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Matt's Log


Level 7 Valued Member
Sandbag Carry-50 lbs (it was a long sandbag so I just draped it over my shoulders)- 1 mile in 15 minutes, HR Avg-151, Max 161

This sir is perfect training for when your son hits two years old and shoulder rides become his favourite form of transport.

What HR you aiming for with your LSD work?


Level 6 Valued Member
This sir is perfect training for when your son hits two years old and shoulder rides become his favourite form of transport.

What HR you aiming for with your LSD work?

Hah! I didn't didn't think about this, but you're dead on. I was planning on doing more loaded carries after the race anyways, but now I have some extra motivation ;).

My MAF training zone is 151-161, but I don't usually try to get it all the way up to 161, especially now that my sleeping habits are less than ideal. I like to keep it in the low to mid 150's, but I'm sure you notice that my HR on the rower was pretty low. I haven't rowed for a while, and I just did the hardest pace that I thought I could maintain. I'm sure if my technique was dialed in I could have pushed a little harder and got up to my ideal HR, but I'm not too worried, since I was just looking for a stand in until my foot feels better. I know the rower is your preferred form of LSD, and I gotta say, I'm impressed. My butt hurt, my hip flexors felt like they were going to explode, and right now I have some unusual soreness smack in between my shoulder blades...


Level 6 Valued Member
March 27
Rest day. Got very little sleep, so instead of training I took a nap.

March 28
KBS-1H-8x10 (each side) @ 24K-19 minutes, OTHR≈130
HR Avg-139, Max-156
BtP-9x1 (each side) @ 32K
Ruck-50 lbs, 1 mile, 14 minutes
HR Avg-141, Max 150
Note-Tried switching up the order of swings and presses to see if there was a difference. There was. My hip snap is pitiful right after I wake up. I'm 93% sure that the only reason I got an extra 20 swings in was that for the first 20-40 swings, I was still warming up. My HR stayed low because my power production was low. It would appear that I'm a "wake up and grind" sort of guy. Also did a little rucking to see how my foot felt. I had a little ankle pain at the very end of the mile, so I'll just keep taking it easy. I am a little worried that I won't be able to get much running in before the race, but at least I know I'll be able to finish regardless.

March 29
BtP-10x1 (each side) @ 32K & 40K (7:3)
KBS-1H-7x10 (each side) @ 24K-20 minutes, OTHR≈130
HR Avg-142, Max-158
Note-I've started taking a little bit of a GTG approach to my bent presses. About 6 of today's 10 were all in one session, and the rest were spread out through the day. I'll probably keep doing that. I paid more attention to how my swings "felt" compared to yesterday; and I could definitely tell a difference. Yesterday I felt like I was arduously heaving the bell up for a lot of the sets, whereas today I felt like everything was just slamming right into place.


Level 6 Valued Member
March 30
BtP-7x1 (each side) @ 32K & 40K (6:1)
KBS-1H-6x10 (each side) @ 24K-14 minutes, OTHR≈130
HR Avg-139, Max-158

March 31
BtP-10x2 (each side) @ 24K
Messed around with snatches, did about 100
Note-Decided to take it down a notch on the weight of the presses; my forearms have been giving me a rough time lately. I'll probably rotate some lighter days like today in until things feel better. I was just unmotivated this evening so I decided to do some snatches for fun, and so I could figure out how to set up my HR monitor so it wouldn't get smashed. I'm toying with the idea of mixing in snatches, but I think for now I need to avoid shiny object syndrome and just stick with the plan until after the race. Which is only in 5 weeks.


