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Are things such as the Spartan Race a no-no?

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  • Are things such as the Spartan Race a no-no?

    I know that in Mark's book he's continually down on things that qualify as chronic cardio. Pretty much anything that pushes the body to the point that it's powering up its protective cortisol stress handling response seems suspect. I've even heard him say that things such as Marathons should be a once in a lifetime thing.

    Does that mean things like the Spartan Race are out of bounds? These things look crazy challenging and crazy fun...but to be allowed to compete in the "big one" you have to place in the top three in one of the "lesser" meets. Seems like you'd need to be doing some serious endurance training.

    Is there ways to negate the negative effects of these types of things so that you can make them a part of your life? Some type of hyper-recovery protocol that you can follow? Any info is appreciated?
    Life is good now that I eat primal, visit my local LA Fitness once a week, and don't stress about life.

  • #2
    Mark recognizes that people enjoy doing these things for fun... I think he more discourages doing chronic cardio for the sake of chronic cardio. As in, people who are compelled to get on a treadmill every day because they think they should. Mark himself was into marathon conditioning so he gets it.


    • #3
      the spartan race isn't necessarily a big race...depending on what you're doing. the spartan sprint is only 3 miles--not even close to chronic cardio. the other spartan races are longer, and some might consider the training to be chronic cardio, but i don't think it's enough to warrant any real concern. yeah, these races are challenging and will work you down until you don't want to walk anymore, but mostly they're meant to be fun...and that's primal.

      i also think you can turn the training for these races (the 5 & 10K anyway) into pretty good primal workouts. you're not just straight running; you've got to stop and crawl, climb and jump a lot. it's like they were designed for for the primal blueprint.


      • #4
        training for these races can be very primal. Move a lot slowly. Sprint. Lift heavy things. That's how you train for these. And then every now and then, run long distances. Just do it slowly. The one day of the race is not going to be chronic cardio.


        • #5
          Things like the Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash, etc are once every now and then things...unless you become one of those compulsive types like those who do a marathon a month they are fine and an excellent way to see how your fitness has improved and have some fun at the same time.

          We had a blast when we did the Warrior Dash. We may try to do something like it every year or so just for fun. Right now we're lloking at a 5K obstacle course race that involves an inner-tube and a stretch of a Texas Hill Country river!
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          • #6
            Too many people do cardio for no reason other then OCD tendencies. I used to run every day and it is easy to get into this bad habit. I was around other runners all the time and the discussion was always about mileage and pace. You start to think that the more miles at a faster pace the better. Don't do junk miles. Always know why you are running. Give your body time to recover. It sounds simple but when you start training common sense goes out the window real fast.
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            • #7
              I think chronic cardio is more like spending an hour a day on a treadmill (or running), like, four days a week. Fitness challenges like the Spartan Race are great fun every once in a while and I'd highly suggest doing one on occasion. I believe what Mark is advising against in the book is training for and running marathons (or other long foot races) often, or doing the treadmill thing mentioned above.
              "Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint." - Mark Twain