Q&A 4.29.16


I have written to you many times in the past and followed many of your plans throughout my career.  Your programs are great and the things you do for the Military and LE community are phenomenal!  I have a few questions for you in regards to developing a custom training plan.

I am an Air Defense officer and don’t have a very physical job.  I really enjoy running and rucking and have run all kinds of races in the past.  I am currently deployed to Kuwait and have very bad gym facilities.  I was curious what you recommend for training for running the Palmetto 200 early next year with a team (this will be right after re-deploying in December) followed by as many full marathons as I can squeeze in with my wife’s permission?  I enjoy rucking and want to keep it in my training.  How would you recommend balancing so that I can ruck at least once a week and improve on my distance running?

As far as strength training, I am currently 5’7 and 167lbs.  I feel like I need to lose some weight to be competitive at running.  Don’t know if you agree or not???  Which strength exercise would you say are absolutely necessary in my plan, and what bodyweight exercise do you recommend?

My final question is intervals, what is a good distance/interval to work when you are trying to improve your speed/time on distance runs?  Is a ton of 800’s good or should I be looking at running 1 mile repeats?

Thank you for all of your help and I look forward to hearing from you!


Training Recommendation:

1) Humility – Incorporates bodyweight strength work, running and loaded running (IBA/vest) – great option for you now. http://mtntactical.com/shop/humility/


You’re too heavy if you want to solely focus on running. You should weigh around 145-150. I’m not sure if your fat, or thick. I’m your size and weight around 160 … and I’m thick. If you want to move in this direction, from our stuff, I’d recommend the Ultra Pre-Season Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/ultra-running-preseason-training-program/) and the ketogenic diet – which will greatly reduce your protein intake and should help you cut muscle.

Good luck!

– Rob


I have a couple questions for you. I’m trying to get in shape for a couple backcountry hunts this fall and I’m running into some training limitations. I’m a cnc machinist, and I work 4, 10 hour shifts where I am standing for most of that time. I just turned 30, I’m in decent shape, and I have no problem getting around in the mountains with a pack, but I’m looking to get into great shape for these hunts.

I would like to do the backcountry hunt training program but I’m concerned about being able to recover from the workouts and being on my feet for so many hours. I’m sure you have ran into this issue with other customers, so I was wondering what you would recommend for training?


Please know the mountain doesn’t care about your job, or in any other way about you or your situation. To be super fit for a serious backcountry hunt takes a certain level of hunting-specific fitness. Is it going to suck some days, following the plan and still working on your feet. Absolutely. It’s going to suck.

But – we’ve got active duty, deployed and garrison military guys completing our selection training plans in addition to doing their work/training, and morning PT. You can do it.

How to implement the plan and your work schedule?

It’s a 8-week, 6 day/week plan, with day 5 each week a relatively easy run, and day 6 a full-on, long, “mini event,” – which you’ll need to do on one of your off days.

I’d recommend training before your shift the for the first 4 days each week, doing day 5 of that week on your first off day, and day 6 on your second off day. Day 7 of your week will be full rest.

Tips…. Fix your diet and eat clean. Eating clean will add greatly to your performance and recovery. Note there is no caloric restriction in our nutritional guidelines – you should never be hungry.

Sleep. Get it – 7+ hours night, if possible.

Extra days of rest … note the plan is designed to be completed exactly 8 weeks out from your hunt. By starting about 10 weeks out, you can add in an extra day of total rest a week and still complete all the training sessions in the plan prior.

Good luck and good hunting!

– Rob



I am military & mountain athlete(ish) from Canada. I heard about some of your programs, from friends in the states.

I’ve already done the ‘selection training’ & ‘mountain training’ times of my life, and now I am a seasoned(read, broken) veteran who’s trying to optimize(read, find) a training regime – mostly cause I’m about one injury away from losing a dream job, that I’ve broken myself for.

Two-handed fluffer intro ends, business follows;

After some serious patience, and some solid physio, I have recovered from a back/ankle/wrist injury – these parts feel strong(as in, fixed) but weak(as in, haven’t been trained in awhile).