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Level 6 Valued Member
April 1
BtP-7x2 (each side) @ 24K
KBS-1H-7x10 (each side) @ 24K-18 minutes, OTHR≈130
HR Avg-142, Max-159
April 2
Had drill this weekend. Set up a barbell and did sumo DL's and some dumbbell bent presses throughout the day
BtP-6x1 (each side) @ 32K
KBS-1H-5x10 (each side) @ 24K-9 minutes, OTHR≈140
HR Avg-142, Max-160
Note-I bumped the HR baseline up to 140 today, purely because I was tired and wanted to crank through 100 swings fairly quickly. I was a little worried that my HR would get too high, but something interesting happened instead. My HR dynamics didn't change much, and my swings still felt powerful and snappy. it would appear the only significant difference was that I got through the swings more quickly (I normally hit 100 swings at about 12 minutes when I'm going OTHR≈130). I think this bears further investigation.

April 3
Rest day. I normally sleep til about 9 or 10 since my sleep is more piecemeal these days, and getting up before 7 for drill the last two days has slowed me down a little. Tomorrow might be a good day for a longer A+A session.


Level 6 Valued Member
I decided there's not really any reason for me to post the HR graph for each session (read: I'm lazy), so I'll just be including it for longer/interesting sessions instead.

April 4
KBS-2H-5 reps OTM @ 32K for 45 minutes
HR Avg-143, Max-157
Note-I put some gloves on at 30 minutes to deal with some hot spots, but since I couldn't hold onto the bell as well, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get as much power into my hip extension. It's interesting to see the abrupt decline in HR due to a decline in power after that. We really are limited by our grip.

April 5
Rest day. I realized that this might be a good time to have a de-load week. I'll keep doing BtPs and swings, but I'll keep things pretty relaxed.

April 6
BtP-6x1 (each side) @ 32K & 40K (5:1)
KBS-1H-5x10 (each side) @ 24K-10 minutes, OTHR≈140
HR Avg-144, Max-159

April 7
BtP-6x1 (each side) @ 32K & 40K (4:2)
KBS-1H-5x10 (each side) @ 24K-10 minutes, OTHR≈140
HR Avg-144, Max-159


Level 6 Valued Member
April 8
Rest day. Spent an hour and a half messing around on the BMX track with some kids.

April 9
BtP-5x2 (each side) @ 24K
Did some light hiking with my wife and son, testing out the baby carrier and soaking up some sun. I meant to do some swings today, but that didn't happen.

April 10
LSD day. Decided to run for a while, then take it inside before my foot started to cause any trouble. Ended up with a hour of activity total.
Ran 3 miles in 30 minutes, mostly over grass.
HR-Avg-157, Max 163
-Went inside and did a "labor session." I didn't really look at my HRM, but I tried to stay relaxed and just do my reps correctly.
Snatches-5x10 (each side) @ 16K
Jerks-3x10 (each side) @ 20K
KBS-2H-5x5 @ 40K
Front rack carry-2x1:00 @24K&20K
Farmer carry-2x1:00 @24K&20K
HR-Avg-147, Max-170 (spent 3-4 minutes total above my MAF training zone)


Level 6 Valued Member
April 11
BtP-7x1 (each side) @ 32K
KBS-1H-8x10 (each side) @ 24K-19 minutes, OTHR≈140
HR Avg-147, Max-163

April 12
BtP-7x1 (each side) @ 32K
KBS-1H-8x10 (each side) @ 24K-17 minutes, OTHR≈140
HR Avg-143, Max-162


Level 6 Valued Member
April 13
Rest Day

April 14
Btp-6x1 (each side) @ 32K
KBS-2H-Max Reps every 10 minutes @24K-40, 40, 35, 35
Note-Did more of a lactic acid-y session today. I'll do one of these each week now, until the race. Not a very sophisticated "peaking" program, but it should do alright. Next time I'll do snatches though; my grip started to go too soon with the swings.

