Spring update

Well it’s been a couple of months since I wrote about what’s been happening with CrossFit and my fitness in general, so an update is due.  I’ve still be going three times a week (down to two where work has got in the way, as it often does), and we’ve been through another of our coach’s 12-week cycles.  Last week was a test week, where we went for the big one-rep maxes.  Because of the way the programming has gone, I’ve only been able to test a few of these things recently:

  • Back squat – 85kg (+12.5kg, and I’m pleased with that)
  • Clean and jerk – 50kg (although I did clean 55kg once)
  • Front squat – 60kg (it’s probably more though)
  • Snatch – 32.5kg (up from around 20kg)

The snatch has been the most troublesome movement for me, due to my shoulder mobility. I always feel as if the bar is going to fall one way or the other as it goes overhead, and it stops me from really going for it.  When I get 40kg I’ll know I’m onto something. Until then I’ve been going to some one-on-one sessions with the coach to improve on the mobility, and it seems to have helped.

I have also finally managed to equalise my clean AND jerk weights, so I can now do the whole thing at 50kg.  I did manage to clean 55kg in one session, but couldn’t get it overhead.  I’m aiming for 75kg in three months, although that might be a bit ambitious.  The back squat of 85kg was helped along by borrowing someone’s belt – it gave me loads of support, and I wouldn’t have done it without it.

Pull-ups – still can’t do them, although I have some exercises to practise to help in that area, and I’m getting closer to the bar!  Ditto toes-to-bar.

One area in which I have improved massively though is running.  When I started CrossFit I could barely run the 400m route without feeling like death afterwards.  I was getting better slowly just by running during workouts, but what really helped was deciding to go to Parkrun one Saturday morning.  The furthest I’d run at CrossFit until then was one mile (and that was a struggle), and Parkrun is 5K.  I decided to just simply turn up and run the bloody thing, and not worry about building up to it.  The course is challenging in places with half of it in a muddy field, and a steep hill halfway round, but I completely surprised myself first time out by running 27 minutes dead.  I was expecting something in the region of 35 minutes or slower.  Spurred on by this, I have now done seven runs, and my times have tumbled:

  1. 27:00
  2. 27:07 (bad conditions; wrong shoes. See below)
  3. 26:34
  4. 25:15
  5. 24:24
  6. 24:20
  7. 25:02 (no idea what happened here – I thought I’d aced it)

I did those first two runs in my Nike trainers, which have zero grip on the bottom.  It was the middle of January, and the field was so roughed-up and covered in icy puddles that it was impossible to maintain any kind of speed without falling over.  So I bought myself a pair of proper trail shoes, and in week three I simply flew through the mud, overtaking loads of people who couldn’t go faster.  Since then, I’ve been getting better each week, working out where to gain time on the course.  I am considering going to the Exeter course at some point in the near future, as it is all flat on gravel paths and firm grass, and is suited to a fast run.  I can really go for that sub-24:00 PB there.

Last week, at CrossFit, we had to run 1000m at the start of a workout.  Having just failed to improve my clean and jerk PB, and having got very annoyed with myself, I decided to take it out on the run.  I smashed it, beating everyone else back to the box in four minutes, 23 seconds.  I had been dying to do that for ages – caning everyone else in what is essentially a running race (we’re all so competitive!), and it proves that running longer distances really helps you at the shorter ones – I would recommend 5K running to anyone who can run, or anyone who wants to take it up.  It’s fun, trust me!

As for future expansion, Id quite like to do orienteering at some point, and I’ve been thinking about taking up some sort of martial arts for at least ten years now.  As usual, I never get round to it, but watch this space.  I’ve surprised myself many times already in the last six months.