Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Prep Work For The 4HB "5K to 50K" 12 Week Program

My athletic experience approaching the 4HB  "5K to 50K" 12 Week Program came from training as a triathlete for the past three years and recently completely the Augusta 70.3 Ironman. My fitness levels were to a point where an hour swimming or two hours running or three hours on the bike were common place. My previous regiments also included strength training and advanced yoga practice. And all my metabolic conditions (for my age and background) were considered excellent by my personal physician who had seen me go from 220lbs down to as low as 175lbs, the week before Augusta.

Overall my goal with the 12 Week Program was to improve the speed and quality of my running. But immediately, from the first sentence, the program was trouble. As mentioned previously, it is written in a cryptic shorthand, with no readily available translation. Before making a serious commitment to the program, Your Humble Narrator had to first figure out it was based on Crossfit workouts, and then find a Crossfit instructor to break it down into digestible pieces. Easier said than done. 

Perhaps some aggressive Googling could have helped me make sense of it, but the easy road is rarely fun. Instead, after checking out three different gyms, never hearing back from the first (after MULTIPLE attempts,) getting nothing but the cold shoulder from a visit, an email, voicemail, & texts to the second gym, the third gym (CrossFit Portside!) turned out to be an excellent fit with my schedule and daily commute. 

Sara Carter, owner and instructor, looked over the plan with me. Without any hesitation, she politely, yet firmly let me know that it would be COMPLETELY INSANE for me to try to do this one my own. Ironman or not! Sara smiled and suggested the very first couple of days would "crush me." And if power lifting wasn't already on my list of skills, the result would be painful, long lasting damage. She suggested at least one month, if not more, of getting a good grip on the fundamentals of Crossfit, finding my existing limits, then adapting the program to more reasonable exercises while still using the majority of the plan.

Which is what has been happening for the past two and a half months: lifting and sweating and all but puking multiple times a week at Crossfit Portside. After working closely with Sara, it only strengthened my belief in her opinions of the 4HB program and helped me see that it was actually very advanced and very difficult. So while Tim Ferriss might suggest "anyone can do it," it has taken me about 10 weeks of Crossfit (on top of 3 years of triathlons) to get to the point where the program is doable.

And in 12 weeks, we shall all know see the results of this challenge.
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