April 15
Active rest day. Did a light weight test run/practice of the program that I'm thinking of picking up after the race.
TGU-5x1 (each side) @24K
Snatch-5x10 @16K
Note-I'm definitely feeling the effects of losing a little bit a sleep each night (some more than others) and not being able to make it up. I don't think I'll ramp up as much as I planned in the last few weeks before the race (May 7). I'm just going to try to be consistent at this point, so that means doing one LSD session per week, one short/heavily glycolytic session per week, and then essentially doing the same thing as I did the 11th and 12th on the other training days. As I write this, I realize I only have about two weeks of actual training left, then the week before the race, during which I might do one more heavily glycolytic session, but will mostly just be doing easy active stuff.


Level 6 Valued Member
April 16
BtP-7x1 (each side) @ 32K
KBS-1H-5x10 (each side) @ 24K-10 minutes, OTHR≈140
HR Avg-145, Max-158
Ran 1.15 miles in 11 minutes, HR Avg-151, Max-159
Note-I reduced my KB swings in favor of some running. The idea being, I've built some general endurance, now I need to work on turning it into specific endurance. I probably should have started doing this a couple weeks ago. Whoops.

April 17 & 18
Sick days. Picked up some sort of bug and can barely function. Feels like I got hit by a truck (I've never been hit by a truck, so the analogy may not be accurate).

April 19
Feeling a little better. Like I only got hit by a Prius or something. I may resume light training tomorrow.


Level 6 Valued Member
April 20
Still feel the same

April 21
TGU-5x1 (each side) @ 24K
KBS-5x10 (each side) @ 20K
Short run
Note-Today was so nice I had to do something.

April 22
Slept like crap and still sick

April 23
KBS-5x10 (each side) @ 16K
TGU-5x1 (each side) @ 20K
Note-It must have been the flu, because it hit my like a truck and it's still just draaaagging me along. At this point it's one whole week of training down the drain. It's pretty disappointing, but once I get better I'll just keep it light and try not to screw things up. I've been subbing TGUs for BtPs since TGUs are easier to do with light weight, and I'm planning on switching over to S&S anyways after the race.


Level 6 Valued Member
April 24
KBS-5x10 (each side) @ 16K
TGU-5x1 (each side) @ 20K

April 25
KBS-5x10 (each side) @ 20K
TGU-5x1 (each side) @ 24K
Ran 1.3 miles in 13 minutes
Note-I was going to switch back to S&S after the race, but in light of how much things have been screwed up this last week, I think I'm just going to make the switch now; doing S&S in the mornings and doing some running in the evenings. I'll just keep it light and try not to screw things up this close to the race. On a rather humbling note, I decided to keep my swings light and just try to keep the rest periods pretty compressed. It turns out that, even after months of doing things based on hear rate or on the minute, with nothing lighter than 24K, I still can't comfortably do 10x10 swings with 20K in under 7 minutes. It might have something to do with my lingering flu, but I kind of like it since it gives me something to shoot for while I'm keeping it light.


Level 6 Valued Member
April 26
KBS-5x10 (each side) @ 20K
TGU-5x1 (each side) @ 24K

April 27
Rest day

April 28
KBS-5x10 (each side) @ 20K
TGU-5x1 (each side) @ 24K

April 29
KBS-5x10 (each side) @ 20K OTM
TGU-5x1 (each side) @ 24K
Note-I decided to start doing my swings OTM, then trying for the 5 minute goal when my HR graph looks like I'm not working too hard. Tomorrow I'll go for 5 minutes and see how it feels. The graph is for the entire session, warm up to TGU's. I think the 3 spikes during the warm are the goblet squats...

April 30
KBS-5x10 (each side) @ 20K-4:55. Power was good, but breathing was a little shaky. There was probably 10-15 reps where I wasn't able to maintain power breathing.
TGU-5x1 (each side) @ 24K
Note-Based on what little data I have, it would appear that when my HR for the swing sets looks like it did yesterday, then I am almost at the point where I can own 100 swings in 5 minutes with the same weight. The big lump in the middle of the graph is the swings, my HR peaked at 171. I call BS on the whole "5 minutes is a 1:1 work rest ratio" thing though ;). Each swing set takes about 18 seconds, so that equates to about six and a half minutes. Not that it really matters...


