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Adventure Race Training: Week 2

The 20/20/5 plan and getting the right mindset for game day.

This week, training started to solidify. First, our team has come together, about ten people strong—or strong enough at least to muster the confidence that this might actually turn out to be a lot of fun. We have started to put together ideas for our fund raising for Family Reach. And, equally as important, we have all started that glorious process of self-assessment. Yes, it is time to really take notice of where we stand in our own fitness and how that will affect our performances in the Spartan on May 9.

As I had mentioned, the real fear in prepping for an event such as this for the first time is overtraining. None of us have ever done this before and, understandably, our fear of the unknown make some aspects of the event itself seem far more ridiculously difficult then they are in reality. The entire team seems very focused on the rope climb—something I find funny because I would have thought that people would have been paralyzed by any event with the word “fire” in it. The rope climb, however, brings to mind every humiliating gym class in fourth grade in which we were forced to perform a task for which we had no training or insight to accomplish, and, far worse, we were forced to perform said deed with an audience of our peers who would no doubt willing remind us of our failings.

Now, here we are, decades later, forced to perform stunts in front of a team of peers. We can kick back and pretend that it is all water-off-a-duck’s-back, but deep down—and, honestly, maybe not all that deep down—there is the fear of public humiliation. The fear will breed the overtraining: people sneaking off to get in extra work jump, sprinting, diving, climbing, all in the hopes that, come game day, we will be prepped and ready to go, looking like true Spartans in our majestic red capes.

So, in an effort to get the team ready and fast forward the public humiliation, I created a training program that we could do together. It’s called the 20/20/5: five sets of twenty reps of twenty exercises. In between each set, we do three minutes of light cardio to refocus. I picked exercises that combined HIIT with bodyweight training, with some upper and lower body alternating, but not a lot of let up. There is no time limit and everyone is allowed to stop mid-set or mid-exercise if need be. The real goal is to keep going.

So, we met on Sunday afternoon and gave it a whirl. It was tough going. We spent 65 minutes and only made it through 3 times. The conversation went out the window almost immediately with everyone focusing on the tasks at hand. But when it was over, the fear of attacking the workout was gone, and everyone was feeling pretty solid with the work that we had done. And next week, we will meet and do it again, to better our times and get further in the workout, and squash the fear so that we are set for game day.

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