Improving Your Running for HYROX: More Than Just Miles on the Clock
Whether you're a seasoned runner or new to the world of endurance, HYROX brings a fresh and unique perspective to the concept of running. Traditionally, endurance training often focuses on logging miles, but HYROX challenges that notion, intertwining high-intensity strength exercises with periods of running. This not only tests your endurance capacity but also your speed, strength, and resilience under fatigue. Consequently, your HYROX training plan requires a holistic approach that goes beyond conventional running.
But how can you improve your running for HYROX? It's not just about running longer distances or faster sprints. Aspects like your VO2Max, speed at threshold, aerobic capacity, and running economy play a significant role. Moreover, you need to integrate smart training tips like understanding your heart rate, balancing hard and easy runs, and recognising the importance of volume.
In this blog post, we'll unpack these key areas, providing a comprehensive guide to help you become a more efficient, stronger runner in your HYROX training. Ready? Let's dive right in!
Hyrox Training: Running Beyond the Conventional Endurance Challenge
Hyrox reinvents the concept of running as we know it. Unlike traditional endurance races that emphasise sustaining a steady pace over a long distance, Hyrox training intermingles running with challenging functional strength exercises.
Consider this: One moment, you're pushing your limits with sled pulls or carrying a heavy load, the next, you're asked to run a kilometer before diving into the next strength exercise. This unique aspect of a Hyrox workout, alternating between high-intensity strength exercises and running, adds a new dimension to the challenge. It demands not just endurance, but speed, strength, and the ability to transition efficiently between different exercises.
In your Hyrox training plan, your running performance isn't solely about covering the most distance; it's about maintaining speed and efficiency despite the cumulative fatigue from the strength exercises. In essence, Hyrox provides a refreshing twist to traditional running, requiring you to be not just a resilient endurance runner but a versatile athlete, adeptly combining strength and endurance.
Key Elements of Running Performance in HYROX
Training for HYROX necessitates a thorough understanding of the different aspects that contribute to a successful running performance. Let's delve into four key elements and why they are crucial for your HYROX training.
VO2Max: This term refers to the maximum amount of oxygen your body can use during intense exercise. It's a crucial measure of your aerobic fitness. A higher VO2Max implies that your body can take in and utilise more oxygen, providing your muscles with more energy during intense workouts. In a HYROX event, a high VO2Max will enable you to maintain a high intensity during the running sections, even after taxing strength exercises.
Speed at Threshold (S@T): Also known as anaerobic or lactate threshold, this is the pace you can sustain before lactate (a byproduct of glucose metabolism) begins to accumulate in your blood. Beyond this pace, fatigue sets in rapidly. For HYROX athletes, understanding and training at your S@T allows you to optimise your running pace during a race.
Aerobic Capacity: This is your body's ability to use oxygen to produce energy over an extended period. An athlete with a high aerobic capacity can sustain lower-intensity exercise for a longer duration - an essential trait for the endurance aspect of HYROX. Furthermore, developing your aerobic capacity acts like a "hoover" for lactate , the byproduct of intense exercise that leads to an increase in Hydrogen ions resulting in fatigue. By effectively clearing lactate, you can sustain higher intensities for longer periods, giving you an edge in HYROX events
Running Economy: This measures how efficiently your body uses oxygen at a given running speed. Think of it as your body's fuel economy; a better running economy means you use less energy to maintain a specific pace. This efficiency can be a game-changer in HYROX events, where conserving energy throughout the course can give you an edge during the final stages of the race.
Understanding these key elements and how they interplay during your HYROX workout is the first step towards improving your running performance. Up next, let's discuss how to train these elements effectively.
Improving Your Running Performance for HYROX
Training for HYROX is not just about working hard, but working smart. To get the most out of your training and significantly enhance your running performance, it's critical to apply the right techniques and strategies. Here are some practical tips that Hyrox runners can utilise to make substantial improvements:
1. Make Your Easy Runs Easy and Hard Runs Hard: It's essential to understand the purpose of every run. Not every run should be at maximum effort; conversely, not every run should be leisurely. Hard runs, like interval training or hill sprints, push your VO2Max and Speed at Threshold, while easy runs help build your aerobic base and promote recovery. Ensure you are truly making your easy runs easy and your hard runs hard to avoid the common trap of falling into a 'grey' zone that neither optimises recovery nor pushes your boundaries.
