Phase 2: Planning

Last week, I discussed how I was approaching my latest personal challenge as a project. So, pulling out the various project management tools out and whatnot – I’m firmly in the planning stage.

A part of planning is to define the project objectives. In my last post, I said the objective was to not die finish the race. That’s a pretty generic and frankly, a pretty weak objective. We need to refine it. Thankfully, refining the objectives is a part of planning! When I consider what needs to be done,  I come up with a few categories.

  • Training – how I get my body ready to participate
  • Equipment – what tools I need to be successful
  • Nutrition – fuel for my body
  • Other – a catch all for things not yet explored

Obviously, there’s overlap/dependencies between these groups. That’s expected. For example, I need shoes (equipment) to run (train) in. I need to eat to be able to move my body. Etc. That’s expected and normal.

So, thinking about training. What sort of things do I (think I) need to be able to do? I know that the race is on for 12 hours. I have to complete as many laps as possible, and one of those laps needs to be completed in the time between the 11th and 12th hour. I’ll have to complete the obstacles each lap. So, where in a normal race, I might just accept the inability to do a particular task and take the penalty – it behooves me to train for those to avoid as many penalties as possible. What do I need to be able to do?

  • Run for X distance (or time?)
  • Pull up my body weight
  • Climb a rope
  • Climb a cargo net
  • Monkey bars
  • Ring swing
  • Carry a heavy bucket/bag
  • Drag an object
  • Throw an axe
  • Shoot a rifle

That’s a good list to start with. What does it tell me?

  • Grip strength is going to be something I need
  • Functional training is going to be key
  • There are a number of specialized activities to consider
  • Endurance, endurance, endurance, endurance

Now, I’m going to think a little about objectives for my running. To date, my longest run has been a half marathon (21.1 km). I can complete this distance in roughly 2 hours and 20 minutes. This doesn’t mean a whole lot when compared to an obstacle/trail race though. So, consider the Spartan Sprint I ran (~6km) which took me about 1 hour 45 minutes. My most recent long trail race was 13km in 2 hours and 15 minutes.

There’s a big disparity in those times! What do I know about them? The Spartan was done roughly halfway through my training for my first half marathon. I had failed a lot of obstacles and had to do a lot of burpees. Also, trail running, which I hadn’t really been training on. So, my time wasn’t great for a lot of reasons. The trail race is closer to my half time for 8km less. Again, big difference in trail running and road – also, I wasn’t training hills and was gassed by the really large hill portions.

This gives a lot of information – one, I need to change focus to run more trails. Two, I need to add significant hill training. These changes will do wonders for my preparation.

Using my Sprint time as a guide, rounding it to 2 hours, then extrapolating a distance, that puts me to an estimate of 36 km. Using my trail race, I can extrapolate a distance of 70 km. This range is still pretty huge target range and the high end does not consider obstacles. What to do?

My initial gut feeling on where I can realistically end up is somewhere between 25km and 50km. This isn’t set in stone yet – I still need to consult with some experts to get their input on what would be realistic given the time I have to train. But, I have a starting point.

Next time, I’ll look a little more into the planning I have to do regarding equipment.

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