In my tactical job, I focus a great deal in a mountain(ish) specialty. After looking at your training menu, I see a handful of your programs that apply to my performance requirements;


  • -alpine
  • -backcountry hunting
  • -green tac athlete
  • -*shooting/cqb (I saw a couple articles on your site, if you’re still developing that training?)
  • Kinda-Seasonal
  • -ice/mix climb
  • -rock climb
  • Seasonal
  • -Backcountry ski

How do I go about combining these programs together to get the performance I’m looking for?

OR How do I go about convincing you to build me a Franken-program?

Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of ‘downtime’ for my unit, and although the war against shit heads is a marathon, we do a lot of sprinting. How can I build my Franken-program, into something that I can scale up/down through-out the year OR manage periodization(i think that’s the word)?

Quick answer is to train for your job first.

Second, training for everything at the same time = not being trained up well for anything.

Finally, you’re not unique on the tactical or mountain side in terms of former injuries. This is the price of living an active life.

My specific advice is to within the constraints of training for your job first, to do sport-specific “train ups” directly prior to trips or events.

Many of the mountain events you describe share fitness demands – uphill and downhill climbing ability, load carriage, etc.

Backcountry skiing demands some eccentric leg strength for the ski down.

Climbing – mixed/ice and rock, demand focused grip/finger strength training which is difficult to train without haning on your tools or fingers.

For your day to day training, I’d recommend our Operator Sessions.

4-6 weeks Prior to trips/events drop out of the Operator Sessions and into a sport-specific training plan for the sport. I.e, if you’re planning multiple weekends of mixed/ice climbing in November, October 1, drop out of the Operator Sessions and complete the mixed-ice training plan sessions, or, double up and complete the climbing-specific sessions in the mixed-ice plan as 2-a-days, in the evenings.

With a subscription to the website you can easily make these switches between plans. Here are the day to day training sessions and all the training plans you get access to with a subscription: http://info.strongswiftdurable.com/new-subscription-with-plans

Hesitant to subscribe? Start our stuff with Fortitude: http://mtntactical.com/shop/fortitude/

– Rob



I would like to use some of your programs but I’m not sure where to start. I am 7 weeks out from running in a Spartan Sprint and Spartan Super in Chicago. I have my diet in check but my fitness is not great. I have a military background so in the past I’ve done a lot of running and rucking and bodyweight stuff. I’m currently 43 years old though and haven’t done any of that stuff in 10 years, although I have gotten back into running. I’m currently running 2 miles 3x a week. Have been doing that for a few weeks. Run really slow but can do it. Anyway, after I run those two races I’m also running a Spartan beast in August. What I’m looking for is a plan where I can work on my endurance but at the same time I want to lift weights. I’m really skinny. 6ft tall 165 pounds. I guess I’m looking for functional strength and endurance if that makes sense. I want to put on a little muscle though because I have none, but I also want the endurance. Now with all that said I’m not in those Spartan races to win. I just want to be able to respectfully complete them so I don’t have to be a robot when it comes to endurance. I have zero plans to run any ultra stuff or anything like that. Next year in 2017 though I plan on going away from the Spartan stuff and trying my hand at Goruck type stuff. Spartan also does an event called Agoge which I would like to try. It required endurance but also a lot of strength. Sorry for the long email Rob. I just need a plan of action. Where to start now and where to go from there. I really want to do weightlifting though so keep that in mind when you recommend something. I should also mention that my weightlifting experience in next to zero. I’ve done some but not much. So, what do you recommend? I’ll do whatever you think Rob. I just want to get started.


One thing at a time.

I’d recommend you begin our stuff with the Spartan Sprint Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/spartan-sprint-race-training-plan/

This plan includes focused running, but also strength and work capacity efforts.

Email back after your sprint.

Good luck!

