If you’d asked me this a year ago, I would have said, ‘I have no idea’. To be totally honest, I didn’t really know what CrossFit was until my mum joined her local box (apparently, it’s not called a gym!? I’m still learning about the CrossFit world!) and was instantly glued to the sport.
For me, it was September 2019, so the end of what felt like a very long season. It was also the start of the dreaded winter season, when the training turns from the short and fast sessions you get used to in the summer, to the long, boring sessions of winter!
It was the perfect time to try something new and change my training up a bit. My mum was so settled and happy at her box, and she had finally found a hobby that she loved that I didn’t want to intrude by joining the same place as her, so I found another local CrossFit box, that was close enough to the train station to get to work in the mornings.
It took a bit of time juggling my training to fit in the extra sessions, but I have found a routine that I enjoy.
I didn’t realise how weak my upper body was until I started CrossFit – who knew lifting some weights above your head was so hard! Any workout that involved my upper body has always left me feeling like I’d done 1000 press-ups (some workouts weren’t far from that!) and I’d struggle lifting my arms out of the water in my next swimming session.
It wasn’t until recently I realised how much stronger I am. Since my shoulder operation I have had limited movement and strength in my upper body, but I didn’t think it was affecting me as much as it was.
One of my swimming sessions a few weeks ago was a set of 100m’s sprint, with a pull buoy. For those that don’t know, a pull buoy is a float you put in between your legs to keep your lower body afloat, so you don’t have to kick your legs and is usually used to strengthen the upper body. I was managing to consistently stay at 1 minute 19 seconds for these 100m’s – for comparison, I was doing the same set without a pull buoy (so I had the added benefit of kicking) and holding 1 minutes 23 seconds at the end of last season!
Within half a year, I have been able to hold a faster time with a pull buoy than I was without! I’m now really interested to see what I can do without a pull buoy! Maybe I could finally get to my old personal best of 1 minute 7 seconds!
I can’t definitively say that it is all down to CrossFit, as my other training over the winter has pushed me to be stronger, but I can’t deny that since starting this new hobby, my swimming has finally started to feel like it is getting back to how it used to be.
So, should triathletes do CrossFit? I do not have the answer for that on behalf of every triathlete, but for this triathlete the answer is definitely a resounding YES.