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Spec Ops Tri March 2, 2019 - 50-50-50 (Run, Swim, Ruck)

stew smith


Next Spec Ops Tri is scheduled:  March 2 - 2019 at Severna Park Community Center - 50 minute run, 50 minute ruck (50 lbs), 50 minute swim with fins.  Biggest distance wins!!

Do you like to do cardio events?  If so, this challenge may interest you.  If you think cardio events will “ruin your gains” you may want to try the second PT challenge. Sometimes a challenge is a good way to find some missing effort and energy when it comes to training. Here is something we are doing this week on the cardio side to push ourselves on a longer weekend workout:  50 Minutes of run, ruck, and swim – Each.

Yes, it is as simple as it sounds.  Do 50 minute run, 50 minute ruck (50 lbs), and 50 minute swim (with or without fins).  Though the 50lbs in optional on the rucking weight, it just matches the 50 throwdown challenge set by this 50 year old tactical fitness instructor.  Obviously, if you prefer not to do any of the three elements of the Spec Ops Triathlon (run, swim, ruck), you can replace any of them with something else for 50 minutes.  For instance, not everyone has yearly access to swimming, so replace swimming with biking, elliptical, or rowing.  Also, not everyone wants to ruck (carry a 25-50lb backpack) for 50 minutes, so replace with something easier on the legs and lower back like the non-impact options mentioned above. 

The goal is to do three events for 50 minutes each and see how far you get.  Can you get 2500-3000m or more in the pool in 50 minutes? Can you ruck 4 miles? Can you run 5-6 miles?


Break it Up - Not everyone has three hours to devote to a workout, so consider breaking up throughout the day or week if necessary.

Swim First – Whenever we swim last for the Spec Ops Triathlons we do quarterly, it never fails, people start cramping up in the pool.  Obviously, hydration, electrolytes, humidity and temperature play a part in this, as you can get cramps at any phase of this event if not staying hydrated with water and electrolytes.  Rarely do we have the issue when we run last as we tend to sip throughout the run / ruck phases to keep the water incoming.

Ruck before Run – For many rucking will be a challenge, but running after rucking is like walking on air as you feel so much lighter and faster.

The PT Challenge

This one is less time consuming but every bit as difficult – more monotonous than difficult, but it requires you to go deep into your brain to ensure this repetitive challenge.  Being able to go to the happy place is sometimes required in long days of military training especially when enduring hard physical events.

You have 1 hour.  You do 5 pullups and 10 pushups every minute on the minute (EMOM) for 60 minutes.   This will total 300 pullups and 600 pushups.  That is a big volume and obviously, you should build up to this challenge over time with 20 minute, 30 minute, and 45 minute versions spread throughout a month in order to progress to this type of volume.  Then take a few days off / mobility days in between the next day of upper body activities just to be fully recovered from this type of volume.

Another way to get this volume is to do three 20 minute pyramids of 1-10 - 10-1 with pullups x 1 and pushups x 2 (EMOM pyramid) to total the same number of pullups and pushups in the same amount of time.  Play around with both and see with EMOM works best for you.

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