This past weekend I had the incredible opportunity to go through the Crossfit Endurance Trainer Course at Crossfit Mayhem in Cookeville, TN.  I had been looking forward to attending this thing for a while and was very excited for it to actually be here.  I’ve been following Crossfit Endurance and Brian Mackenzie for quite a while now.  Pretty much ever since I started running a couple years ago.  Since all I have really known since I started running is Crossfit and Crossfit Endurance, I was super excited that Brian was going to be coaching this course himself.  On the second day, I was able to get a picture with him:

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Honestly, from everything I saw on the internet I thought he was going to be a jerk and not very easy to talk to.  Quite the opposite.  He was super nice and very approachable.  I shook his hand and told him it was a little like meeting Michael Jordan when I was a kid.  His program has really made a huge difference in my life.  With all the negative crap you’ll find on the internet, I thought he’d be kind of a jerk about his program and wouldn’t listen to differing opinions.  Again, he was quite the opposite. He said on multiple occasions, “If you don’t believe me.  Go try it.  Give it a shot. Or don’t, it doesn’t matter.”  (something like that).  His program/philosophy has seen results.  I’m one of them.  Remember, 3 years ago I was fat and lazy.  Now I’ve got 3 Marathons, 4 50K’s and almost 3 50 Milers under my belt.  All from training with Crossfit Endurance type training.

Another cool thing about this weekend was that Rich Froning and Dan Bailey were attending the course as well.  So we got to do all of the drills and things with them, and when the partner WOD came around on Saturday I found myself doing burpees next to the fittest man alive.  Hah!!  I looked over while I was on the ground at one point, and said, “man, that’s Rich Froning and we’re doing burpees! Yes!!”

I took away a few pretty great nuggets from both an athlete and a coaches perspective.  The first came when we were talking about nutrition during a race.  Mackenzie said, “You have to have a plan, and you have to stick to it.”  You can’t just eat a GU, then eat another kind of Gel or a sandwich then some M&M’s and then a couple hours later eat another GU.  If you’re going to GU, that’s fine, but you better do it on schedule throughout the whole race.  You never know how all these different foods or brands of foods are going to mix together.  You need to find what works for you and stick to it.  Don’t do something different every race.  I really need to figure this out, and keep it going.

The other thing that was a pretty big deal, was a statement on commitment.  I’m not sure how we got to it, but we were talking about athletes being committed to their program.  Are you, as an athlete, committed to doing whatever you have to do to continue to improve?  Sleep the hours you need to sleep, eat the food you need to eat, run the intervals and long runs you need to run?  It takes a lot of work to be an athlete and to continue to progress and have your race times decrease.  You have to trust your coach and your program and you have to stick to it no matter what.  Then, if something doesn’t work, you adjust it.  You have to measure all of your runs, look at the food you’re eating, how much you’re sleeping, etc. and adjust where needed.  Maybe this wasn’t Mackenzie’s intention, but for whatever reason I walked away with a new fire for training.  I walked away with a new fire for helping people be better athletes and helping them run better.

It was also really cool to see how Brian and the other coaches lead the drills.  I’ve been doing these drills for a while now almost every day, and have even coached them a couple times now.  It was really cool to see how some seasoned coaches went about coaching the pose drills to people that were completely new.  Rich Froning isn’t exactly a runner, and there were several others like him there that hadn’t done this stuff much before either.  I enjoyed seeing how coaches gave cues and helped people understand how to move properly.  It was very good for me as a coach and will certainly help me when training others to run.

It was a great weekend, and I had a lot of fun.  Here’s a pic of the whole group.  See if you can find Rich Froning and Dan Bailey in there.  🙂

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If you’re in the Memphis area, I’m heading up a 6 week running course at Faction Strength and Conditioning starting in April.  You can find information here:

Lift Heavy Run Long!