Posted in Musings, Training

Looking back and moving forward . . .

As I look back at the race in PA, all I can really do is to chalk that one up to a really bad day and look to the future. That leaves me with two races where I need to be ready so I don’t have a repeat performance of Burpeefest™.  And in reality, at this point all my preparation is geared towards being ready for Killington which as of today is 47 days away.

So as I look back at Palmerton, I see three main things.

  • The elevation gain was difficult and I need to prepare better;
  • The burpees were brutal and were probably caused part my problems with calf cramping; and
  • The heavy carries, especially the sand bag carries were physically and mentally draining.

So for the next 7 weeks I will focus on being better in those areas.

So how do I make this happen?

Elevation gain

For the this one, I need to spend more time at Sugarloaf Mountain going uphill. And on the treadmill, running uphill. And on the Jacobs Ladder, climbing uphill. I think there is a common thread here – going uphill.

So to take care of the elevation gain in the real world (nit indoor on a machine), Luke and I plotted out a new run at Sugarloaf and “ran” it this past weekend.  Instead of running, it was really more of a fast hike, of 10.5 miles in 2 hours 38 minutes. The elevation graph is shown below. This workout gave us about 3,300 feet of elevation gain in the 10.5 miles. At Killington, we will see about 5,500 of climbing feet in 15 miles. If we add one more time up the mountain it will bring us up to about 4,100 feet of climbing in 13 miles and if we add two more times up to the top (using the steeper side) it will be about 5,000 feet in 15.5 miles; a bit less than the race, but a great training day nonetheless. These efforts are probably going to be done on the weekends of August 20th and September 3rd.  At least that is the plan.

That will leave 1 week to recover before racing the DC Sprint and 2 weeks to recover before racing the Killington Beast. Both should be sufficient recovery time. But, I am more concerned about being fully recovering before Killington race. So if we only do one long workout it will be the one on August 20th.

Most recent “run” at Sugarloaf


This is where I really need to be better. I have two options.

  • Don’t fail obstacles; or
  • Be prepared to do massive numbers of burpees.

Based on my last performance, I am going to be ready for the second option. If I don’t fail obstacles there is no harm done by doing lots of burpees in training.  The additional strength will be helpful for many of the other obstacles. Also, I am hoping the extra jumping will be good to strengthen my calf muscles keep them from cramping.

For this I plan to  incorporate two workouts:

  • Pull-up/burpee circuit – 30 minutes of alternating burpees and push-ups. A new set of each exercise every minute on the minute. Starting with 5 pull-ups on the even minutes and 10 burpees on the odd minutes. 75 pull-ups and 150 burpees to start
  • Burpeepalooza™ – Do 10 sets of 15 burpees as quickly as possible. Record the time. When my time drops by 10% add another rep to each set. Do this at least twice each week.

Heavy Carries

Then to take care of the heavy carries, Luke and I go back to home school obstacle building. In this case, we needed to put together a set of sand bags and a heavy bucket. Neither of these are hard to build.

It is basically, make heavy things and carry them around. It’s even better to carry them up and down hills if you can find one close to you. We have an area close to our house with a short, steep hill where we can walk over, get in about a mile of carries  and walk back home (45-60 minutes).

Vermont will be 2 of these sand bags


Buy sand. Buy bags. Fill bags with 45 lbs of sand and seal. Carry.


Buy gravel. Buy buckets. Buy lids. Fill buckets with 65 lbs of gravel and seal lid. Carry.

These two will form the backbone of Luke and my strength workouts during the time leading up to Killington. On strength day, we will alternate which to carry or may even split the workout evenly and do half of each since both of these will be features of the race.

No matter how hard any of these workouts seem to be at the time I keep telling myself:

Just keep moving forward!

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