In a previous post I talked about theme running events. Being unfamiliar with these types of runs prior, I was very excited by them. I'll be honest, I REALLY wanted to do the zombie one, but I was too late to register for one in Seattle, so I signed up for the Tough Mudder in October. This event is much more intimidating than the zombie run and I was not entirely sure how to train for it exactly. After bombing Bloomsday two years ago having pulled a calf due to my lack of road running I have accepted the fact that I am old enough to do better.
I tried to follow rather general training principle that I use for any activity, match your workouts as closely as possible to the event in quiestion. We do this all the time in our programming. For tennis or golf we incorporate movements which will aid in shoulder mobility and rotation. A marathoner or triahtlete will build over weeks up to the race day load so that the body is familiar with the stresses placed on it. And on and on... However, I just wasn't sure how to get close to 12 miles and 25 physical obstacles.
It might seem obvious now, but I’ll admit it took me a week of treadmill/weight lifting circuits to realize that playground equipment was the better fit. A large open space to run on for about 1/2 mile or so and fixed sturdy equipment that I can use to move my body around on.
The event’s obstacles vary but in general the difficult ones emphasize upper body pulling and pushing such as, log carrying, wall climbing, pulling yourself out of the ice-water dunking area, etc. So, as I come to a stop near the play equipment, I’ll grab the monkeybars and do pull-ups, then switch to pushups or some squats, If there’s a bench I’ll do dips or step ups. Some challenges also require jumping or leaping so doing a set of short sprints or pretend basketball layups will really boost the heart rate. It varies and I usually go for about 2 minutes. After that, I’m back to the field for more jogging. Yes, it probably looks ridiculous, that's the nice thing about ear buds....I don't hear people wondering what the hell I'm doing on a children's playground.
Since the event is not timed, I’m not really concerned with my running pace, just completing the run/obstacle/run/obstacle format. The trick to increasing the number of circuits is to use the jog as your rest period. It’s challenging, so I’m also spending a lot of time stretching out.
Try the playground workout as a fun change up to a boring road run that incorporates some strength work. Regular cardio/strength circuits are fun too, but it’s nice to be outside while you can.
The double bonus was taking Jack with me once and he played with a friend he saw while I worked out. Initially, he said he would run with me a little bit but when he saw his friend, he was off and gone. So, working out while he plays pirates beats sitting on a park bench buried in my iPhone.
Speaking of iPhone - Needing some new music. U2 and some Arcade Fire mixes. Alternative Cardio Pandora station is good too. Still, I could use something new. Suggestions?
Running events have been one of the most popular public fitness related activities in history. I would say that swimming is probably right in there as well. Yet, of all those thousands of participants, over time immemorial you haven’t been one of them. Oh, perhaps you started a training program and intended to sign up for a 10k, but after a few weeks slogging along the road at 6:30 in the morning it just wasn’t that fun. It could be that you are an old hand at Bloomsday and it’s just not holding it’s appeal anymore. Been there, done that.
If only there were a way to look forward to an event with excitement, pure fun, ridiculousness, or even a little danger? That’s currently one of the fastest growing movements in the business of exercise. Theme events. From charity runs with doughnuts(best rest area ever) to insane adventure runs, these events put less emphasis on time and effort and more on fun and accomplishment.
Here are a few events to throw that much needed wrinkle into your straight and steady workout programs:
Training can get stale, whether it is running 5 days a week, or strength training regularly. Switching it up often can be helpful, but sometimes we just need something to look forward to. Most training blogs or articles (including ours) tend to focus on sets, reps, loading techniques, technical form tweaks, and other serious fitness topics. That’s all good, however, as insane or as silly as these events might be, I think they all come from a similar premise which I tend to agree with. Physical fitness should be an enjoyable part of life and these events can certainly be part of that lifestyle.
Me and my iPhone - This week has been Crystal Method Pandora station. Got some good runs in, including one with the nephew which was fun, I won’t say who got home first. Kettlebells and more kettlebells!