1 year out
After running the World’s Toughest Mudder in 2013 I took a break from training and went straight to the Cayman Islands to do some much needed Scuba Diving. I couldn’t walk the next 2 days after the race and we missed our flight because I was too tired to remember what time it departed. I also had to wheel me to the plane in a borrowed Wheelchair at the airport in New York City. Fun times.
Anyway, down in the Caribbean I knocked out my Rescue Diver certification and some other specialty courses. I didn’t do any training there AT ALL. I just sat around, ate sushi, and drank that lovely Cayman beer.
Immediately following that I went back to work and started Crossfit training again with a focus on building strength. I didn’t plan on doing the WTM again, I told myself it was a one-time thing and I was on to getting my strength back. So I started lifting heavy with a goal to Deadlift 405 and Clean and Jerk 225…..2 months of heavy Crossfit training didn’t help my endurance. It did quite the opposite in fact. I hate how the two affect each other like that. One goes up and the other goes down.
8 months out
So after 2 months of heavy lifting from December to February I went to New Zealand for a little backpacking/Road trip (I obviously didn’t plan on doing the WTM or any other race again haha). Down there I did a lot of action-oriented fun stuff like Mountain biking, canyoning, and glaciering. Some lazy stuff like drinking, scuba diving, and sight-seeing.
BUT…I did do some training related stuff. For example:
I climbed Mt. Taranaki. A 2,500 meter elevation gain and 8 mile round trip. I was racing against a French guy’s supposed time of 2:30. I ran/crawled it in 2:43 then drank a nice warm beer at the top. He won by a few, but I had the best time.
I ran a 27- mile trail around the Tangariro National Park in 8:50. I originally planned on hiking it over a 3-4 day period, but met a guy who ran it with his friends in 10 hours. I took that as a challenge and set off a few days later. Having not (really) run in almost 5 months, I felt pretty good and only tightened up during the last 10 kilometers. I could have done better, but I was running a comfortable pace and trying to take in the scenery.
I hiked about 45 kilometers of the Abel Tasman and 35 kilometers of Milford Sound during the last month of travel in New Zealand. Both these hikes were leisurely and there was no real training value from them besides some hill work. I completed each trail over a 4-day period.
6 months out
It was back to work and back to strength training. I still hadn’t signed up for the WTM 2014, nor had I planned on doing it. The most running I did during this 2- month period was a daily mile to warm up for my work out.
4 months out
Over the summer I went to the Philippines to do a Divemaster Internship and get in some dives. I swam a few times a week for about 20-30 minutes and loaded and unloaded dozens of tanks from the boats 3-4 times a day. I did ZERO running and spent most of my time sipping beer and walking slack line. It was a good summer.
One night when I had a good buzz, I got one of those mass e-mails from Tough Mudder asking if I was going to sign up for the WTM again. Feeling that personal connection with TM and the chance to do better than last year; to improve in the areas that I fucked up like wetsuit and shoe selection. Right then and there I signed up. Then went back to relaxing and drinking beer. I’d start training after the summer was over….
2.5 months out
Over the last 9.5 months my running had taken a huge decline. My first few runs were only a few miles and done at a miserable slow pace. I had lost all my form and speed. I ran like an inured old man and felt like it.
I blame most of this on poor diet and lifestyle in the Philippines over the summer. I literally ate rice and meat (probably dog) the whole time since vegetables weren’t popular and hard to find. I felt extremely tired everyday and sometimes too weak to get out of bed. If I go to the Philippines again I am going to bring multi-vitamins.
Anyway, after about 2 weeks of eating good food and running off the rust I was starting to run loosen up again and could actually start real training.
Here is what I did:
My focus was running. Yes there are 20+ obstacles a lap, but you still have to run between those obstacles. Your legs are going to take you around that course for the 24 hours. Running is probably 70% of the game.
I aimed to do a 3 days of running 5-10 miles, followed by 1 day off, then 1 BIG day of 20+ miles, then another day off before repeating this cycle. On my shorter days (5-10 miles) I stopped to do burpees, pull-ups, dips, box jumps, bear crawls, and sled drags.
Burpees are good for taking your breath away and give you good practice running with weak legs and gasping lungs. Do a quick 20 then take off running again.
Pull-ups are good for building upper body, pull, and grip strength. I always did max sets and took my time so I could practice holding on to the bar as long as possible.
Dips obviously build upper body and push strength. Plus they carve up my chest which is good for my lady.
Box jumps build explosive power. This is good for completing Everest and the walls.
Bear crawls wear out your shoulders and tear up your hands. This is good for the devils beard obstacle which killed me last year.
Sled drags are good for simulating hills (since I had none). I love these because they make you work for every step. I loaded about 40-50 pounds of sand on the sled and did a run/walk combo.
I had the advantage of training in the desert and got a lot of practice running in the loose sand. My disadvantage was that I was working 12- hour shifts, elevation was only 300 ft., it was hot as hell so wetsuit training was out of the question, there was nowhere to swim, and I had no hills.
In 70 days here was my weekly mileage:
|WEEK||MILES ran||HOURS spent running|
Over the 10-week period I did 6 runs that were over 20 miles in distance. I took 2 weeks to run off the rust, then on week 3 I started doing about 1 big run a week until I reached week 8. After that I tapered down to relax and stay loose before the big event.
During my big runs I would pre-make protein shakes and food, stage them on my 4.6 mile course, and drink/eat once a lap. I also did some running at night with wet shoes.
1 week out
I took the entire week off from training and spent it traveling across the Atlantic to the USA, and from my home in Portland to Las Vegas. I arrived in Vegas the Wednesday before the race and spent the time preparing all my gear and catching up with friends I hadn’t seen in 2 months.
I set up my tent and gear on Friday and went home to eat steak, avocado, and sweet potato for pre-race dinner.