Crossfit London 5K Experiment:

26 Jun

Experiment review. 

On the 12 of August we took the decision to suspend this experiment. We discovered that the injury rate ( among those who reported) was too high. Some nasty shin splints and plantar fasciitis. Many reasons were suggested, but as one of Crossfit london’s sport injury massage team,  i felt the reasons was to do with poor running mechanics among the participants.). Even though the experiment was terminated, its an interesting “bit” of evidence

Every morning in Africa, a Gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a Lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest Gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn’t matter whether you are a Lion or a Gazelle… when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.” (Maurice Greene, five-time world champion 100-metre sprinter)

Crossfit (CF) London is looking for all levels of runners from beginners to marathon, lions to gazelles and even some crazy Crossfitters to participate in an 8week “improve your 5K” experiment.  CF London will offer a full 8 week online programme that you can either follow at home or come and join us at the Crossfit Endurance classes (CFE).

The plan is as follows:

  1. Run/Walk a 5K before Monday 4th July
  2. Follow the 8 week running programme (check the crossfitlondon website for video’s and coaching tips)
  3. Let us know what other physical activities you do during the 8 weeks
  4. Re-test your 5K

As part of the experiment we would also like to know what other physical activities you participate in during the 8 weeks.  Do you play a sport, do you use a gym, do you Crossfit, or will you do additional running during the 8 weeks?  An online blog will be available for you to record your training session during the 8-week programme.

The Crossfit Endurance (CFE) classes on Wednesday and Saturday will follow the 8-week programme as the main session focus.  Participants will also get the chance to improve their running technique with numerous POSE running drills:

Learn to improve your running technique:

  1. Use gravity (via a forward lean) for forward motion
  2. Land on the balls of your feet
  3. Never fully straighten the your legs
  4. Pull each foot of the ground towards your butt
  5. Maintain a least 180 steps per minute


The Crossfit movement is about being wholly promiscuous with our knowledge: Hence we want to giver you our suggested programme. Our training looks to support you as an athlete (if you want to run 5k, believe us, you are an athlete).



Week 1 (Monday 4th July)

Monday (or your starting day) A 5k time trial

Wednesday: 8 x 100m Time Trail w/ 2min rest between

Saturday: 6 x 200m Time Trial w/ 3min rest between



Week 2 (Monday 11th July)

Monday 6 x 100m Time Trail w/ 1 minute rest

Wednesday: 4 x 400m Time Trail w/ 3min rest between

Saturday: 2 x 800m Time Trial w/ 3min rest between



Week 1 and 2 Summary


Mcmillan Run Calculator


Week 3 (Monday 18th July)

Monday: 6 x 100m Time Trail w/ 1min rest between

Wednesday: 4 x 200m Time Trial w/ 90sec rest between, 2 x 400m w/ 3min rest between

Saturday: 2 x 1K Tempo w/ 3min rest between


Your “Tempo” time fot the 1K session should be taken from the Mcmillan Run Calculator
1. Visit the link above
2. Select the 800m radio button and enter your average 800m time from week 2. Then click calculate
3. In the “Speed Workouts” section lookup the 1000m “Middle Distance Runners” estimated times
4. These times are your estimated 85-95% maximum efforts over 1000m. Your goal for this session is to run the 1000m between these times. I know you can run it faster than this, but DONT! You need to learn to pace yourself.


Week 4 (Monday 25th July)

Monday: 4 x 200m Time Trail w/ 2min rest between

Wednesday: 4 x 200m Time Trail w/ 90sec rest between, 2 x 400m Time Trail w/ 3min rest between

Saturday: 2 x 1K Tempo w/ 3min rest between



Week 5 (Monday 1st August)

Monday: 2x 100m Time Trail w/ 1min rest between, 2 x 400m Time Trail w/ 3min rest between

Wednesday: 4 x 200m Time Trail w/ 2min rest between, 1 x 800m Time Trail

Saturday: 4 x 500m Time Trial, rest the same time taken to run the previous 500m


Week 6 (Monday 8th August)

Monday: Tabata = 8 rounds of 20 seconds on 10 seconds rest, maximal effort.

