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Adventure Race Training: Week 3

Mark analyzes his workouts and discusses his nutrition plan.
Adventure Race training

Week 3 of the Ultimate Mud Run Training Plan was a strictly business type of week. I performed all of the workouts as scheduled. but the last workout, Workout C Option 3, really gave me trouble for some reason. I went bouldering again this week, and I think I will now shift focus from rock climbing to other obstacles, such as the water jug carry (farmer’s walk) and monkey bars. Although I did these obstacles last year, I need to train my muscles to handle these loads and positions again. As for the workout this past week, they all had to be performed indoors because it snowed on the East Coast, causing the tracks to not be ideal for training. Here is a look at how the workouts went in week 3 of the Ultimate Mud Run Training Plan.

8 Rounds
400 Meter Sprint (2% incline, 9 mph)
10 Burpees
Perform one round every 3 minutes. 

Bodyweight Walking Lunge
300 meters (approximately)
I do these “unbroken,” meaning I don’t pause in between each rep. I don’t bring my feet together then lunge. I lunge with one foot forward, then bring the next foot forward. I measured the distance using the “foot in front of foot” method on the gym floor. 

This workout leaves my quads pretty sore. I definitely completed each round of the sprints and burpees in three minutes. I was able to lunge 400 meters, but I chose to save my legs for the heavy lifting day, because I want make continued progress there. This is becoming my favorite cardio workout, and since I haven’t clarified my burpee technique yet in the blog series, here it is: I do burpees with a pushup then jump up with hands overhead. 


Sets: 5
Reps: 5
Weight (lbs): 135, 225, 250, 265, 275

Sets: 5 
Reps: 5
Weight: 95, 135, 155, 175, 175

Sets: 5
Reps: 5
Weight: 135, 225, 275, 315, 325

I made 10-pound jumps on my squat and deadlift in two weeks. For the push press, I stayed the course due to what might be an unnecessary hyperawareness of keeping my shoulders healthy. I’m comfortable with my form on all three exercises, and I foresee making strength gains throughout the program. For the deadlift, I broke the five reps into a “triple” (three reps) and a double (two reps). 

A weightlifter at heart, this workout is my guilty pleasure, although I know that what I really want is to get faster, leaner and more skilled at the obstacles.

AMRAP (As many rounds as possible) in 20 minutes 
8 Tire Flips
10 Pullups
400 meter Sprints
Rounds: 4-5
Time: 20-22 minutes

The Ultimate Mud Run Training Plan calls for eight, heavy (70-80 pound) Boulder/Med Ball throws, but since most gyms won’t tolerate this (and for good reason) I replaced that exercise with a tractor tire flip. I’m not sure what it was but this workout had me completely spent, so much that I don’t remember how many rounds I did exactly. I know it was at least four. I exceeded the 20 minute-mark because I wanted to aim for 25 minutes but the time could not move any slower in this workout. I’m definitely going to bring my A game to this workout next time because it devoured me whole. 

I practiced bouldering again in preparation for the dreaded Wall Traverse. This time, I went to Steep Rock Bouldering in NYC. A real tight-knit community, the staff was very helpful and the atmosphere added to my perception that indoor climbing is a trend on the rise. Climbing gyms are just like your local health club or gym, in the sense it’s a place where people socialize and workout. However, at Steep Rock and the Cliffs at LIC, nobody is zoned out wearing headphones in their own world, like you might find at a gym. People are advising each other on how to hold certain rocks or just zoned out figuring out which routes they’ll try, but without headphones. 

I worked on some vertical routes, and since there weren’t any horizontal routes, I decided to once again try to traverse an inverted rock wall. This inverted wall was more difficult for me to traverse than the one at the Cliffs at LIC, and I couldn’t even get all the way across it. By the end of the session, my forearms were pumped and my grip felt strong.

As promised in my last post, I will discuss my nutrition habits. I understand that nutrition won’t play a major role in improving my Spartan Sprint time, but it can definitely help me perform better in my workouts and subsequently shave some time off. 

For the past two years, I’ve been semi-consistent with preparing my meals on the weekend for the upcoming week. This formula is typical of anyone who’s ever been on a diet. I enjoy cooking so this was never a problem for me but recently I made the decision to try and have someone else do the meal prep for me. And it’s been great. 

I started ordering fresh cooked meals to be delivered to my door from Fit Fuel Prep, a meal delivery service that delivers to both the east and west coasts. For the past few weeks, I’ve been ordering five lunches and five dinners. While the option to customize macros is available, I choose meals from the weekly menu, such as “Caribbean Jerk Pulled Chicken” (roasted chicken with Caribbean seasoning, beans and rice) and “Grilled Korean Beef Steak” (flat iron steak with Korean barbeque sauce with vegetables and jasmine rice.) I started using this service to give myself a break from the usual weekend meal prep session, and it was a more than suitable break from the norm. 

In week 4, I won’t be bouldering again. I plan to work on the monkey bar traverse and the farmer’s carry. I may wind up subbing one of those in for another task, but I am going to add in more Spartan-ish movements to the end of my workouts. Starting in April, I want to take some of my sprint workouts outdoors and starting running around a track. By mid April, I feel as though I should try to run a 5K outdoors as quickly as possible, just to guesstimate how long I should be taking per obstacle. 

Mark Barroso is a contributing writer for Men’s Fitness, an assistant editor at Muscle & Fitness and an associate editor of FLEX. Follow him @Mark_Barroso.

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