Level 6 Valued Member
May 1
KBS-5x10 (each side) @ 20 & 24K (4:1) OTM
TGU-5x1 (each side) @ 28K
Ran 5x250-ish meter repeats with about a 1:5 work:rest ratio

May 2
KBS-5x10 (each side) @ 20 & 24K (4:1) OTM
TGU-5x1 (each side) @ 28K

May 3
Rest day. Kind of. Spent the whole day driving o_O

May 4
KBS-5x10 (each side) @ 20 & 24K (3:2) OTM
TGU-5x1 (each side) @ 24K & 32K (3:2)
Note- For the last week or so I've been doing a few pistols almost every day while holding my son as a counter balance. He weighs about 13 pounds right now (up almost a pound from when I started), and if my calculations are correct, I should be able to do a 150 pound pistol here in the next 15-20 years. Ok, maybe not, but we'll see how long it lasts...
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Level 6 Valued Member
May 5
KBS-5x10 (each side) @ 20 & 24K (3:2) OTM
TGU-5x1 (each side) @ 24K & 32K (3:2)

May 6
Pre-race rest day. Sat in a car for about 5 hours to get up to Bigfork (where the race was held), then did a little OS work when we got there.

May 7
Alright, prepare for the data...
Spartan Beast-13.6 (ish) miles, with 3,400 feet of elevation change. It took our 4 man team 6 hours and 15 minutes to finish. There were 39 obstacles.
-If it had been just me and one of the other guys we probably could have finished in about 5 hours, but taking it slower was kind of nice. The fastest male did it in about 2:40, so it's not like I would have even been close to that. The slowest guys did it in 8-10 hours, and according to the data from the website, we were in the 75th percentile for our age group. Not terrible considering only two of us were in that age group and the other two were about 5 years older. I was probably the second best prepared of the four of us; the first and third best prepared guys were both runners (or at least they did a lot more running than me).
-I think a few things that saved me were that the course was so steep that there was more hill walking than actual running, and thanks to my strength training only a few of the obstacles were actually difficult. Some people complain that their grip is shot by the end of a Spartan race, but grip was never an issue for me, it felt almost as strong during the last jungle gym obstacle as it did during the first monkey bar obstacle (and the jungle gym was right after one of the more difficult loaded carry obstacles). For what it's worth, I did exactly zero penalty burpees the entire race.
-All the climbing stuff, water/mud stuff, and short/heavy stuff was pretty much just fun speed bumps, but here's my list of the obstacles that actually added to the difficulty of the race.
  • Sand bag carry- Around mile 2 we all carried 40 pound sand bags 240 meters up a hill (gaining 230 feet of elevation), and then back down. This was a pretty solid reality check early in the race.
  • Sand bag hoist- This was the one strength obstacle that wasn't a breeze. We had to pull down on a rope that was threaded through a pulley in order to lift a sand bag. The catch was, the sand bag had to have been as heavy/heavier than me, because even with all my weight on the rope, I was almost getting pulled off my feet. Luckily there was a metal fence set up, so I could push against it with my feet to help pull myself down. Very awkward.
  • Log carry-There were a few of these (most of them fairly short), but the first one was pretty devious. It was the longest (130 meters and 40 vertical feet down and then up), but it was also right after the sand bag hoist, which was right after a steep hill ascent, which was right after the sand bag carry.
  • Barbed wire roll-A little after mile 12 we had to get under 220 meters of barbed wire. Some people crawled, but just rolling was way more efficient. This wasn't so much hard as tedious. At least I didn't get nauseous.
  • Gravel bucket carry-Part of the reason this sucked so much was that it was less than 1/4 mile from the finish line. We had just come down a hill, then we had to fill a 5 gallon bucket 3 inches from the top with gravel and carry it back up and down the hill (125 meters and 65 vertical feet each way). There were no handles, so we just had to hug the buckets support the bottom. Anybody who's played around with loaded carries knows this is one of the suckiest ways to carry anything. It was also pretty taxing on the grip, so I think that's why so many people had trouble with the jungle gym that was 20 meters farther along.
Alright, now it's graph time, the legend is as follows:
1) Sand bag carry
2) First log carry
3) Barbed wire roll
4) Gravel bucket carry-The HR data is screwy here; I had to move my chest strap since I was holding the bucket against my chest.