2. Get to Know Your Heart Rate: Heart rate training can provide valuable insights into your running. By understanding your heart rate zones, you can train more intuitively and effectively. For example, your heart rate can help you identify your lactate threshold, the point at which lactate begins to accumulate faster than it can be cleared. By training at or near this heart rate, you can increase your threshold speed, allowing you to run faster before fatigue sets in. A heart rate monitor can be an invaluable tool in your Hyrox training plan. Check out our heart rate training zones calculator here > https://www.boxnutrition.co.uk/hyroxzonescalculator
3. Volume Matters: When it comes to endurance and aerobic capacity, volume (or mileage) plays a key role. Gradually increasing your running volume will not only enhance your aerobic capacity but also improve your running economy, allowing you to use less energy at your race pace. Remember to increase your volume gradually to avoid injury. A common rule of thumb is the '10% rule', which suggests not increasing your weekly mileage by more than 10% from the previous week.
4. Mastering Compromised Running: When training for HYROX, it's not enough to simply be a proficient runner or a strong lifter; the real challenge comes when you need to transition between the two under fatigue. Think of it as the ultimate test of an athlete's adaptability and resilience. While most traditional training might focus on each discipline in isolation, HYROX demands a seamless fusion of both. Our philosophy at Box:Perform is clear: build up your running prowess first — reach your top-end capabilities. Once you're confident in your running game, we begin layering in the challenges of compromised running. By doing so, we teach your body to maintain form, efficiency, and speed even when transitioning from gruelling strength tasks back into running.
Another critical factor to consider is the fatigue associated with running, which can impact other areas of your training, particularly your strength work. Always listen to your body and adjust your training volume as necessary to ensure adequate recovery and prevent overtraining.
Sample Weekly HYROX Training Plan (Run)
This sample training plan is designed to integrate different types of workouts into your routine, focusing on improving the key elements of running performance for HYROX. Remember, it's always important to listen to your body and adjust as necessary, this is simply a guide to get you started.
Monday: Strength Training - Start the week with a strength. For more help with adding strength into your plan check out this blog here.
Tuesday: VO2Max or Threshold Training - On Tuesday, depending on your individual focus for the week, work on your VO2Max or speed at threshold. A VO2Max session could include a series of 3-minute intervals running at a hard pace, with 3-minute recovery periods in between. For threshold training, aim for a "comfortably hard" pace with less recovery than your VO2Max session.
Wednesday: Easy Run - An easy run in the middle of the week will aid recovery and build your aerobic capacity. Aim to run at a pace where you can hold a conversation.
Thursday: Strength Training
Friday: Rest Day - Rest is crucial for recovery and growth. Make sure you're getting enough sleep and consuming a nutritionally balanced diet to aid your recovery.
Saturday: Long Run - The weekend is a great time for a long, slow distance run. This will help build your overall endurance and further enhance your aerobic capacity. The pace should be easy to moderate, with the focus on covering the distance rather than running it fast.
Sunday: Active Recovery or Rest - Finish the week with some active recovery. This could be a walk, a yoga session, or some light cross-training, which will help your muscles recover and prepare for the following week.
This is just an example week and your programme should be tailored to your individual needs.
Perfecting Your HYROX Running Performance
Running for HYROX events demands more than just endurance; it requires a blend of strength, speed, and durability that can only be developed through a targeted, multifaceted training approach. By focusing on improving your VO2Max, speed at threshold, aerobic capacity, and running economy, you can greatly enhance your running performance in HYROX.
If you're looking to excel in your HYROX training, consider joining Box:Perform. We offer comprehensive running training plans that are tailored to your individual needs, focusing on improving all the elements crucial for a successful HYROX performance. We believe in a balanced approach to training that incorporates strength, endurance, and recovery. Become a member of Box:Perform today and start your journey towards becoming a well-rounded, top-performing HYROX athlete. Click here to learn more and join us today!
Box:Perform offers a wealth of resources to support your training and performance goals, including:
Metabolic Testing Services: Box:Perform also offers metabolic testing services, including Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) testing, to provide a deeper understanding of your body’s energy requirements. This information can be used to tailor your training and nutrition plan to your specific metabolism.
Nutritional Guidance: Understanding what to eat and when is crucial for optimiSing performance and recovery. Box:Perform provides evidence-based nutritional advice to help fuel your workouts and aid recovery. This includes general nutrition guidelines as well as specific meal and supplement recommendations.
Performance Tracking: Box:Perform offers tools to track and analyse your performance, helping you monitor your progress and adjust your training plan as needed.
Education Resources: Box:Perform believes in the importance of understanding the why behind your training. They provide educational content covering a range of topics, from the fundamentals of strength and conditioning to the specifics of preparing for events like Hyrox.
Community Support: When you join Box:Perform, you become part of a community of like-minded athletes. You can connect with others, share your experiences, seek advice, and offer encouragement.
Expert Coaching: Box:Perform's coaches are experienced professionals who are dedicated to helping you achieve your best. They provide guidance, feedback, and support to ensure your training is effective and safe.