thrusterSo I'm not really running at the moment. Whilst in San Francisco in the last week of January I woke up one morning with a slightly tender right ankle. Being the silly arse that I am, I went for a run in the glorious sunshine. A gentle 2km warm up seemed to loosen things up and I broke into my planned 800m intervals with 600m recovery along the Embarcadero. This was a great workout, except for the recovery runs... my right ankle really wasn't too happy with those.

Well, to cut a long story short, I've not really gone much further than about 5km since as my right ankle keeps flaring up. I suspect it's peroneal tendonitis but I've not gone to the doctors yet. I'll give it a few more weeks before seeking expert advice.

Anyway, in order to stop myself becoming a great big fat lazy oaf and to try and keep some sort of semblance of fitness (and sanity) in the slight hope I might actually get to run enough to actually finish the Shakespeare Marathon at the end of April I've been cycling, swimming and going to the gym with the gym part being the most boring.

Today I got this crazy idea (Tom Williams from Marathon Talk is also partly to blame as he's incorporating CrossFit into his training this year) that I could try a few CrossFit exercises in the gym to get a bigger bang for my buck and found this "Workout of the Day" (WoD):

WoD 140301

Sounds easy enough, except for the 95lb (approx 43kg) barbell part: there's no way I can do 5 thrusters at that weight - I can't get the weight over my head - let alone 45!!

Let me tell you something, I got this so so wrong. I seriously misjudged this workout.

I'm by no means a CrossFit expert but I have speed-read the FAQ and have a good idea of how to do most of the exercises from my old weightlifting days. What I wasn't sure about was if I was meant to do this in "rounds" (ie 21 thrusters followed by 21 pull-ups etc) or in turn. I thought rounds so that what I had in mind when I went to the gym.

Being cautious, I warmed up and then loaded an olympic bar with a massive 10kg - 5kg per side - taking the bar + weights to 30kg and hit my first set of 21 thrusters.

OH MY WORD!!! I nearly keeled over. I got to about 13 reps and was so out of breath I had to pause. By the time I got to 21 I didn't have the breath or energy to hoik myself up to the pull-up bar for the pull ups.

In the end I did the thrusters with loads of rest between sets, then the pull-ups - only to failure - and called it a day.

When I got home I looked up this innocently sounding "Fran" workout and discovered this is one of the benchmark CrossFit workouts. I also discovered I'm allowed, and actually encouraged to "cheat" in the pull-ups - it's called doing kipping pull-ups.

Want to see how this workout is done (nothing like how I did it)?, here you go:

The kipping pull-ups look really odd to me, but I guess the idea it to keep the whole body working and not just the arms and back.

I've got my work cut out for me if I'm ever going to get up to doing these with 90lbs of weight without nearly killing myself. I do however now know this is a great one for measuring my progress and will definitely do this properly soon so I've got a benchmark to work from.