Workout of the Week: Organizing the 50-50-50 Spec Ops Triathlon

U.S. Marine Corps 1st Sgt. Greg Zieba, front left, and Capt. Timothy Chun, front right, lead Marines from Detachment One, Communication Company, Combat Logistics Regiment 45, 4th Marine Logistics Group on a ruck march during a 'Grissom Ghouls 5K' at Grissom Air Reserve Base (U.S. Air Force photo/Mark R. W. Orders-Woempner)

One of my weekly group's favorite workouts is a version of a triathlon.

We do 50 minutes of running, 50 minutes of swimming, and 50 minutes of rucking – the Spec Ops Triathlon.

Whether you are preparing for a triathlon, want to mix non-impact cardio options into your cardio days, or are willing to attempt the Special Ops Triathlon of running, rucking and swimming (with fins), the workout is designed around time.

This makes it great for events that can take several hours with slower people in the group. This way, everyone starts and finishes at the same time – as long as they can keep up with their 50 percent split time on the way back.

Here is how it works. Pick three cardio events from the list:

Running, Rucking, Swimming, Rowing, Biking, Elliptical, Stair Stepper, Jacob's Ladder or others.

If you are seeking a special ops profession in the future, try the three events you will likely see again – run, ruck, swim – if you are healthy. If you are a little injured or nursing some aches and pains, try to pick some of the non-impact options.

Pick a time you want to do the three events:

We started out a few months ago with 20-20-20 -- meaning only one hour of cardio but divided into the three events you want to progress with over the next few months.

The following week, try 30-30-30 of three events. Then, 40-40-40 of three events etc. Work yourself up to a full hour of three events. How far do you get?

Consider this a progressive triathlon, as each few weeks you add 10 minutes to your time and distances. You can assess your progress and test your abilities with others in this friendly, easy-to-organize triathlon.

Easy to Organize

We do this event on a bike trail. We run one direction for half the time of that event, then turn around and head back to where we started. So, for a 50-minute run, we would run 25 minutes in one direction, turn around and work hard to maintain that pace on the way back to the starting point. The best part of this workout is that everyone starts and finishes together within a few minutes of each other. Focus on the back half of the run/ruck/other so that you force yourself to dig deep to maintain or even beat (negative split) your returning leg of the race.

Compete Against Yourself

This type of workout allows you to compete against yourself as well as the watch. It is actually great if you need a little push, but you don't have someone to compete against. It does take close to three hours even with quick transitions from each of the events. You can spread it out over a weekend or try it in a single day (morning, noon, evening). We did a fundraising triathlon that took exactly three hours.

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