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Backpacker Magazine – August 2008

No-Excuses Fitness Training Tips

Having trouble getting motivated? These soldiers toughen you up with their custom can't-quit tips.

by: Christine Cyr

Lt. Christine Bone leads her Venture Quest team. (Dan Hicok)
Lt. Christine Bone leads her Venture Quest team. (Dan Hicok)

When Lt. Christine Bone began training for the 2008 Primal Quest–a 10-day, 500-mile adventure race held this June in western Montana–she needed a place to run. Her only option: A dusty track circling an airbase in the Iraqi desert. Mortars and snipers, not blisters, were her main concern. "It was definitely scary," says Bone, 35, who ran 50 to 60 miles a week, occasionally wearing a 20-pound flak vest when the base was on high alert. The danger factor, she quips, made her run faster. Scott Olson, 32, an Army Special Forces sergeant and one of Bone's Primal Quest partners on Team Enduring Freedom, logged his own hazardous miles while serving his fifth tour in Afghanistan. To state the obvious, the pair had every excuse to skip training sessions–but didn't. Here are their tips for achieving top fitness under any circumstances.

>> Speed up
Bone's fast pace limited her exposure to snipers, but high-intensity workouts are also a good way for time-strapped athletes to get maximum return for their training. You can do the same thing in the gym with circuit training by moving rapidly between machines to keep your heart rate high.

>> Avoid routine Land mines limited Olson's training rides to a single 3.5-mile loop inside the base, so he fought boredom by adding off-road challenges to his rides. Bone and Olson also recruited training partners to add social variety to their workouts.

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Reader Rating: -


Oct 12, 2009

As a member of the SFA who donated to the team I also would like to find out what happened? did team 79 finish? what is their AAR and are they doing more together? I know the PQ is grueling and asks for all you have so did our sponsoree give it their best shot or what?

Oct 03, 2008

I was expecting more tips on staying motivated rather than one individual's story of making time to workout while on a deployment, although it does give some inspiration.
Some things that have worked for me include -setting yourself a workout schedule,
-making monthly goals,
-finding friends to hold you to your goals, -rewarding yourself for staying with a routine (nice dinner out or buying gear you've wanted), -keeping a logbook of your progress, etc.
These and other ideas were the kinds of things I expected from such an article.

2008 PQ Finisher
Sep 08, 2008

I would rather read the root cause leading to the failure of this team to finish and more importantly the direct lessons that they have learned and will carry them across the finish in the future.


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