Georgia Warrior Dash

Georgia Warrior Dash

“The Warrior”

by Fadi Malouf

By the time I fight through a mud pit under lines of barbed wire, climb over spinning tree trunks in a murky pond, pull myself up a slippery ramp, and hurdle two walls of fire, I will have conquered more than physical obstacles during a race of more than 3,500 kilometers.

I will have trained and reached a goal that not all world class bodybuilders like myself are  willing to attempt.  I will have succeeded in a cardio-intense foot race with competitive runners trained for speed or endurance.

Skeptics tell me that running and bodybuilding don’t mesh. Their arguments center on a theory that muscle mass built through high intensity weight training slows you down as a runner. They warn that bulk built through weight training stresses knees and leads to injuries to soft muscle tissue.

As a professional trainer, I help others set and reach many goals, just as I have learned to achieve personal goals. Such goals come in all sizes:  from finishing the next rep, to completing what I start, to making myself better than my competitors.

You do not see many bodybuilders on a track, running interval-style sprints around a 440-meter oval.  Nor is it common to spot elite weight trainers logging dozens of kilometers at a steady pace along woodland cross country trails or paved roads.

So while I don’t fit the profile of a medium or long distance runner, I decided to train myself to run for 30 minutes without stopping.  Despite cautious reminders from friends that heavy weights build bulky and inflexible muscles — the antithesis of what a light and flexible runner would want — I decided to prove I am a warrior.

The Warrior Dash is a leader in a new generation of adventure races, where waves of athletes run a cross country course dotted with obstacles, booby traps, and barriers.  The obstacles include crossing balance beams over a lake, navigating dozens of tires, scaling wooden walls, climbing towers over cargo nets, running over junked cars, and working through hilly wooded trails in ankle deep mud, trying to keep from sliding down to the bottom.

As you journey through the course at a runner’s steady pace, you also crawl through tunnels, leap over roots and logs, slide into a mud pit, and eventually leap over walls of flame to the cheers of fellow warriors at the finish.

I have prepared myself to push my limits, suppress any doubts, and push through this beast of a race within my personal goal of 30 minutes.

Had I not trained with my goal in mind, and carefully measured my training course, and timed my mile splits, I would not be able to approach my challenge with confidence.  I will line up as a Warrior, strong in the knowledge that not only will I meet each challenge, but I will likely run my second half of the course faster than my first.

Running is not typical for bodybuilders, but I am proof that if you set a goal and work consistently toward that goal, you can succeed at both sports.  If you run  20 to 30 minutes a few times a week, including several sprints or hill intervals, you will burn fat.  You can do this and still maintain a hard-core weight training regimen.

When you set your running goal, let each run be a little longer, or a little faster, than the last run.  Set the bar a bit higher every time you run.  In the end you will be right where you want to be.

Author: Fadi Malouf