When Did Running Become Rest?

In most workouts, the goal of running is to add some cardio and tax your body between other movements.

Since I began CrossFit training almost seven years ago, I’ve done and said some crazy things. But one of the most bizarre happened the other day — I was explaining to a co-worker about the CrossFit workout we were doing the day before.


It was two rounds of 800-meter runs, 50 sit-ups and 15 deadlifts. That wasn’t the crazy part. I heard myself say, “The runs were nice because I could use them as rest.” I didn’t even think twice about it. 

He looked at me like I was insane.

The funny thing was, I was in no way joking about it. I just explained to another human being that programming half-mile runs in the middle of a workout was nice because I could get some rest … while running.

There is no way this would have been my mindset when I began CrossFit back in 2010. Back then, I don’t think I could have done two 800-meter runs and done anything afterward or in between. For me, running more than 5 or 10 yards at soccer practice while I was coaching was about my limit in terms of cardio.

I think it’s awesome that I’m at a point now where a little running in the middle of a WOD serves as a time to reflect and refocus. Obviously, the running component is a big part of the challenge for some workouts like “Murph” or “Helen.” But in shorter workouts, especially ones with less than five rounds, knocking out some 400-meter runs helps me to get off the pull-up rig or shake out my arms from a ton of barbell reps.

Not only can you grab some fresh air, but you also can take the time to get your grip back or stretch your legs and back while you stride out.

In most workouts, the goal of running is to add some cardio and tax your body between other movements. You should always try to push yourself as much as possible when you hit the running part and shoot for the best time you can. But it’s important to understand whether the running portion comes at the beginning, middle or end of the WOD. If you can view it as a break or as rest, then it will make the entire workout all the more tolerable for the non-runner.

And if anything, at least running isn’t as physically devastating to your legs as rowing. 

How do you view running in your workouts? Is it a chance for you to catch a break and reset your focus, or does it make you not want to even go in to train? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.