Fitness Training and Obstacle Racing

The Pain Before the Storm

Happy Canada Day! I know it’s coming a bit late, but I hope everyone enjoyed the weekend.

True to my nature I spent some time training. The session I want to talk about is the workout I did with my OCR team (Soldiers of Fitness group who sponsors this website and podcast). Before I talk about the actual workout – it was tough – let’s talk about a few other things. All of our workouts are tough but this one took a good deal of energy out of me. More importantly, it left me sore the next day. DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Fatigue or Soreness) is what we feel when we wake up the next day sore. Now what we do with this information is important.

My workout plan today (one day after that team workout) I had planned to do 400 meter repeats x 8 with a 200 meter sprint finish and 5 burpees between all efforts. Total time for me on this workout is about 25 – 26 minutes. But when I woke up this morning my body was sore and I knew if I pushed it to perform at this level, not only would my time be down because I’m sore and tired, but I’d be frustrated from it and might get injured from pushing my muscles, ligaments and tendons too hard.

The important thing to remember is that if our bodies don’t recover and regenerate, we’re effectively beating up an already beaten muscle. Damage to muscles from exercise is how we see results (the right kind of damage). Our bodies go through adaptation to the load and rebuild stronger to be better capable of the load the next time we perform the exercise. But if we do damage and the muscle doesn’t have time to repair, then we beat it up again, there’s no adaptation process and we see no results.

And while you might talk to your friends about how tough you are when you don’t sleep all night and this goes on for days – your coach is shaking his/her head and so is any athlete worth his/her salt. No sleep = no repair to damaged tissues. DOMS is a sign of needing more rest.

So, what did I do today? I ran a 30 minute slower than usual tempo, focusing on toe striking and a 180bpm stride frequency. Notice how I didn’t just sit on my butt and do nothing? Yes, sometimes we do need that. Occasionally we need the extra sleep. But don’t mistake soreness for laziness and do nothing for three days until the stiffness is gone. Light activity is often a great solution. You can work on mobility, strength of muscles that aren’t sore, or even go on easy recovery runs for time (when we go for distance we seem to always be racing a pace, so I prefer time for easy runs – e.g. 20 minutes easy pace).

The ultimate message here? A sufferfest every day will not get you maximum results. You need good programming and an awareness of how your body is responding to what you’re trying to do to it. Don’t rush to be good at something you just started – you’ll get injured and spend more time back on your butt where you want to spend no time.

The purpose of this workout below was training mechanics and completing intervals. We were focusing on getting heart rates really high, then recovering when it was our partners turn.

Without further delay, here is the workout that kicked my ass yesterday:

20-minute jog warm-up
Mobility and movement

2 exercises in groups of 2
Group 1 – Sled push 90lbs from cone to cone taking turns when required for 5 minutes
Group 2 – Ring Pull-ups sets of 5 switching back and forth with partner for 5 minutes

Group 1 – Two Sandbag Walk (one shoulder, one hand) 6 minutes, switching every minute
Group 2 – One Leg Stair Jump x 10 per leg and switch partners

Group 1 – 10 sandbag thrusters, 10 archer rows, 10 burpees and run to the treeline and back x 3 rounds
Group 2 – Tire Drag run taking turns until Group 1 is complete (no walking if possible, switch more often)

Group 1 – V-sit-ups x 10, plank supermans x 10 per arm, 10 mountaineers x 3 rounds
Group 2 – Towel hangs x max time take turns

Group 1 – Box jump bounds x 10 then switch with partner for 5 rounds per side
Group 2 – One arm hang each side for max time per arm, then KB bottoms up waiting for next turn


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