Wednesday: 5 x 100m Time Trail w/ 60sec rest between, 5 x 200m Time Trail w/ 2min rest between

Saturday: 3 x 800m Tempo w/ 3min rest between


Week 7 (Monday 15th August)

Monday: 5 x 200m Time Trail w/ 2min rest between

Wednesday: 4 x 400m Time Trail w/ 2:30 between each

Saturday: 2 x 1200m Time Trial with 3min rest between


Week 8 (Monday 22 August)

Monday: 6 x 200m Time Trail w/ 90sec rest between

Wednesday: 8 x 100m Tempo w/ 60sec between

Friday: Tabata = 8 rounds of 20 seconds on 10 seconds rest, 80-90% effort.

Saturday: 5K TT


If you have any question about the programme please post to the comments on this page and we will answer.

44 thoughts on “Crossfit London 5K Experiment:

  1. I’m well up for this, although I’m on holiday for the last 3 weeks it shouldn’t be a problem keeping up with the sessions.

    Will the blog be available soon?

  2. Hey Jeff, we will get the blog up this week. We are also planning to post a weekly video to explain the design and objective of each training session. Stay tuned for all the action 😉

  3. Hi Stretch, you don’t know me but I am an occasional attendee at Crossfit London. I was at Efe’s Crossfit Endurance class last Wednesday. I would like to participate in this experiment! Hook me up with some sprint repeats!

  4. hmm, i was thinking that we would use the comments section, here, as a blog….would that work? ( sorry, my fault for poor guidance)

    i was assuming we expand the main post, like we did in the burpee challenge, and people comment below.

    open for a better idea.

  5. Ok – initial 5k completed this morning at Parkrun event on Wanstaed Flats.
    Course was off-road; a mixture of grass, bridleway and trail – quite hot in the open.
    Got round in 19.35.

  6. i hate 5k’s.

    I only ever seem to run it these days at 28 minutes.( a total plod!!) I dont seem to have the heart to race it….this should do me the world of good,

    come on everyone, get your times down


  7. I know what you mean Andrew about having the heart to race 5K. I can only manage that in a real race. And then I seem to be able to get the adrenaline going sufficiently to knock around 1.5 to 2 mins off my usual mile pace! But the rest of the time I can’t stand that amount of pain/discomfort.

    Won’t be able to join in the fun this time around as have two many deadlines at work over the next few months before my holiday in early September. A pity but maybe next time.

  8. Hey Stretch,

    Just saw your vid on Facebook. So I’m a little behind. Will do my time trial tomorrow. Does it matter if I miss the week 1 training or should I just squeeze it in sat and sun?

    I’ve just started training for round the bay Melbourne so have been on this doozy of an Exercycle. Circa 1984 complete with manual resistance adjuster (tighten the brakes on back wheel) even has speedo and odometer – love it.

    Will work in this experiment with the round the bay training.


  9. Hey Matt,
    glad to see you can join in the 5k fun from Australia. The “Round the bay” in a day is a bloody impressive achievement champ, best of luck with the training.

    Re: 5K – don’t worry that you are 1 week behind. Just start this week as week 1, you will only be 1 week behind. Promis we wont add this to your final 5K result ( Matt took 1week 21min and 5 sec to run a 5k) 😉

  10. Sorry to be so far behind – that’s me and running all over.
    This morning I put my Nike hat and Crossfit London waterproof on, and ran my first ever 5k – in the rain.
    Time 42.09
    Crap. I’m no runner, but I’d like to improve. Will try to keep up with the schedule somehow.

  11. I also am planning on starting this a week behind. Will try and do a refresher 5k this weekend in alicante even though it will probably cost me data roaming charges to use my endomodo fitness app for the distance!!!

  12. the beauty of this experiment is that you can start it anytime you like. The schedule is there!

    And kate… well done baby, I love you.

    And actually Brie, thanks for bringing up the app issue. If theres a GPS app people are using, dont hesitate to put a link up to it with your review.

    ill do saturdays running wod in Bath!

  13. I’m also starting a week late! Will do my time trial on Monday! Thought I could fit it in at the weekend but it looks like that isn’t going to happen!

  14. end of week 1.. did 5 x 200m, plus a 1000m run “home”.

    Sort of screwed this up as I didn’t have training time left in the day, just “going to somewhere time” so guesstimated 200m as i ran, then walked for approx 3 minutes. then ran again managed 5 rounds that got me to my destination. Then ran home.

    i need to work out some measured distances…still, began to “believe” i can run faster.

