FM: Hi, I am 38 years old, I am 193 cm tall and I weight 96 kg – that is 6’4″ and 210 pounds. I live in Prague, Czech Republic. I divide my time between the city and staying in my country house at the mountains.
SGPT: Did you have an athletic background growing up?
FM: Very little. I was always an intellectual type and considered physical activity a nuisance. I was not good at anything, hated the school physical education and always did my best to avoid it. I preferred reading. I learned how to ride a bike later than the others and only learned to swim when I was 10. When the other kids were climbing the trees I usually got stuck at a branch and couldn’t get down. Nobody ever explained me properly how useful the fitness is. School neglects it and my parents didn’t push me when they saw me how I suffered trying. I only started to do any kind of sport around the age of 18 – a skinny tall guy with no muscle, no strength and no coordination. I started to practice a military version of Korean Hwarangdo for the next 10 years. My knees and feet got pretty messed up… About 15 years ago I moved on to a weight training – Muscle&Fitness kind of thing for the lack of knowing better. Slowly started to get a bit smarter, I hope. I started to run more and more. Hiking and climbing, cross country running, obstacle courses, MMA training, CrossFit. I still pay the price for neglecting myself at the younger age. I don’t have that basic athletic foundation most other people have. Things don’t come easy.
SGPT: How did you train for the GoRuck and Spartan Race?
FM: I train every free day when my work permits – it comes to about 5 days a week on average. I do not really train specifically for Spartan or Goruck. I consider both a great way to test myself and to train with a better focus. But it is not a goal for me to win a Spartan Race or to crush every Goruck challenge around. These are more a means to get more fit and be healthier and stronger mentally and physically. My routine would be a daily training at CrossFit gym. I do CrossFit for the last 4 years. I run every second day – more in the summer less in the winter. There are hills next to my house so I usually run uphill for the first half an hour and then do some 5 to 10 sprints of 200 meters. As an endurance I run for another 40 – 60 minutes, trying to put some jumps, tree climbs, bear crawls, burpees and throws. Trying to keep it varied and fun. I run barefoot half of the time or wear minimal shoes. I follow paleo and primal diet about 90% of the time, get enough of sun and plenty of sleep. I am trying to keep all elements of fitness in balance and when the challenge comes just do it with what I have in me without changing anything too much. Today I find the most inspiration in the Gym Jones, SEALFIT, SOFwod and SEALGrinderPT programs. Thank you for that!
SGPT: Tell us a little about each one?
FM: Spartan race was much easier than I expected. It was only the basic one with some 15 obstacles and about 5 miles long so I understand the Super and the Beast will be quite different. We had to drive the whole day to get to the point and got a very little sleep so I was more uncomfortable. Good on the run, harder on the obstacles. It was very hot and the other guys in our team got pretty bad leg cramps. I was running easy but it would get much harder if I had to do more penalty burpees.
Goruck was what I expected – it is much more mental and you have to use your brain – don’t get negative, ever. The most important is to take it somehow seriously – you know why are you there, you know you will not quit and that everything is easier if you divide it to a number if small steps. Pay attention to the cadre and do what you are told even if you don’t like it. I went to 2 GR challenges only so can’t compare much. The first one had 11 people in the team and things were physically harder but we got together as a team very fast. The second one was easier with less weight and many more people so I felt that cadre could have pushed us harder but that is personal. I have registered for 6 more GRCs this year so I will be able to judge it better later. I enjoyed the part of having to wrestle for the privilege of the toilet stop – my grappling skills got handy!
SGPT: What was hardest part of each one?
FM: In Spartan race – getting there! Eastern Slovakia is a bit of a journey. Some obstacles were harder than others – barbed wire crawl took me a long time. It was uphill and the mud was really hard clay with a lot of sharp stones plus many people already tore the wires down. I fell down from the climbing wall right away which was embarrassing.
In GORUCK challenge the first log we got was horrible and we were made to into the stinkiest swampy waters. We were wet and miserable for a good part of the challenge and the final time was made impossible to meet. The hardest part were the little personal discomforts – I had an unpleasant chaffing on the first one and a really bad knee pain on the second that I couldn’t help even with a lot of ibuprofen. But the worst part was being carried by the others as a casualty. I am quite big and heavy so got selected as a casualty often. After a while this gets really painful and it sucks. Don’t be a casualty!
SGPT: What is one thing you wish you would have done to get ready for either?
FM: I would probably do the same. I felt my training worked well for me. I didn’t have enough salt on the first GRC – plenty of water yes but it is a good idea to get a lot of magnesium and hydrating Electrolyte salt tablets. Also, tight shorts to prevent chaffing are a good idea. I didn’t have it and I suffered quite a bit.
SGPT: Any tips for up and coming athletes that want to do these challenges?
FM: Get plenty of sleep the nights before! Everything is much harder if you don’t. Drink plenty of water and eat properly on the day. Know your shoes and take care of your feet, tape if necessary to prevent blisters. I would suggest a lot of uphill running and sprints for training. Heavy lifting – squats, deadlifts. Bodyweight exercises are the basic – be able to climb the rope and do a good number of push-ups and pull-ups. It is true that the biggest part is mental but you must also have a good physical foundation to enjoy yourself or you will just suffer. Do things with enthusiasm and dedication. It is not an empty phrase. It really helps.
SGPT: Many thanks for the interview Filip
FM: My pleasure! See you outside!
Brandon Siebert Spartan Race interview and tips