Regiment Fitness are putting on 4 free training camps in the build up to the Warrior Adrenaline Race in April and I intend to go along to all 4 of them, and report back on them here. The other training camps are being held on Dunstable Downs from 1130 until 1300 on Saturdays 15 February, 15 March and 5 April. You do have to pay £2 for parking but that goes to the National Trust anyway so you should not have an issue with that.
I had left my house later than I had planned and so arrived only just in time, and I would not want to arrive late for a Regiment Fitness session. Thankfully, I was still in time to say hello to Claire Baldwin, Nina Smith and Serena Ebbs from the St Albans Regiment Fitness sessions, and it was good to see some familiar faces among the massive turnout. The session was introduced by Steven Nodwell, and he was going to be taking it with Dean Clarke and Graham Grover. Shaun Casey was also there and Adam Meakins turned up a little later to take photographs. We started with a running warm up from Dean in front of the Dunstable Downs visitor centre, running not in a circle but in random directions around the area (although mostly it looked like we were running in circles), moving our arms or raising our knees, or bringing our legs up behind us, or kicking out our toes, or at one point kicking out our right toes and bringing our left leg up behind us, and just to add to that from time to time we had to hug five people, or give them high fives, anything to keep us moving in a very dynamic warm up. And it would not be Regiment Fitness if we did not finish the warm up with a few options for a final run. I chose to take it on and ran to the metalwork sculpture thing and then back to the van for some water.
We moved on to the circuit, which was explained by Steven and run by all of them as we were in such a long line. We worked in pairs with one of us doing two shuttle runs out to the poles and back while the other person did as many squats, then press ups, then sit ups, and then close hand press ups as they could manage in the time it took for the shuttle runs, with us swapping after each run. We then did the same thing but with a bear run out to the pole and a sprint back, with our partner doing first squat jumps and then alternate leg raises from a lying position, with the arms coming up to touch the toes. Obviously, all that running was not enough, so we too a run to the crow’s nest to finish off.
We split into three groups and I started with Graham, doing jerry can shuttle runs in pairs, each of us going five times. I ran three times with the jerry can in my right hand, and twice with it in my left. Then we moved on to doing upward rows, first ten and then twenty, and before we knew it we were moving on to the next station.
In my case that was boxing, which was being taken by Steven (who I know very well from my usual Regiment Fitness sessions), and I paired up with Serena for timed periods of straight arm punching, then upper cuts, before we moved on to straight arm punching as we came up from the sit up position. We finished off with some more straight arm punching before we quickly moved on to the final station.
Dean was waiting by the logs and we got into teams of three to each log, starting with it one on shoulder before lifting it above our heads, doing little pumps up and down with it, then taking it down on to the other shoulder before repeating. We then held the log across the three of us at chest level to do squats to his command, moving up and down as he said, or holding it half way, and going at different speeds. Anything, just to add to that burn in the legs. He followed that up with us sitting on the ground holding the log across us and doing a variety of sit ups, or holding in the half sit up position, until finally the torture was over. The last thing I needed after all that was a run.
So the run was going to last for about 40 minutes and because I had been stupid enough to go into the top group I would be carrying a 12.5kg bergen for the duration. We were with Graham and ran the beginning phase of the Warrior Adrenaline Race course, so that was useful in itself, starting from the visitor centre and heading away down the hill over the Downs, following the path until it really went downhill very steeply and I had to take a wide arc to bring myself to a halt without skidding over. At the start Graham had suggested we would run for about 200 metres and then walk before running for another 200 metres, but it seemed to me that we mostly ran and then ran some more. We had taken one stop along the way to allow everyone to stay together as a group, but mainly to allow Graham to make us do some more squats. Now we had reached the turning point (where they have the zipwire in the Race) we did some more squats before continuing along the bottom path. This was a long stretch of running which was made harder by the fact it was impossible to get any grip on the muddy track, and eventually we came down another downhill part of the track which bent round into a stopping point where Graham had us run up a slope to a tree and back a couple of times. The slope was quite steep, but nothing compared to what was to come. From here we would run over another hill before turning left to finish with the real hill. A very intimidating slope that seemingly defies all attempts to actually run up it. For now I was content to just make sure I kept going and did not stop some forward movement of whatever sort. I met Adam and Shaun on the way up and took full advantage of the photo opportunity.
It will come as no surprise to anyone that I was not the first one up that hill, but I was also not the last, so that is something to build on for next time.
From there it was just a matter of getting across the top of the Downs to the van for the warm down. It had been a tough hour and a half, and a very satisfying session. There was definitely a buzz among those who were there and I fully expect to see them back at the next training camp in February. You should come along too.
You can see more photographs from the session here.
If you want an idea of what happens in the Warrior Adrenaline Race then you can read about when I ran it last year here.