  15. Eeek – schedule got messed up by having to do fun run on Wednesday with work. 5.6km – horrible distance. Really sore calf muscles for two days afterwards. Wil be startng the sessions in earnest this week.

  16. SO. I TOTALLY screwed up my time trial this morning. I mapped out my route last night and plumped for running around the outer circle in Regent’s Park. I chose anti-clockwise and went for it. I didn’t realise that running anti-clockwise was on a decline for about three quarters of the route! So there – was running around muttering to myself (in my mind, of course) “this is so cheating!”. Then I got to the end of where the 5K should have ended and THEN realised that “Do Workout” on my GPS watch doesn’t actually mean “Start Workout”.

    I will do it again tomorrow!

  17. All is going fine so far, did the 100m’s with Efe on Weds and did the 200’s on Sat in the local park. 200’s were coming in between 34 & 36 secs.
    Also did supplementary milage this week of about 20-25 miles mixed trail & road,mostly slow plus 4 WODs. Will try to be more accurate with my mileage next week.
    Incidently, if anyone lives in the Wantead/Leytonstone area there is a nice running track marked onto the grass next to the start of the Wanstead flats parkrun. But be warned, it is HALF SIZE so is 200m around the inside lane instead of the usual 400m.

  18. I’m a bit of a latecomer to the experiment, but recorded a 29:00 5km on Saturday. Looking forward to the 8x100m tonight.

  19. Right…so slightly back to front, but then I only started on Saturday. The hammies were still tingling from the 200m sets on Saturday. As suspected, I have a real issue with my running at the moment – completed in well over my PB in 23.18. And I Corssfitted this morning. Going to try and do week 2 on my stag party in Spain this week. The only way is up.

  20. Im not a fan of running anything longer than 200m but I am looking forward to seeing how beneficial this is going to be (As i am with every aspect of Crossfit)


  21. Up at the crack of dawn this morning for 8x100m sprint. Unfortunately when I got to the grass track it was only 90m, so did 9x90m instead. I shaved a bit off the rest time as well. I am not sure that this was a good thing as I struggled to maintain consistency (varying between 14 and 18secs).

  22. So I’ve got two 5km time trials – one on Hampstead Heath (hilly!) at 25.45, and then the 5.6km corporate challenge. If I take 50/56 of that time, it’s 24.48 to beat!
    Got some new ‘barefoot’ stylee trainers on the way too! Whoop whoop!

  23. week 2, struggling with i-phone as a timer, but 6 x 100m, 1minute rest. between 14 and 16secs

  24. I had a similar three second spread but was about a second slower overall.
    It seems to take me about 40m to accelerate to anything resembling a sprint!

    It’s interesting to note that the fastest ever 100m was actually the second leg of Michael Johnson’s 200m in Atlanta in 1996 at 9.19 seconds.
    So drop the i-phone Andrew and you could knock another second off 😉

    120 years of training , nutrition, footwear etc have only seen a 1.22 second difference in the 100m world record, so cherish every second you can knock off, they’re hard to come by!

  25. So I had an #epicfail time trial this morning. Got lost so went off mapped and confirmed 5k route. Stopped when Endomondo said I’d run 3.4 miles but when I got back to my office and mapped it out I’d only run 2.7 miles. However, based on this time I can project (and will use this as my very unscientific baseline) that I would have completed in 33.45 – slow but steady! I also had a 4kg backpack on…. so I suppose if I do the final run without one that alone would speed me up.

    I am a hindrance to science!!!

  26. Brie – you are a machine, add an extra 4kg to put us all to shame!!! It’s not Seal Crossfit… Very impressed with you persistance and scientific calculations. Keep it up champ!!

  27. Cheers Stretch. I finished at the bench about 100 metres short in 19.45. Really enjoying the crossfit endurance and feeling the benefits of pose already.

  28. Did the 200’s in 39 secs and the 400’s in 1:35 and 1:31
    400’s felt real hard though.

    Good luck to all doing this with Efe tonight 😉

  29. Hi Stretch! I was just jotting the plan into my training diary and noticed that in Week 5 it says “Saturday: 4 x 500m Time Trial, rest the same time taken to run the previous 500m”

    500m isn’t mentioned anywhere prior to this?

    I need to do a Crossfit endurance class soon and get some tips on the POSE running technique.

