I covered 75 miles during the 2013 WTM. This year I plan on beating that. Here is 3 adjustments I am making to my training from last year to accomplish that.
1. Run more, Run longer
Last year I thought that total mileage was all that counted towards becoming a better endurance athlete. So I would run a few miles in the morning before and after my Crossfit workout and I would run a few miles in the evening. This would add up to 5-10 miles a day, and over a period of 2 months I had covered over 225 miles. I felt pretty confident because I hardly took days off, the abuse was constant, and to mix I up I had been doing 2-3 Crossfit WOD’s a day as well.
I was wrong.
30 miles in during WTM 2013 my lap times went from 1 hour to 1.5 hours because my body had never run that far before. I was breaking down and forced to do a fast walk/slow shuffle. Nothing, not even excessive amounts of Crossfit can prepare you for 24 hours or repetitive running.
So, the solution to training this year is to do ONE BIG RUN a day. No more breaking it up in 2-3 smaller runs. I have to get out there, get on my feet, and run until I feel tight hips, aching knees, and sore feet. Only this will improve your endurance.
2. Screw strict Crossfit, Focus on the course and its obstacles
I wasted too much time doing hand-stand push-ups, wall balls, deadlifts, squats, and all that jazz. Yeah that stuff is good for overall strength and cardio in a Crossfit WOD, but are you doing any of that during the race. NO
The course has high walls and Everest, so do a lot of Box Jumps, Tuck Jumps, and Jumping lunges. Focus on anything that involves explosive power with the legs. Not heavy slow squats.
The course has monkey bars, rope climbs, and stuff where you hang. So do a lot of Pull-ups, and when you can’t do anymore, hang from the bar until your grip fails. Build strength there.
The course a lot of crawling and hill climbing, so do some bear crawls, sled drags, and run up a lot of hills.
Note: Burpees are good for everything, do a lot of burpees
Train how you imagine the course will be. From what we know the course will be 5 mile laps with 20 obstacles per lap. So you have 4 obstacles a mile, which is 1 obstacle every ¼ mile. Here’s a plan:
Run ¼ mile
20 box jumps
Run ¼ mile
Run ¼ mile
Run ¼ mile
25 meter bear crawl
Take that, run it, and repeat until exhaustion. If you do it 5 times then you’ve run 5 miles and completed 1 lap of the WTM, plus 100 box jumps, pull-ups, burpees, and 125m of bear crawling. Try to do it 20 times in less than 24 hours to keep up with Ryan Atkins.
3. Buy gear early and train like you fight! (train in you’re race day clothing).
Everyone says this, but it’s true. I failed to do this last year. I put on a brand new pair of shoes half-way through WTM 2013. This ruined my feet. I also never tested my shoes in the mud. The INNOV-8 proved worthless on the muddy-wood, while the New Balance Minimus were good all-around (wished I didn’t rip them).
This time I bought 2 pairs of shoes (New Balance Minimus), one to train in, and one to wear around everyday. 2 months from now on race day they should both be good to go.
On top of that I do half my runs at night wearing my headlamp. This gets me used to staring at that stupid little circle of light. Data has shown that I run slower at night because of my limited range of sight. Due to that I already bought a 2nd head lamp that is brighter.
I also found that if I run shirtless I get a rash on my lats from my arm rubbing on them. This develops about 10 miles in. Now I know to wear a shirt during the race or rub that area with Vasoline.
Start eating what you are going to eat on race day. While running I stage Gatorade, gummy bears, and bananas around my course so I can eat on the go. Find what gives you heart burn because heart burn sucks.
If it wasn’t 120 degrees where I am I would run in my wetsuit, so that will have to wait until race day. What I learned from last year though is that wet suits are extremely warm. In vegas I don’t imagine we will need anything more protective than a 3mm.
Train in what you’re going to wear for the race and you’ll find problems like this.