Training Tips for the 17K Commando Challenge
Posted on June 10th 2016 by Sarah Burden
If you’re taking on the 17K Commando Challenge, you’ll need real determination. This is the ultimate challenge, and it is even further than the course that real Royal Marines have to face as part of The Commando Tests. With proper training, it won’t be a walk in the park. Without proper training, you can’t possibly hope to get through this trial of mud and water and make it to the finish line.
At this level of intensity, hopefully you’ll already have some idea about your training. However, if you’re still looking for some tips and guidance, we’re here to help: these are our training tips for the 17K Commando Challenge.
17K is a Long Way
But you probably already knew this. That’s over 10 miles, if for some reason 17K doesn’t sound like much. Hopefully you’ll realise how much training and determination it takes to run this sort of distance, unless you’re already an advanced athlete. If you’re not used to running regularly, you should definitely get a medical check-up before you start. As with our shorter courses, you’ll want to train to run further - around 20K should do it – on account of the obstacles you’ll face on the day.
As for training, if you’re pretty serious about running then you’ll probably already have a schedule. However, in all likelihood, you’re not doing enough yet. The training plan outlined in our 10K training tips will probably be suitable, although make sure you start plenty of weeks in advance if you’re not used to running longer distances. If you find yourself starting to struggle with increasing the distance, then you can always mix in some periods of walking during the run to break through your current max.
Don’t forget the fundamentals: you have to keep increasing the difficulty if you want to improve. As well as building up distance and speed, there are various drills you can try, including sprints, interval training, and hill repeats.
Supplement Your Training
As well as adding some extra training techniques (including circuits and supersets) to mix up your workouts, there are other ways you can supplement your training. If your progress is starting to stall, then why not try a completely different type of cardio to push yourself in a different way, such as boxing, swimming, or rowing? Supplementing with another type of intense cardio could help your endurance and explosive power, particularly when it comes to the obstacles. A change of scene might also help if you’re starting to get bored with running the same route every day.
For a particularly gruelling endurance exercise, try mastering planks: start with planking for a few sets of 30 seconds, and see if you can work your way up to 2 minutes or more. Building up your core endurance will really help when you’re crawling on your belly through mud and tunnels, and can also improve your running performance.
With Great Training Comes Great Recovery
We’ve already covered this in our 10K training tips, but it’s even more important at this level of intensity: stretch, sleep, and eat properly. Carbohydrate loading is also recommended before particularly hard runs and the Challenge itself.
Always remember the hard/easy principle when you’re running on consecutive days. If you have a particularly taxing (i.e. longer or faster) run or training session, then follow it up with something easier the next day. Likewise, don’t go too hard if you’ve got something intense lined up for the following day. This will allow your body to recover, reserve your strength for harder training, and help to prevent burnout and injury.
You should also take at least one rest day per week, and having a low-intensity week every month isn’t a bad idea either. If you are unfortunate enough to suffer from an injury or pain, then stop running immediately. If it doesn’t go away within a few days, or recurs when you run again, it’s time to see a doctor.
Run Outside & Watch Your Pace
Hopefully you’re already used to running outside. Although a treadmill can be effective and convenient, nothing quite compares to running outside on a variety of surfaces with different gradients.
Beyond this, a key aspect of outside training is learning to pace yourself. It’s important to be able to regulate your pace, so that you can get the most out of your capabilities when it comes to the race. Running watches (including those featuring GPS) can help with pacing, as well as many other aspects of your training.
After reading our training tips, you should now be ready to train for the 17K Commando Challenge. Or, maybe this was just the motivation you needed to actually sign up! Keep up to date with our expert advice to get the most out of your training- now isn’t the time to fall behind.