    1. Hi Jenny, 
         the rest period is based on the each 500m intervals you run during this session.  
      1. Run 1st 500m
      2. Rest the same time it has taken you to run the 1st 500m
      3. Run 2nd 500m
      4. Rest the same time it has taken you to run the 2nd 500m

      Hope this helps

  30. Rather late to the 5k challenge, but starting 5k time is 24.16, not on the Vicky park track, but round Reading university… so I’m not 100% on the accuracy and it’s a little bit hilly (always fun)

  31. Experiment review. 

    On the 12 of August we took the decision to suspend this experiment. We discovered that the injury rate ( among those who reported) was too high. Some nasty shin splints and plantar fasciitis. Many reasons were suggested, but as one of Crossfit london’s sport injury massage team,  i felt the reasons was to do with poor running mechanics among the participants.)

  32. i was asked today to expand a bit on this experiment and its termination as it was possible that it could be interpreted as a failure or criticism of regimes or individuals. No such negative conclusions can be drawn. As with Long Slow distance, “high intensity, never run the competitive distance” also have their fans , advocates, and detractors.Tthe adoption within individual regimes seems to be a matter of faith rather than “scientific fact”. As an overview, people run fast times on LSD regimes, High intensity regimes, and mixed regimes. The reality is that the whole debate is a linguistic nightmare. What is LSD, what is High intensity. We once had a trainee who declared anything over 200m was LSD ( well, for him it was). Kate famously stated that if God had ment her to run, she would have put diamonds at the end of the alley ( instead of that enraged rabid dog we once had to run past).

    If this experiment lacked anything it was the understanding that when taken out of the safety of a crossfit workout, running as the only component of a series of high intensity sessions, either needs a well bedded in and strengthened style ( all be it bad), or a well developed “good technique”.

    For future regular high intensity running wods that appear as part of a series ( ie mon, wed, fri), we need to insist that the clients are up to it. in short our error was to attempt to produce a regime that everyone could use.

    What was interesting was seeing some of our runners really struggle with the sprints. especially those who claimed to have already incorporated sprints into their present regime. They must have been really slow sprints!

    That said, i notice those who tend to do well at Crossfit London . tend to be the cyclists. I would almost go as far to say that our most successful athletes build an element of Long slow distance into their daily lives by cycling to and from work ( Think, Craig, Simon, helen, trevor, katarina, Ben, Chris W, Sally, Efe and the others ) .

    maybe the body finds it relaxing to be active rather than hunched up in a tube or bus. Maybe it likes a bit of low intensity rhythmic movement. Certainly our future focus will be to talk to more and more experts, accept and embrace their biases, and Learn from the thousands of years of running experience we ought to have accumulated.

    So keep an eye out for the soon to be launched monthly running session ( 1st one 1st October) where we will cover the basics of the mechanics you need, targeted injury prevention and treatment and a whirl of alternative scheduling ideas, along with the opportunity of meeting and hearing leading runners and researchers. 1st off, Emily Gelder .

    So Thanks to those who took part: Do let us know if you made it all the way through this ( without nipping off for a fix of LSD!!), and even if you did sneak a cheeky 20k run in , tell us anyway! The regime is still available to follow.

    This was a great experiment: It went wrong, and we learned. Thats what experiments do. Otherwise it would have been in an Ebook costing £5

  33. This reminds me of a problem we had when I was running middle distance. Generally the most injuries occurred in the transition phase between the cross-country season and the start of training on the track for 800m and 1500m. Here athletes were hit with a double whammy of moving into more speed orientated work and training on the harder tartan surface compared to grass. Most of the injuries tended to be calf strains, shin splints and achillies problems
    My coach to avoid this did more of the speed work on grass transitioning to the track gradually. This left us a little undercooked for the county championship in early May but avoided injuries occurring.
    I remember for athletes coming back from more serious shin splint type injuries he would have them doing all the sessions on grass for a 6 month period. We never did any ‘sprint work’ on concrete the shortest type work would be 500/600m reps with 2 mins recovery being about the shortest.
    In fact we did very little sprinting, in general most of the track sessions aimed to replicate 800m and 1500m race pace. Nor was too much emphasis placed on running drills we did bum flicks, high knees and skipping but more as a ritual before the start of the session rather than any serious attempt to correct bio-mechanics.

Comments are closed.

Pin It on Pinterest