I have a real love/hate relationship with Burpees.
I hate them because they suck.
I love them because they are highly effective in increasing my ‘endurance-battery’ when training for longer races.
But I also mostly hate them because they suck!
Back in 2017 when I was training for my very first Spartan Beast,
which happened to be Big Bear (back before ANYONE knew just how brutal that venue would turn out to be), I decided that the best way to train for an obstacle laden 13+ mile slog up a ski slope would be to mimic obstacles while running. Now, I didn’t have access to any real obstacles at the time, but I did have a rather hilly route I could run that would pass by 3 different parks. Since the parks all had pull-up bars in them, I decided I could make a 13ish mile loop out of it, winding thru the parks to stop at the pull-up bars to do a quick set. Not thinking that would be enough, I came up with the idea of stopping every time I finished a mile as if I had come to the next obstacle of the course. I would simulate the effort of an obstacle by doing a set of burpees before continuing on my run.
The first few times I did my burpee-run
I was only doing sets of 5, but I eventually turned that into sets of 10. Wanting to hit 150 burpees, I decided to do a set of 10 BEFORE starting the run and a set of 10 AFTER finishing. I won’t pretend that those runs ever got EASY, but I do remember feeling much better coming into and out of obstacles on race day after training like that. There’s just something about training with burpees that hardens your body in a way that nothing else seems to do.
The only downside of training with burpees?
They totally suck!
Doing burpees always makes me feel like my heart is actively looking for a way to escape thru my chest. I sweat profusely and my breathing gets constricted. Then I do another burpee! It’s brutal! To be completely honest, I haven’t been using burpees in my training since late 2017. Why? Mainly because they never seem to stop sucking, but also because I felt I was getting to a point where I didn’t need them anymore. But more honestly, because I hate them.
However, I do know that there’s really nothing that trains you better to be a hardened obstacle course runner than the good ol-fashioned burpee, so I’ve had it in the back of my mind that I really should start training with them again. Way, WAY back in my mind. So last thursday, August 29th, 2019,
when a fellow co-worker came sauntering into the kitchen area yapping about doing a daily challenge for the month of September,
the hairs on the back of my neck started standing up. He was going on and on about how there was this challenge that he heard about that he was planning on doing and since we (another co-worker I was eating with and I) were always talking about Spartan Race stuff maybe we would like to join him. . .
in a challenge to do 100 burpees a day!
Luckily September only has 30 days, but that’s still 3,000 burpees in a month! Not being one to back down from a challenge, I clarified that they didn’t have to be all in one sitting, just 100 per day, and then made sure I didn’t look as pale as I felt before saying of COURSE I’d do the challenge with him! I’ve done Big Bear 3 times now. I’ve finished 2 Marathons this year. 100 burpees a day shouldn’t be too bad, right? I guess I’ll find out!
Today was Day 1, and I figured I'd easy into it.
My plan was to take 50 minutes, doing a set of 10 every 5 minutes. I cranked up some motivational tunes and got to work at 9:10am. Turns out, sets of 10 every 5 minutes makes the challenge VERY doable. I was finishing each set in about 30-35 seconds, leaving me just around 4 1/2 minutes to lower my heart rate before starting in again. By 9:55 (and 35 seconds) I was done with my 100 and felt very good about it.
100 down with only 2,900 left to go!
Not wanting to skate thru this challenge without actually CHALLENGING myself, I plan on lowering my interval time from 5 minutes to 4 tomorrow and see how that goes. I’m toying around with the idea of constantly shrinking the interval time and seeing if I can get to 1 set of 100 by day 30!
If this challenge seems like one you want to do, because burpees are SO MUCH FUN, please join in and leave a comment below letting me know! If you think this challenge sounds like insanity, you’re NOT WRONG, but feel free to join me anyway! Who knows, maybe by day 30 we’ll all be burpee-proof, or have developed super-powers, or never want to do another burpee again! Either way, I’ll keep this blog updated with my progress, especially as I work my way toward my first ever trip to Tahoe at the end of this month to run the Spartan World Championship Beast course. I’ll finally be able to answer the question for myself. . .which beast is more difficult? Big Bear, or Tahoe? Why couldn’t the question be which ice-cream tastes better? Choco-Chunky-Chip, or Minty-Caramel-Breeze?
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