How To Prepare For An Adventure Race?

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By joining CrossFit South of course! Whether you’re doing your first 5K adventure race like the Warrior Dash, or getting ready for a longer race like a Spartan Beast or Tough Mudder, we can help you get there!

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In January, I signed up for the Tough Mudder with barely any running experience. I hate running. I like to lift heavy things and then slam them on the ground! My cardio isn’t too bad, I still do the occasional WOD at the gym and throw in some rowing to supplement my weightlifting. But I usually avoid any running over 400m. I had a wake-up call when a workout involved a 2000m run before doing some wall balls, muscle ups, more wall balls, power cleans, and more running. I came back from the run and my heel cords were on fire! My feet hurt so bad, and my calves were so tight, that I fell onto my back on my first attempt at a wall ball throw! Going from the “couch to a 2K” was disastrous, how would I be able to run a half marathon obstacle course in four months?! The last time I did the Tough Mudder I did not prepare at all and it went horribly. I had no problem with the obstacles, but I died on the run. My feet went numb and my legs cramped. I had to walk most of the course, which meant my team had to walk with me. I didn’t want a repeat of events this time so I made a plan!

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CAN YOU DO IT?

If you can run a mile, you can run a Tough Mudder. Even though it’s a 12-mile event, there is never really any time during the race that you have more than a mile of running between obstacles. And there’s no rule that says you have to run! Plus, these races aren’t really races. Unless you have a watch on you (or if you sign up for a timed heat), you won’t know how long it took you. It’s about the adventure, it’s about having fun, and most of all it’s about teamwork. Even if you run it by yourself, everybody out there is on your team and will gladly help you overcome the obstacles. A lot of times you’ll be helping a stranger over a wall or through the mud. The camaraderie is amazing!

BABY STEPS

After that disastrous 2K run, I knew I could no longer skip the running workouts. I write up the programming at CrossFit South, and yet I would cherry pick and skip most of the running workouts. Well no more! Instead of diving headfirst, I took a slower approach. What’s a mile? Sixteen-hundred meters. Well I had trouble with a running a little over a mile, so let’s go smaller. What’s a mile? 4 rounds of 400m. Yeah, that sounds better. I can run 400m without dying. I started to program running into workouts at least once a week, and it was usually 400m repeats with some barbell work or gymnastics in between. I knew I wasn’t going to be the fastest in these workouts since I’m a big dude: 6’2″ and about 245# at the beginning of the year. So instead I took this time to focus on technique. Eventually I would get faster.

 

If I only ran 400m repeats, I’d definitely get better at running short distances, but I knew I needed to run more. I programmed longer runs in our workouts, and I would try to complete them, but I still had to scale a few workouts. I kept at this for a few weeks and then I decided to test my progress.

course

I took a trip to the intramural fields on the UGA campus and ran the trails one day. I had no idea where I was going, I just kept taking right turns until I saw my car parked across the lake. When I got back I found out the course I took was a mile and a half! Didn’t set any records (over a 10-minute mile), but I jogged the whole time without stopping! My heel cords were a little inflamed at the end, but no where near the agony I experienced a few months prior.

THE PLAN

The workouts that I had been doing definitely helped. I didn’t do much running (less than 2 miles a week), yet I made progress. So how much more could I improve?

At CrossFit South, we offer more than just a daily WOD. You can click on the little blue “WODs” button on our main page to get a taste of what we have to offer. But our members get access to a lot more programming options. For those that want to focus on strength, we offer a “Barbell Club” track that includes daily programming for the snatch and clean & jerk. Some people want to get better at bodyweight movements so we program for them with our “Gymnasty” track. Since I rowed for a little bit in college, and the fact that the UGA Crew team practices at CFS, I programmed rowing workouts in “Ready, Set, Row!”. Over time, the latter evolved to include running workouts to help our members improve their aerobic capacity. All our members have access to these programs on their smartphone via our SugarWOD app. They can come in any time that we’re open to work on those skills.

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So to meet my goals, I did Barbell Club two or three times a week and a CrossFit WOD twice a week. When I had time to go to the track, I would do one of the Ready, Set, Row track workouts. This way I got some much needed running work outside of what I program in our group classes. Since changing up my training at the beginning of the year I’ve lost weight, my conditioning has greatly improved, and I’m getting faster at running (lowered that trail loop time down to an 8-minute mile pace!). I’m still not a good runner by any stretch of the imagination, but I definitely don’t hate it as much.

The Tough Mudder has come and gone. It wasn’t as bad as years prior since I decided to train for it. The running was still the hardest part for me, but my feet didn’t go numb and I didn’t cramp up! I ran most of it, but I hit a wall past the halfway point. I kinda forgot to eat breakfast and ran out of energy. Live and learn!!

At the finish line you have to run through muddy water and over small hay bales…all while trying to avoid electrified wires blocking your path! I was so tired at this point each zap knocked me down to the ground! I got hit about four times before I reached the end.

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Couldn’t have done it without my training partner, Krista! She kept me moving the whole time, and did her best to motivate me when I wouldn’t shut up about being hungry or complaining about all the running! To her a “short run” is at least 5 miles. To me a short run is to the car when it’s raining….

Here’s a picture of her at the finish line running through the electric wires…that’s a face of panic!

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So if you’re interested in getting healthier, whether that’s stronger, faster, or to just look better naked, come check us out! You’ve got nothing to lose with our FREE TRIAL, and we can show you everything else we have to offer. We have group classes, specialized programming, personal training, and nutritional coaching!

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And finally, here’s a short compilation of some of the Tough Mudder we ran. The camera I was wearing was rated for 5 hours, but it died after an hour and a half!!