I am so good, I don’t need it!

The good of Event Focused Training

By Patrick Kaminski, Co-Founder
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Intro

Most of us feel strong enough and prepared enough to manage most of the challenges the daily life (or work-outs) and hobbies hold for us. So when it comes to either new or similar but more intense challenges such as a Spartan Race or Adventure travel, we tend to believe that just intensifying our usual routines will do the trick. That might be true for some lucky ones (I don’t believe in luck, btw!). But if you really want to enjoy the full scale of your upcoming experience, an Event Focused Training Programme with specific exercises can make a lot of sense. 

 

I am not talking about adding a few monkey-bar swings to make the Spartan, but surely doing them with wet/muddy hands after running 5k would come closer to it. But seriously, let me share my thoughts and experiences with a concrete example: Being a motorbike enthusiast and riding bikes since almost 34 years (yes, I am turning 50 very very soon!), I listened to a dear friend and signed myself up for a 2 weeks hard-core enduro travel through the deserts & mountains of Morocco. Upfront and honest: I never ever imagined it to be that extreme, intense and challenging! Knowing that here in Hong Kong I would not have the possibility to train up too much with regard to off-road or endure abilities riding in deep sand or dried up river beds, I thought it might be a good idea to focus my preparation on the mental and body fitness. 

 

Not that I am not working out every day of the week since years, so I thought running a bit more and ramping up the gym intensity might be the hack. I spoke to my Personal Trainer Doug about what I was planning to do, and after smiling about my idea to run a bit more (he smiled for a loong time!), he came up with a specifically designed 50 days “Ready for the Sand”-Programme. A balanced and targeted mix of strength, endurance and stabilization. Just keep in mind that for 2,700+ kilometers off-road, the day would consist of 8+ hours standing on the bike on bumpy (nicely understated!) hostile terrain at uncomfortably high speed (so the suspension of the bike is doubled by your arms and legs), trying to stay in control and avoiding to crash harshly. Preventing to get tired even after so many hours prevailed to be the key to arrive safely, as every split second of weakness or lost alertness could have costed me a bitter end of the adventure (btw: the fallout rate in my group was significant, the longer the trip continued).

 

Every single day of the trip! So looking back to that Event Focused Training programme, I was blessed that Doug researched it diligently and that I have received it. The soreness and tiredness of seemingly endless reps of head-over-heal push-ups or cable-reverse-walkouts in the gym faded to fun compared to the realities I have experienced in the desert. All the time I could securely rely on my physical fitness and strength to not let me down. Important as the gap in riding capabilities and the many surprises of the unforgiving terrain commanded all my energy and attention. So no matter what you are up to as a next challenge, just make sure you prep well accordingly. If you don’t know what to do by yourself, go see a qualified Personal Trainer for the programme and maybe even a Chiro Practitioner or Physiotherapist for input. 

 

The good:

You will face your challenge with the certainty and assurance that your body won’t let you down. You can focus on the experience, the capabilities, and not least on having fun mastering it. 

 

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Who is it for?

Equally important for unfit and fit challenge- and adventure-seekers. Especially the latter ones tend to be seeking extremes (this Extreme Enduro Trip is highly recommended if you are looking for close to death experiences, haha!) and tend to overrate their specific fitness and preparedness. Thus they will face a painful awakening throughout the challenge (keep in mind that a good 1/3rd of my group didn’t make it ‘til the end). Even the longstanding semi-professionals do tend to confused experience with fitness. And getting older (!) isn’t adding benefits to fitness either. Also for the unfit ones, but expectedly they will drop out too early anyways to get seriously harmed or hindered.Any parent and child that would like some bonding and development time with their child. In my opinion it may be easier for the father to do the camp but I would not be surprised to see some adventurous mothers out there getting their hands dirty and making the fire. 

 

 

Watch out:

Don’t think just intensifying your (potentially already intense) workout programme. It won’t prepare you for the specifics. If you never climb but will go rock-climbing, more pull-ups, running and boxjumps will not play the trick. Grip, leg strength, stability and not least endurance will be the key (interesting enough very similar to the challenges I faced on the bike). Screen the specifics of the challenge ahead and speak to professionals to seek help in preparation. For me the endless bunnies, bears and crabs gave me at least an idea (and the strength) how to manage the thousands of bumps on the desert tracks standing on the bike for hours. Watch out though to not overdo it especially the closer the starting date of your challenge approaches. Rest and recovery is equally important!

 

Alternatives:

The alternative is not to prepare specifically but to trust that you are strong & fit enough. The consequences - in majority - are significantly painful, harmful or frustrating at best. What can be of meaningful support though is effective and specific athlete supplementation and a focused balanced nutrition before and during the challenge. 

 

Review

My Event Focused Training Programme was not pain-free but in the end priceless. Without Doug and his specific programming, I would have failed latest 3 days on the trip. Now I had the confidence and certainty that I can and will be able to make it through. The trip as such was challenging enough and I was able to focus on the learning of capabilities, worked the bike, and took home a lot of stunning impressions from the incredible surroundings and unique experiences.

 

The Verdict:

Don’t die stupid! If you go into new challenges, go prepared.

 

Here is some more pictures from our adventure

 

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What others say: 

“ Always full gas!‚Äč 

Bernd HOMBRE Bohnenkamp