I have always despised running and I generally don’t follow a strict “training program” simply because I enjoy exercising and don’t have a specific goal to achieve with it. Now there are times when I have Spartan Races or other mud runs coming up and I will alter my training slightly to suit their demands. But then again, I’ve never taken on the task of running a half marathon distance Spartan Race and chased that with a full marathon eight weeks later!
On September 13, 2014 I will be running my first Spartan Beast which is a 13+ mile obstacle race with trails, mountains, mud, water, barbed wire, walls, ropes, spear throws etc. It is one of the most defining tests of what the primal human is capable of as it tests your endurance, strength, skill, and resolve. And then in November I have the Surfer’s Point Full Marathon. Two very demanding runs for someone who has pretty much always hated running!
I have done numerous Spartans and other mud runs as long as 12 miles and have pretty much just “shown up” meaning that I didn’t really cater my training to what was ahead of me. And for many of these races, especially the longer ones, I suffered through them. I have never had a “did not complete” but I very rarely finished a race and felt like I performed to the best of my abilities. That doesn’t sit too well with me, especially since I’m my own toughest critic. So I have taken it upon myself to adopt more of an endurance training system to help me accomplish my goals and upcoming races. I will say that 5 weeks into my endurance training I am starting to really enjoy running, especially the trail runs where it’s early in the morning and there’s nobody else on the trails. It’s extremely peaceful even with my headphones blasting some old Killswitch Engage tunes!
Here is a list of what I’ve learned about endurance training…… formerly known as “My Arch Nemesis”
1. I can actually run!
I think my biggest hesitation to running before was that I never felt like I could do it well. Generally running isn’t something that 200 lb men excel at!
2. I can still get my high intensity workout in:
While a long run is very exhausting, the recovery is relatively short. And after about a 10-15 minute recovery period after my hour long run, I am totally capable of tearing up a short high intensity workout. One of my recent favorites is 5 rounds of the following circuit. 10 Kettlebell swings, 5 Pull Ups, 10 Burpees.
3. I can spend even more time with my daughter:
I sometimes will run with my soon to be two year old daughter. The jogging stroller is well designed and probably can’t be improved much but it still adds a new dynamic and difficulty to the run. I have two separate time standards when I run, They are With or Without a stroller. I am usually at least a minute/mile slower with the stroller.
4. It can still be a social workout
My history with working out and training has always been very social. I have always been able to train harder and more effective when I have people all around me. It’s not that I’m super competitive, but I lack motivation when I’m by myself
5. I’ve stopped listening to all the haters
The fitness community can be very black or white when it comes to long distance running. With the fast twitch guys saying that running in unnatural and it will destroy your joints and your muscles with shrivel up and disappear. And the runners saying that everyone else is a bunch of meatheads and are too lazy to put in the effort to become a runner.
All in all, I’m up for a challenge. I’m not saying that I will turn into an endurance junky but I love exploring all corners of fitness. If I’m not trying new things and pushing my boundaries than I’m just being stubborn and stagnant!