Chris Johnstone is a double graduate with a MSc degree in Strength and Conditioning and a BSc (Hons) degree in Sport and Exercise Science, a certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) who has worked with Middlesbrough Football Club as a Strength and Conditioning coach and runs a successful Personal Training buisness with a large portfolio of active clients. He is the Director of Fitness, Training and Urban Gym at Rat Race Adventure Sports and has been immersed in the health and fitness industry since he was 17 years old, during which time he has proactively developed his knowledge base. He's devised a training plan designed to get you Survival Fit and ready to take on any of our 10k adventure races, broken down into 3 different plans to suit those of all abilities.
You’ve got a race to run, at least ten obstacles zones to overcome, and only a limited time to get in shape. What you do between now and then will be the single greatest factor in your event-day performance. Whether you’re looking to compete, or simply hoping to complete, here’s how to hit those goals:
Over 80% of your finishing time will be spent on the hoof. You don’t have to be built like Mo Farah for a fast 10k, but your training needs to get you used to moving faster, and working harder than your usual treadmill plod. Include some offroad sessions where you can, and get ready to add the following sessions to your training vocabulary:
- Run easy and warm up.
- Start the clock, and go flat out for the specified length of the time (normally 1-2mins).
- Then stop and rest for 1min.
- Repeat, aiming to run as far each time.
- Warm down.
- Run easy and warm up on your way to a gentle slope that normally takes you 45-60 seconds to run up.
- Run hard uphill against the clock to the top.
- Turn round and jog gently to the start.
- Repeat as required, aiming to run as fast each time.
- Warm down.
- Run easy for the first sector of your run.
- Run at a pace as fast as you can sustain for the middle sector.
- Run easy again for the last sector.
The obstacle zones will sort out whether your training’s been more “playstation” than “parkour”. Functional strength allows you to move efficiently, so log some compound resistance training and start working like a military unit. If you can access a gym, then a combination of machines and free weights will help, as will bodyweight exercises like press-ups, pull-ups, crunches, squats at home or in the park. Think about movement, not muscle.
Your pulse rate is going to be sky high from start to finish. There is no respite in a Survival event, but there is variety, and the ability to adapt between disciplines is the mark of a champion. Circuit training will push your physical limits and prepare your mind, Urban Gym is a unique city based circuit style workout that is designed to push you to your limits and get you training outdoors and get you event ready both physically and mentally.
You’re not all going to finish in the top ten, no matter how much you want it. The training that suits beginners is different from the kind that suits the elite. Consider where you fit in, and choose a plan below that fits the bill. You can always switch plans as you progress. Make sure you eat properly and rest sufficiently for your training to take effect, and if you get ill or injured – stop until fully recovered, or you’ll only go backwards.