Point blank: Go off-road for your conditioning.
I feel that trail runs are superior to pavement or other conventional forms of cardio due to the inherent ability to prepare you for survival, for hunting, gathering water, or walking around the mall with your family. If there’s a hill, or even steady incline, run it. Feel free to rest when you’re on flat ground, walking carefully without pushing it.
I find that running hills gives me tertiary lower body work that tends to really help with the ankle mobility. My calves get tight, my hamstrings occasionally, but I always take time to mobilize before and after your “preparation” session. I would rather spend five minutes doing mobility for recover and longevity, then just five more of just walking.
Take a second to breathe. We have a unique opportunity when we’re out here to kind of push everything else away and not think about the struggles of the day. I have to be to work in an hour, and I don’t fucking care right now. You can breathe, you can feel alive out here. So, as much as it sucks while you’re doing it, embrace the pain, embrace the suck. I can promise you that it's pretty fucking awesome compared to what you’ll be doing for the next to eight hours or what you had done for the previous eight.
I’ve been trying to come up with a new term for “the woods”. I just don’t feel that does it justice. Trail hike, run, ruck, that’s all been used. It’s more than just walking in the woods. We need to take an opportunity to familiarize yourself with local environment. The trees and shrubs, what kind of berries are around, what kind of terrain, hills, valleys, creeks, creek beds… What kind of people do you see in the woods? Take note.
Take note of cover, of openings, water sources, wood sources, garbage piles. Take note, you never know when this could come in handy. Know where you are, know where you live. A majority of the trails I run are within a few miles of my house. Knowing these areas could pay huge returns, regardless of what the future holds.
Don’t just go into the woods when it's most convenient for you. Go in the morning, go at night, go at lunch. Get familiar with different times of the day. As I am speaking this, it’s 7:35am. It’s dark in here under the North Eastern canopies! The sun is shining at my house up on the hill, but down in the thick, it’s dark most of the day.
Carry water with you, always. Always. But, carry it in your hand. I figured this out by realizing that it pissed me off. I wanted to put my bottle in my bag or in one of the magazine pouches in my weighted plate carrier, and that’s why I don’t do it.
What the hell happened? I'm not sure, but I like it.
I prepped my meals for the first time in years last Sunday, and again last night. I check my weight every morning, and get excited to see it dropping. I prioritize preparing for my workout by using a systematic mobility and warm up program. Ironically, I'm even more excited to smash weights than I have been in a long time.
Often times people talk about a transformation as a physical change. This is much more than that. Something clicked within my head... something changed recently.
This is just the start. I'm committed to slow, consistent, progressive change.