So as of this morning, I am officially registered (with a maniac friend and not Tim this time) to do the Spartan Race Super in South London on 31 August.
I am also now officially in training. I've been reading a lot on fitness, nutrition, wellness, training, and (particularly) recovery. And I'm now fairly sure I've been doing it wrong or, if not wrong, definitely sub-optimally. And certainly not in a way that's going to get me through a 15k off-road run with 20 ass-smashing obstacles.
So, today, which was day one of Spartan training, I endeavoured to destroy my comfort zones. (*)
Click here if you genuinely want to read a rundown of what I actually did (versus what I've always done).
First I put on my new, terrifyingly minimal Inov-8 Roc-lite 295s, which are basically the polar opposite of the Asics Gel-Kayanos I religiously run in precisely because they have more support, and a lot more cushioning, than most beds, and which I totally rely on to cosset my aged legs and their delicate joints, ligaments, and tendons. Now, I'm basically wearing socks with cleats.
Then, after stretching out, instead of racing out into the park, I did isometric pull-ups and barhangs because I'm going to have to do some damned pull-ups for this thing, and I currently really can't.
Then, to wind down an overlong and under-interesting story: I ran 16k rather than my accustomed (universal, really) 10; I worked in regular 10-30-second wind sprints along the way; I stopped periodically and beasted myself with HIIT intervals burpees (lots of burpees which I'm going to have to do a lot of when I fail or skip obstacles in the race), chair dips, elevated push-ups, Bavarian split-squats, more bar hangs (from a tree), and more burpees. And one last wind-sprint at the end, when I was completely smoked. Oh yeah and I ran in a hotter part of the day, and in full-on direct sunlight, for every possible step. (The exact opposite of my normal liturgical routine, which involves as much cold and shade as I can get, by any means possible.)
And when I got back, totally smoked (but very happy), I got in the freaking sauna for 20 minutes, for hyperthermic conditioning.
Comfort zones lie in ruins.
Major bonus points to anyone who can spot the two SEALs in the following video who are named Michael, plus knows why you should really know about them.