Top training and preparation tips for Commando Challenge 2017
Posted on September 27th 2017 by Jason Hodge
Jason Hodge from Hodge Health and Fitness is an ex Royal Marine and runs his own boot camp and fitness training centre in Bristol. He says that with any fitness event, race or competition, the more prepared you are physically and mentally then the better you’ll perform on the day.
In this article he shares his favorite tips and advice for getting ready for an event like the Commando Challenge, so here’s what he says:
Hi guy’s I’m Jason Hodge a former Royal Marine with over 20 year’s fitness experience, and I’ve been running my own Military Boot Camp and personal training company for over six years. Upon joining the Corps at just 16 I quickly learnt that the more prepared I was the easier basic training life become ('easier' maybe the wrong word to use, but you get my meaning).
The Commando Challenge, known to all recruits as the ‘endurance course’, was just one part of four extremely physically and mentally grueling Commando tests. The endurance course is now open to ‘civilians’ and is a fun event of getting wet and muddy, so you'll feel like a Royal Marine recruit for a day (or as close to it as humanly possible).
Preparation and prior knowledge
They say knowledge is power, so the more you know about your challenge the better prepared you’ll be to engage in tackling the obstacles along your route.
- Get as much information from the Commando Challenge website as you can.
- Check out the previous year’s participants comments to see what they have to say.
- Read all the blogs you can about the challenge.
- Google the Commando Challenge and see what other information comes up, and check out a few of the pictures of the obstacles and participants.
- Talk to people you know who may have entered the event in the past as they may also offer you a few tips.
Wearing the right kit
Did you know that the Commando Challenge insists that for safety you wear long leggings and a long sleeve top? You can always wear you team T-shirt on top, and another suggestion might be to use optional knee, wrist and elbow pads.
Turning up with the right trainers will also have a big impact on your overall running ability. Remember that the Commando Challenge is an off-road event so the better grip your trainers have then the less likely you’ll slip and slide. My blog on ‘using the right trainers’ will explain the difference between road, off road and hybrid trainers.
The earlier you start training then the fitter you’ll be on the day. Giving yourself more time to train makes perfect sense, and will offer you stress free training sessions.
If your fitness level is low please don’t panic! Try power walking three times a week until you feel confident to try running. If you can’t run for long then no worries – try interval running. Interval running is a great way to boost your fitness level no matter how fit you are. Simply mix walking and running together.
For those with a low fitness level start by running at a steady pace for as long as you feel you can then walk to recover. Time how long you can run for and always try to increase your time whilst doing your best to decrease your walking time. Just do what you can!
If you’re a confident runner then try High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).
HIIT is made up from a walk, jog and sprint format.
- The walk, jog and sprint will be a build-up of speed.
- The walk will become your recovery periods after the sprint.
- Try the 20/20/10 rule (walk for 20 seconds, jog for 20 seconds, sprint for 10).
10 seconds doesn’t sound long but when you’re sprinting as fast as you can, you’ll relish your walking and jogging recovery periods.
This method of training will really give your fitness level a boost and will help to increase not only your running ability but also your comfortable running pace. You can find more details about HIIT training on my blog ‘High intensity interval training really works’.
Fartlek is another great training method that is often overlooked and underestimated. This style of training is great for preparing you for obstacle events as you’ll be mirroring a similar fitness process of stop/start and over/under.
The whole purpose of a Fartlek is to mix up your running with exercises and fitness drills along the way.
- Find a park local to you with everyday items such as park benches, steps and hills.
- Run around your park changing your route and make sure you include going up and down steps and hills.
- Use park benches for dips, press ups and step ups - try doing between 5 and 20 repetitions.
- Do abdominal and core exercises anywhere on the grass (and yes you will may a damp and muddy – it’s all part of the fun!).
Fitter, stronger, faster
Even though the Commando Challenge is deemed as a cardiovascular event the stronger you are then the better you’ll perform on the day. In my blog 'the components of fitness’ I explain the importance of training the body as a whole to increase your total fitness. You’ll need to add basic strength training to build a robust body with healthy joints too. My blog ‘why body weight exercises are best for you’ explains why body weight strength training is best for all round fitness ability. Plus, you don’t even have to go to the gym to do them!
Are you short on training time?
Leading a busy life often leaves little time for training. If this sounds like you then there are a few training methods available to you. Just like the Fartlek training system, after your run simply perform a few basic body exercises that will engage all the major muscle groups of the body. Try doing five or more repetitions on squats, press ups, sit ups and hip raises.
Focus on good form with full range of movement.
I hope my training and preparation tips are helpful and please feel free to get in touch with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your fitness training. Better still, I’ll be there at the Exmouth Event on Sunday 15th October, so just pop over and say Hi.
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