Burning Runner: The Injury Prevention Overhaul

Competitor's T.J. Murphy is seeking injury prevention, a power diet, revitalized form and high performance. Will he find it?

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Competitor’s T.J. Murphy is seeking injury prevention, a power diet, revitalized form and high performance. Will he find it?

Written by: T.J. Murphy

As I’ve reported, a week before Christmas I was not a runner but a tangled mess of injury. I’d been talking to Brian MacKenzie, founder of Crossfit Endurance, about making the jump from my many years as a Lydiard/LSD runner into someone who uses the CF Endurance approach. First thing he did was having me see Crossfit San Francisco’s Kelly Starrett, a mobility and movement expert with a doctorate in physical therapy. I limped in to see Kelly and haven’t limped a step since. I was sold.

What is Crossfit Endurance? Below are a few excerpts from

“Power and speed are critical components to success in the endurance world,” it reads. “With careful planning, our strength and conditioning plan increases these two mainstays of performance while decreasing recovery time, reducing injury, promoting preservation of lean tissue and creating a more sustainable performance curve.”

MacKenzie himself is an accomplished ultrarunner (as in 100-milers on the trail, as a matter of fact), but he doesn’t look like your average ultra guy. He’s built like a college cornerback. This is why:

“We focus on eliminating unnecessary volume of training while increasing intensity.  Our programming is structured, sport-specific and seamlessly integrated with Olympic lifts, power lifting, gymnastics movements, explosive activity and mobility-based support. We focus on midline stabilization and working from inside to out.”

As to the specific component of Crossfit training:

“We incorporate the CrossFit fundamentals of being constantly varied.  Repetition is the enemy and results in a decreased ability to build fitness. Make no doubt. Our program is not easy. But we believe the journey is part of making the results more rewarding. Our design is to maximize you as an athlete and to elevate your fitness.”

Make no mistake, when I first looked into a program that was built around a maximum of three running workouts per week my first thought was, ‘Well, maybe I’ll do the CF Endurance program but add another three days of running.” But after talking to those who, like me, came from a Lydiard-style background but had made the jump and loved it, I was ready. The last 10 years I’ve been the train wreck that never came to a stop. Since doing something the same, over and over, and expecting different results is the definition of insanity, I’m ready for something new.

The Burning Runner Overhaul Synopsis

Goal Number 1: Unbroken Runner. In November/December my right knee shut down due to 25 years of poor running technique, biomechanics and muscular imbalances. The team of coaches and physical therapists I’m working with has this as a goal: overhaul my weaknesses, replace them with strengths, and prepare my body for an April 50K trail race.

The Working Toolbox:

Crossfit Endurance Training

Paleo Diet

Mobility Training



T.J. Murphy is the Editorial Director of Competitor Magazine. A 2:38 marathoner and five-time Ironman finisher, he is the former editorial director of Triathlete Magazine and Inside Triathlon. His writing has also appeared in Outside Magazine and Runner’s World.