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Tri-ing To Test Fitness Outside The Box

May 6, 2020 by

(Editor’s note: Our writer, Brittney Kleyn is recounting an event that occurred just before the COVID-19 pandemic locked everything down. But, her encouragement to get outside and crush some monostructural fitness — with safe, social distancing — gets our stamp of approval.)

Ask any CrossFit coach and they’ll tell you a 5000m run isn’t usually the most popular thing to program.

But when Australian box owner Gregg Wilson signed up for an Olympic Distance triathlon, in February, he was surprised to have a dozen athletes right there with him on the start line.  

  • “To me a triathlon was the intention behind starting CrossFit, 10 years ago. Being prepared for the ‘unknown and knowable,’” Gregg said.

And that’s exactly why he signed up, — to test his fitness — outside the four walls of his box, CrossFit Dux.

“When life throws a challenge at you, being able to adapt quickly because you have played with these energy systems before,” he said.

Among the members who signed up was Games Athlete Courtney Haley, deciding to tackle the 1500m swim, 40km cycle and 10km run less than a week after competing at the Australian CrossFit Championship.

  • “I enjoy testing the boundaries of my fitness, and because I enjoy using my fitness for activities outside of the gym,” she said. “Having the really good base level of fitness that CrossFit provides is enough to get you through most physical tests life can throw at you.”

That’s easy enough for a Games athlete to say — but even everyday members like 46-year-old, mother of three Angela Mahoney — felt the same.

  • “I only did 2 to 3 runs a week but felt prepared enough as I was doing CrossFit WODs in between,” she said.

In fact, training didn’t change much for Gregg, Courtney and the other members of CrossFit Dux — myself included.

The verdict? Adhering to the principals of the CrossFit methodology, put us all in pretty good stead.

  • Angela Mahoney – who’s also a full-time high school teacher said: “Strength training with a heavy barbell helped my legs on the uphill runs even though it was tough.”
  • 26 year old Jacquie Tapsall agreed: “I felt that the strength work from CrossFit helped me keep a consistent pace right to the end…CrossFit really helped with my leg strength.”
  • Jessica Sexton also felt mentally prepared for the endurance aspect, thanks to Crossfit. She said: “There isn’t any HERO workout in CrossFit that felt the same way, but the mental toughness needed to overcome it was definitely learned from CrossFit.”

Games Athlete Courtney Haley went as far to say, the triathlon was easier than expected “and a lot more fun.”

  • “I think going in I had mentally prepared myself for it to be similar to the marathon row because it would be a similar time domain, but the diversity of modalities (and transitions!) made it a much more interesting and enjoyable experience,” she said.

I’ll second Courtney’s sentiments.

And never thought I’d personally come out on the other side saying “Sign me up for the next one”

Our key takeaway: Since completing the race, the world as we know it has been turned on its head with Australian boxes having to close (and remain that way) just two weeks after members crossed the finish line.

Now that CrossFitters worldwide are united by the challenge of having to “test their fitness outside the box.”

If you’re stuck for a workout, maybe a self-programmed 5000m run, isn’t such a bad idea. After all, constantly varied functional fitness is what we’re after, right?



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