so it’s best to stop, eat some food, have our morning meeting, and get a good night’s sleep to recover and do some work the next day.
What energy system should you train in? All of them. And it won’t look like what you’d think if you do it right. I’ve had runners set lifetime PRs without training their run at all. They were doing workouts like:
- 18:00 of:
- 10 box jumps
- 10 burpees
- 20 Russian twists
- 12:00 to:
- Find a heavy deadlift for one rep
- Perform with intensity and speed:
- Thrusters (or air squats)
- Pull-ups (or ring rows)
We train the energy systems while implementing the ten general physical skills because that training transfers to so many different areas of life, including running a marathon, or lifting something really heavy, or playing mid-fielder in a soccer game, or catching them all in Pokemon Go.
When it comes to becoming fit, capable, and hard to kill, It’s the sky’s the limit when you’re training this way.
I want you to be able to go to a rock climbing center and impress the instructors with how well you do on your first day. I want you to be able to play Dance, Dance Revolution with your niece and not have to take breaks, except when you’re laughing too hard. I want you to go on an impromptu 5k without having to train for it. Most of all, I want you to have confidence in yourself, no matter the new thing in front of you.
In specific arenas, the champions are confident. But…
In the wider world, in everything else, in fitness, confidence belongs to the generalist.
Use the models to become the generalist that nature had in mind for you. Use them to build a from through your capacity to function. Use them to become indomitable of body, mind, spirit.
Thanks for tuning in to this series. Now, use your fitness, and go make some fun.