Last year I ran my first obstacle course race and managed to score in the top percentile of my age bracket. It was invigorating, it was exciting, and it was a new experience.
I had the strength to overcome the obstacles with relative ease (minus the Hercules pull, but I’m ready for that this year!) My biggest limiting factor was my cardio vascular endurance, and my leg strength endurance to tackle as many ups and downs as off-road terrain could offer as a challenge.
It was grueling, I can’t deny that. But through it, I realized how pivotal one aspect of my training regimen was to helping me achieve the place I did. In fact, it was such a corner stone to how I faired for the endurance that I am including it again in my training regimen with more gusto.
This was the Jericho Hill Challenge.
Jericho Hill is an old ski hill near where I live that is .12 miles in length from top to bottom with an average grade of 20%. It is 1.1 miles from my house on winding and hilly back roads, making a run to and from it equivalent to 2.2 miles.
This run was trained for last year once a week, increasing the number of times up the hill by 1 each successive training session. Up to 5, followed by 2 sessions where it was done 3 times with a 50# Bag on the shoulders for one time up and down, a 25# weighted vest for one time up and down, and no weight on the 3rd.
What I would like to do for you now, is offer a training regimen that can be performed on a treadmill to simulate the cardio thrashing power of this routine that you can apply to your own training for any kind of foot race. Remember, cardio strength will carry you far; leg strength will make it easier.
Assuming you have completed a progressive cardio program and are comfortable running/jogging a mile at a steady state (even if that steady state is considered slow!) this program can help increase your cardiovascular strength and your leg strength endurance, really powering up those slow twitch fibers (used for endurance activities.)
This will be broken into a 4 segment run.
Warm Up Mile - 1.5 Miles Steady State
Hill Challenge - 20% Grade .10 Miles Slow – Fast Steady State
Cool Off - 0% Grade Light Jog to Walking Pace 60 – 120sec
Finish Mile -1 Mile Steady State .5 Miles As Fast As Possible
Remember though; push yourself to a challenge, not till you drop dead! This format is not couch potato friendly.
However, I will also include a format I use to get people from sedentary, to running their first mile in as little as 1 Month!
Day 1 - 15 Minute Walk
Day 2 - 14 Minute Walk, 1 Minute Jog
Day 3 - 13 Minute Walk, 2 Minute Jog
Day 4 - 12 Minute Walk, 3 Minute Jog
Day 5 - 11 Minute Walk, 4 minute Jog
Day 6 - 10 Minute Walk, 5 Minute Jog
Day 7 - 9 Minute Walk, 5 Minute Jog, 1 Minute Run
Day 8 - 8 Minute Walk, 6 Minute Jog, 1 Minute Run
Day 9 - 7 Minute Walk, 6 Minute Jog, 2 Minute Run
Day 10 - 6 Minute Walk, 7 Minute Jog, 2 Minute Run
Day 11 - 5 Minute Walk, 7 Minute Jog, 3 Minute Run
Day 12 - 4 Minute Walk, 8 Minute Jog, 3 Minute Run
Day 13 - 3 Minute Walk, 8 Minute Jog, 4 Minute Run
Day 14 - 2 Minute Walk, 9 Minute Jog, 4 Minute Run
Day 15 - 1 Minute Walk, 9 Minute Jog, 5 Minute Run
Day 16 - 10 Minute Jog, 5 Minute Run
Day 17 - 9 Minute Jog, 6 Minute Run
Day 18 - 8 Minute Jog, 7 Minute Run
Day 19 - 7 Minute Jog, 8 Minute Run
Day 20 - 6 Minute Jog, 9 Minute Run
Day 21 - 5 Minute Jog, 10 Minute Run
Day 22 - 4 Minute Jog, 11 Minute Run
Day 23 - 3 Minute Jog, 12 Minute Run
Day 24 - 2 Minute Jog, 13 Minute Run
You should complement this program with a weight training program, and try and advance to the next day every other day.
So get out there, and challenge yourself to cardiovascular health!