– Rob



First off I would like to thank you for suggesting Fortitude and then Humility to prepare for mid distance OCR races..I took 4th place in the Spartan Super and 1st place in the Spartan sprint this past wknd in the competitive division and could not be happier! I also may have just qualified for the OCR world championship!  I took off 27 mins in my Super race from last year.  In the Sprint last year I tore my abdominal muscle and got a sports hernia on top of that going over an 8ft wall.  This year with the training programs that you suggested my core felt stronger than ever!  So Thank You again!  I’m preparing for the Spartan Beast 12+ miles in Breckenridge Colorado on Aug 27th.  From what I understand the race starts at nine thousand feet and ascends to thirteen thousand or so feet with all the usual straight up and down running/hiking.  One thing I noticed during these past two races and a recent Battlefrog race I did was that I need to get stronger in my upper body for the platinum rigs.  I will be performing several more races before the one in Colorado and am looking at them as an event day to get better at obstacles.. What I was thinking of doing is the Bodyweight Build and then Backcountry Big Game Hunting Training Program. My question is, would it be ok to add the Running Improvement plan to the Bodyweight Build or should I leave it as is?  Also, What is your thoughts on training with elevation training mask?  I’ve heard its of no use to just the opposite.  I live in the flat lands of Texas, so there is no elevation to speak of nor hills to run.  Any thoughts on what you suggest for training, my plan or otherwise would be greatly appreciated! 


1) Adding running improvement to Bodyweight Build? The plan includes running, but likely not as much as you need to be doing. Yes – You can do the two concurrently, either as 2-a days, or by substituting the Running Improvement sessions for the running and rucking in the bodyweight build plan.

2) Elevation training mask? We don’t have any experience with these so I can’t comment directly. I’m sorry. I did search for independent research on the affects and was unable to find any. In terms of your Spartan Beast in CO, if you can get to the venue a week or so early, it will greatly help with your adaptation.

– Rob



I’m currently serving in the Royal Marines, but am waiting out until I can apply for a Briefing Course for SBS. It will be a while until I can.

But anyway, I was wondering which, if you could recommend, plan would be most suited to a long term training plan for the briefing course, and then Selection itself?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Long term I’d recommend a subscription to the website and beginning our stuff with the Virtue Series of plans in this order:

  • Humility
  • Fortitude
  • Valor
  • Resilience

Then drop into the daily Operator Sessions.

Directly prior to selection, I’d recommend the BUD/s V2 Training Plan.

– Rob



I am wrapping up the GoRuck Challenge training plan in prep for my event on May 13th. Needless to say I feel well prepared for the event given the programming you’ve provided, thank you.

I will be doing Spartan Race’s 12 hour hurricane heat in December and would like your advice on how to train for it. Its a team and individual event with time cut offs that if not met result in being removed from the event. The people I’ve talked to stress the need for good conditioning, strong work capacity, solid running base, and of course endurance.

Looking through the training plan options I thought the Virtue Series and Valor plans would fit the bill. Would either of those be better prep for the event? I have 7 months to train for this event with two other spartan races in that time (Super in July and Beast in September).

Any advice or guidance you can offer is appreciated.

Here is basic info on the hurricane heat: http://www.spartan.com/en/race/race-types/endurance-races?article=5111



I don’t have a specific plan for this event. However, I know that running speed and efficiently is paramount for Spartan races.

What I’d recommend is training plan progression in the Ruck Based Selection Training Packet (http://mtntactical.com/shop/ruck-based-selection-training-packet/) but skipping Big 24.

Fortitude, Valor and the final Ruck Based Selection Training Plan all include rucking. You can skip the rucking in the plans and replace it with running.

You’ll want to complete the final Selection Training plan in it’s entirety directly before your event.

Good luck!

– Rob



I’ve been using your programs for off and on a few years and Am very happy with both results and structure.

I am looking for a plan for my wife who is struggling to come back from a knee injury to her ACL and a misaligned Que angle.  basically she has instability in the joint so the normal rehab program with box jumps might not work.  Do you have a program for this or any recommendations.


Strength will help. I’d recommend our Single Limb Strength Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/single-limb-strength-training-plan/).

– Rob



Hello, I came across your website through an acquaintance of mine. I just finished my first Goruck Light challenge this month and got bit by the bug so to speak. I plan on doing more events like the Goruck Tough and Heavy in the future. I was wondering how your training plans work and which ones you might recommend to help train for Goruck events? Also, I have a regular type gym membership but I have been using sandbags to train and do bodyweight PT along with rucking on weekends to help prepare. I was looking at a couple of your sample workouts and I’m not familiar with some of the exercises by name. Is there a way I can look them up and see them demonstrated? I’m 46 years old and want to drastically improve my fitness level and am open to any help or advice you can give me concerning what you have to offer. Thank you for your time and help!


We’ve created sport-specific training plans for the Goruck Challenge, Heavy and Selection. These are great plans to work through.

– Rob


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