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Bodyweight How to run 5 miles, do 500 pushups, 500 squats in 1 workout

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Ryan R

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There is a Crossfit WOD called Shawn that I've been interested in doing since I first heard about it. Basically, you run 5 miles, but after each 5-minute interval you have to do 50 pushups and 50 air squats. I've trained for strength for many years. I've also run 10 miles before, but never married the two into a workout like this.

I'm curious how you all would program to be able to accomplish this workout and not have it take several hours. How much running is necessary to train for it? How much of programming would be focused on conditioning? strength? endurance?

For reference, my strength is above average. I'd have to bring my endurance up to speed since I haven't been focused on that for a while.

Appreciate the input!
First off, can you run 5 miles straight? If not, that's one goal. Goal two would be acheiving 500 squats and 500 pushups in a single day. Since I'm assuming this Wod is a sort of challenge, you can build up to it instead of approaching it like its something you would do on the regular.

For pushups/squats, I would use greasing the groove (GtG). Test your repetition max of pushups and then do sets of half that throughout the day. You should never be grinding a set. You could probably do the same for bodyweight squats, though I bet you'll hit your goal with those quicker. I would do something like wave loading, but GtG style. Slowly build the volume over the course of the week, taking rest days when needed (especially after the highest volume day), then start the wave over at a lightly higher point that last time.

Once you can do 500 reps total of each in a day, and you can run 5 miles without issue, start combining the two. Or, you can alternate days of running + pushups and squats with days of just doing GtG. I'm sure you will have to get somewhat used to doing the combination of running and pushups/squats before you do the full challenge.

I'm tagging @pet' because I think he does lots of running and bodyweight stuff, and also @mikhael because he's a pushup machine.
Hello @Ryan R

@bluejeff gave you excellent content here.

Do you consider Shawn as a challenge (and then something you work towards) or as something you want to do "day in day out" (in this case, you do not "max out") ?

First, I'll start with the easiest part: push ups and squats:
As mentioned by @bluejeff , GTG is probably the best thing to do. For this to be effective: do your max (A), divide it by 2 (B). Do as much sets as you want of B during the day. You stop when your form is not perfect anymore. You can do this up to 5-6 days a weeks.

Another option which also use GTG is performing one arm push ups. It will naturally transfer to muscle endurance (what you need for this event), but you'll gain strength in the meanwhile. This is the option I would chose.

Now, some maths:
Assuming you can do 8 minute / miles, it will be a 40 minutes run. Therefore, it will be 8 sets to perform, for both push ups and squats. 8 x 50 = 400. As @bluejeff said, 500 is a good goal because you'll accumulate fatigue during the event.

Second, the running portion:
Usually, as far as running goes, at least for small distance, one can increase the distance by roughly 5% per week. As always, technique is paramount, so first, I'd work on that.

There are several way to train for this.
Here are the two options I'd consider:
1. I'd do 2-3 miles 3-4 times a week, at easy pace (nasal breathing). 1 per week, do "speed work" (800 or 400m interval).
2. 3x sessions a week:
session a: long easy run (4-5 miles, nasal breathing)
session b: tempo run (400 or 800m interval or 8 x (30" @80% then 30" easy)
session c: sprint interval: 10 x 25m or 10 x 50. You stop when power output decrease.
[optional: session d: moderately long run: 2-3 miles, nasal breathing, easy pace)

Wrapping it up:
GTG is not very demanding. You can almost do it day in day out. For running, it will be 2-4 sessions per week.

Once you are comfortable with running 5 miles in let say 45 minutes, start adding 1 set of push ups and squats every 10 minutes. When comfortable doing so, every 7 minutes or so. Working on this kind of moves durining running makes running again hard because it "breaks" the pace.

It will be more focus on endurance than strength, especially if you do GTG with the first option.

Also, work on some pulling exercise, such as rowing or pull ups to balance the push ups.

Kind regards,

5-hundos a day is easy to achieve, but you have to build endurance to that. Start from 200, that's just 10 sets of 20 in GTG form. If you take GTG approach remember to not go all-out in each set. For 5mi straight, well, just run and don't stop until finish.
@bluejeff I could probably grind out 5 miles but not at the level I'd need to be at to do this challenge. I like the progression you provided - it makes sense and seems manageable. Thanks for the help!

@pet' I consider Shawn a challenge - sort of a bucket list challenge. In regards to the one-arm pushups, I like the idea, but I'm curious if you think other modalities for pressing would be better, such as barbell bench press? I know I posted this in bodyweight, but I have access to pretty much any modality either at my gym or home. Bench press may train absolute strength better but not sure if that might interfere with training for Shawn. Also, for the running technique - Do you have a suggestion? I read The Cool Impossible by Eric Orton. His ideas about running form seemed interesting but haven't committed to trying his plan yet. Thank you for the advice!

@mikhael I appreciate the simplicity of your post. Valuable perspective thank you!
Do you have to do sets of 50 push-ups and 50 squats? Or can you superset them, pyramiding up to 7 and then down again? Because that's what I'd do.
This is a great idea. I don't see why not. Kind of an obscure WOD I found online so I can get it done however I want really. That's actually part of the allure of it to me - I can't find anywhere online someone actually doing the workout. I was talking to some Crossfit friends of mine today and they both were saying this WOD seems harder than Murph, which is saying a lot.
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