I cut the last 10 minutes off of this graph, since the HR stuff was really wacky on the gravel carry.

It seemed like the grand scheme of the race was to use the big hills and obstacles to wear people out early, keep the middle part challenging but not crazy, and then end it with some stuff that really increased the suck factor so everyone had to grit it out in the end.
In regards to the time I could have gotten if we hadn't done it as a team (full disclosure, this was way more fun to do as a team), I would have been pretty solidly in the middle of the pack, so that fits pretty well with the norm for the training I did. Lot's of swings and a little sport specific practice seems to be all you need to compete, but not enough to really be competitive.
What I would have done differently:
  • Replaced all my long weekend runs with light/moderate weight rucking on trails. Steep trails. Still in MAF zone, though.
  • Replaced one of my 10-20 minutes running practices during the week with a loaded carry.
  • Started doing 1-2 high intensity sessions per week, starting 5 weeks out. I think 4-6 sessions total would have been better than the 2 or 3 that I ended up getting.
  • I would have tried to not get sick two weeks out from the race...
What I think I did right:
  • Doing light, easy "running practice" for 10-20 minutes a few days a week. In retrospect, this is probably all the running I needed.
  • Doing lots of A+A swings during the winter. Definitely this.
  • Keeping A+A swings as the core of my program. Maybe not the most ideal training, but the most accessible and there was plenty of carryover.
  • Keeping my heart rate in check while training, especially after my son came along a sleep quality/quantity declined. Much easier to recover.
  • The rucking and trail work I did do was good, I just should have done more of it.
Well. I'm impressed by anybody who read that whole thing...

May 8
Rest day. Did some OS stuff in the morning, went for a walk, then drove back home. My feet felt a little beat up, every muscle above my pelvis felt perfectly normal, and everything below my pelvis just felt like I had gone for a long hike the day before. Not bad.

May 9
Rest day again. Thought DOMS would get me, but I feel about the same as yesterday.

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
For what it's worth, I did exactly zero penalty burpees the entire race.

From what I hear from others, that is definitely worth something! First time I've heard of not having to do penalty burpees.

I like your assessment of what you would have done differently, and what you did right for training.

Congratulations! Sounds like a blast. Now that you've described it so well, I don't have to go do one. :)


Level 6 Valued Member
Haha @krg one the other guys who did it put it well "It was a lot of fun, in a hurty sort of way." @Anna C I have a near pathological loathing of burpees, so I was very motivated on the obstacles ;)

David S

Level 6 Valued Member
Hey Snowman, that's a great write up. You've convinced me that lots of A+A swings are in order for my own training! The actual obstacles in the race I'm in for are not being announced, but I'm expecting lots of hills and walls. On that point I see you didn't need to train pull ups, so assume you had a pretty good base there already?


Level 6 Valued Member
you didn't need to train pull ups, so assume you had a pretty good base there already?

Yes. I haven't actually trained pull ups for at least 6 months now, but they've never been much of an issue for me (I'm 5'10" and about 155 lbs). Up until a couple years ago I did a fair amount of rock climbing, and before that most of my training was higher rep calisthenics, so pull ups have been in the bag for a while. I've found that swings, especially one-handed swings, maintain my pull ups in the 12-15 rep range without any specific training.
If training time hadn't been a concern, I think adding more running and rucking and cutting the swings by maybe 30% would have been better prep (it was a foot race, after all), but I think the swings were a big reason why most of the obstacles were cake, and definitely why my grip lasted the entire time.
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