Warrior Dash 2010 – Background and Training

Have you heard of the Warrior Dash?  It is a race that is marketed as the “Craziest Frickin’ Day of Your Life!”  On September 19, 2010, Jeb  and I completed it!

The Past

I should back up, though, since this race meant a TON to me emotionally.  I was an athlete in high school – not an all-star by any means, but I could hold my own and I really enjoyed physical activity.  When I started college, I immediately joined the crew team.  I was successful, but because of some negative influences and poor decision-making, I quit the team.  This was, perhaps, one of the biggest regrets of my life.  As time passed, I became increasingly sedentary and my food choices became atrocious.  I became an emotional eater, and struggled to make healthy choices for several year.  Strangely, though, I was unaware of how unhealthy I had become or of how poor my choices were.  Everything was fairly mindless during that time and, in retrospect, is such a blur.

In October 2008 (almost 2 years ago!), everything changed!  I stepped on the scale and saw a number that I NEVER wanted to see.  I was ashamed and frustrated, and started changing that day.  I was woefully out of shape, and while I knew that I needed to make a big change, I also knew that a major overhaul would lead to failure.  I made small changes, lost 55 pounds (and counting), and almost two years after I struggled to use the Wii Fit for 15 minutes, I completed the Warrior Dash (and I even had a cold!).

 

The Training

Training for the Warrior Dash was tricky – aside from a satellite image of the location and some pictures of potential obstacles, I didn’t really have a solid idea of the layout and intensity of the race.  This made structuring my training very difficult, so I opted to follow programs that would increase my running ability, mobility/flexibility, general fitness, and strength.  Such a narrow focus, huh?

Before training for the Dash, I had been working on general fat loss.  After completing Rachel Cosgrove’s “Female Body Breakthrough” program in February 2010, I needed a break from general barbell/dumbbell training.  I spent a couple months focusing exclusively on Kettlebell training, both by taking classes at my gym and by following the program in “Body Sculpting with Kettlebells for Women” by Lorna Kleidman.

After registering for the Dash in April, I began training for the running portion by completing Couch to 5k.  I had a handy little app on my iPod which made all the timing really easy, and rewarded myself for milestones by downloading some new music to help motivate me!  On the days I wasn’t running, I completed Leigh Peele’s Lean Being program.  This program was a challenge for me, since it used the TRX suspension trainer and bodyweight exercises, rather than the iron I was used to!  I won’t lie – there were definitely days that I struggled to stay motivated on this program.  The TRX is really unique and useful, and I felt that my body moved better across multiple planes after a couple weeks – but it is NOT my favorite way to work out.  I still use the TRX occasionally, but I will never use it exclusively again.  I did find Leigh Peele’s programming to be very balanced and at an appropriate intensity that I didn’t feel like I needed to eat everything in sight after my workouts!

For the last 6 weeks before the race, I maintained my running (by this time, I was comfortable running a 5k – slowly, but I could do it!) and shifted my focus to strength.  I began following Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 program, a powerlifting program that focuses on 3-4 “main” lifts – in my case, squat, deadlift, and overhead press – with some flexibility for accessory work.  Since I LOVE kettlebells, I decided to create a kettlebell accessory program to support my barbell lifting.  It’s been working well, and I think the combination was really effective in helping me prepare for all the physical demands of the race.  The kettlebells had a dual benefit of providing a cardio effect in addition to the strength and mobility components.  Also, the barbell training definitely helped me increase the weights in my kettlebell work, which increased the intensity.

 

Stay tuned for part 2 – the Race Day recap!

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One response to this post.

  1. […] just don’t think it’s possible to REALLY train for this race!  I previously ran the Warrior Dash in NY (last September) and felt woefully unprepared.  The first half of that race […]

    Reply

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