Mental 117

    We’ve received a few emails/ comments asking the question “What’s with the beach training?”

    They read as a combination of true curiosity, a dab of non-constructive criticism, and maybe a touch of being sick of seeing photos of it.

    To address the simplest one first: We post photos of it because people take the time to shoot them. If you want to see different photos, take them and send them in. If they are up to par, we will gladly use them. Please and thank you.

    What’s with the beach training: Referring to another equally confusing question I was asked a while ago: If you don’t see the merit in it, I’m not going to try to change your mind. Keep doing what you’re doing, and god speed.

    Why we do it/ feel it’s important: In the quest for truly adaptable and high-level conditioning, varied stimulus is as important as the work ethic that drives the train, or the equipment that helps get the job done. All the strength and power and pace in the world does not make a bit of difference if when the surface or climate or implement changes your game plan falls apart. Sure, there are days like the one pictured above where the weather is near-perfect and even the discomfort of carrying a 150lb. wet log is offset by the general pleasantness of the surroundings, but there are also days like the one pictured below (-2 degrees Celsius, 24 MPH winds, wind chill of -19) when a 14lb. medicine ball feels like a 350lb. barbell coated in wet cement, and every move your body makes feels like you’re trying to crack yourself out of a plaster cast.

    What it (environment) helps teach us: First and foremost, if minute-to-minute comfort is your primary fuel source, a change of surroundings/ challenges/ baseline convenience will tell you immediately whether you want to be there. If you don’t want to be there, the log will drop. The ball will stop. And you will be no better conditioned than you were the day before.

    Meanwhile, narrowing your focus to the tasks at hand and relying on the foundation you’ve built that brought you to the environment in the first place will, by definition, develop your condition. The next time out it will be less uncomfortable, more manageable, and progress will have been made. Challenging conditions also help develop/ deepen an appreciation of our often well-appointed captive training environments. It’s something I like to think of as the Theory of relative discomfort. More on that soon.

    Referring to another familiar topic: If that all sounds like too much thought, effort, and seriousness to put into “working out”, then we’ll just have to agree to disagree.