Reasons To Be Fearful: 1-2-3

By Andy Mouncey, September 22, 2020

Just because my last few posts have been all about fun and games in the criminal justice sector doesn’t mean there haven’t been fun and games elsewhere in my world. So by way of contrast I thought I’d dilute the serious Mission stuff with some of my silly self-inflicted stuff.

I’ve had little desire over these last 6 months to run lots of hilly miles chasing Fastest Known Time records. Plenty of other folks have been doing that – some very VERY impressive new marks have been set and it’s still happening. 

Like these…

Donnie Campbell sets new time for running all 282 munros

Carol Morgan breaks lakeland 24 hour record

John Kelly completes grand round

Finlay Wild sets new Ramsey Round record

And previously we had these…

Beth Pascall on her Bob Graham record

Damien Hall the quickest man on the Pennine Way

Sabrina Verjee becomes first woman to run the Wainwrights

Kim Collinson breaks lakes 24-hour record

Quite frankly I’ve not had the mental or emotional energy for anything like this – our two boys have been home for the duration so my focus has been on them, the household and on trying to figure out (for the zillionth time) how the bloody hell I’m going to get over the latest bump in the road to criminal justice salvation.

That meant figuring out what I could do at home inside and out in our tiny yard, with little/no special kit and when the rest of the family wouldn’t really notice. Oh yeah – and it would have to be quantifiable so I could see progress (or not) which would be the motivation / kick up the arse.

So I’ve been mainly working on my strength-conditioning and staying interested by setting myself lots of silly challenges. Some have been a breeze and a blast and some I’ve had kittens at the prospect – genuine nerves 2-3 days in advance: Proper butterflies!

Three sessions in particular have been periodically scaring me stupid – less now that I’ve hit the marks that I set all those months ago, but let’s just say that that the prospect of doing them again will never exactly fill me with deep joy.

It’s just that they really work – and they’re good for the soul: Mine at least.

And you gotta do the work.

A word of warning to those of you who are into this sort of stuff: Don’t FFS try these at home.

I’ve been strength training since I was a teen and I’ve been working on these exercises and variations of them for the last few years. This is just the latest incarnation – but it’s been decades in the making. You need to find your own starting level and own rate of progression. Please. 

Stay alert.

Control the urge.

Save it for the future.

Reason To Be Fearful Part 1: 40kg Sandbag Get Up 10min Test Without Warm Up

The Get Up is arguably the most time-effective bang-for-your-buck conditioning exercise I know that integrates the torso and lower body. It has everything. Add a sandbag and it just gets better and better.

This version is right at the edge of sane and it is an utter head-f***. 

The goal is simply to do as many GUs in 10mins as possible.

I’ve seen good athletes throw in the towel before they even start and/or after 1-2 reps at the prospect of long drawn out minutes of soul-crushing agony. You need high levels of emotional intelligence and some smart head strategies. Getting safely from start to number 8 is vital. After that it just gets worse. 

The weight bores down on you through every part of the movement. Your technique needs to be solid through extreme fatigue ‘cos grunt alone wont cut this. Though you can grunt horribly beyond 5minutes – I do. The discipline is to ignore the watch and just grind it out – being absorbed in each rep and the now is the only way to stay sane. The gold standard is 60 reps which I have now hit once and exceeded once – once I figured that each rep with this load over this time actually needed 3-4 breaths and an appalling amount of mono-syllabic bad language. And sweat. 

Reason To Be Fearful Part 2: 30min 20kg Loaded Step Up Test + Intervals

It’s amazing how much discomfort can be had from something that seems so simple: Step up and down from a bench with a bag on your back until it’s time to stop. 

Except 20kg against gravity at pace is bloomin’ heavy.

Now I’d done plenty of 500 step tests with 20kg on my back for time before I started wrestling with this. I’d also done 1000 step tests. I’d even -one cold winter morning 2-3 years ago- attempted a 2000 step test with 20kg. (Keeping count is interesting – I was using chalk to tally-mark on the wall in front of me that was getting progressively damper from my snot and spit. Anyway, I failed and ground to a halt at 1750 reduced to a hobble for a week afterwards that took some serious physio to sort out. Silly man). But this baby…

Max reps in 30mins means finding the line between heel to the steel and smart pacing that has you consistent through each 100 steps. If you’ve done 500 steps for time before you will know that in most cases it will be 500+. In my case it’s get to 500 and keep going for around another 10mins. That’s just Part 1.

Part 2 is days away after the 30minute fun and has you with a calculator dividing your 30mins step total by 3 then adding a certain amount for extra fun-factor. This gives you a 10minute step target that has you going at it harder than your 30min pace and had me wobbling with fatigue in the final few minutes spraying sweat, snot and gob everywhere and generally being a danger to myself and other users of our yard. Then you take a short rest and do it again. And again. 

Holy f***in’ Christ! 

To date I’ve only ever hit target once consistently through the reps and oddly enough it’s not something I’m all that keen to repeat.

Reason To Be Fearful Part 2: 1000-Up

This one is all out of my sick and twisted imagination and is bodyweight only. It started out one late afternoon when I needed to blow the cobwebs out, try something new and smile again. And I had 20mins. So obviously I chose 100 Get Ups followed by 100 Burpees as continually as possible – so breaks were allowed. 

Then I started thinking…Could I do 500 of this? More? 

What eventually evolved was this:

As continually as possible and for time…

100 High Step Ups

100 Get Ups

100 Burpees

The HSU is the max height I can handle without looking like Bambi.

The GU is alternate leg leading

The Burpees are Crossfit style

– so you belly flop rather than strict press up which makes it a little easier ‘cos you get a tenny tiny rest. 

Repeat by adding layers of 100 in sequence. So 400-Up is:

100 HSU

100 GU

100 BP

100 HSU

…and 500-Up is:

100 HSU

100 GU

100 BP

100 HSU

100 GU

…and so on to 1000 movements.

Everything is unbroken and continuous except for the burpees: No flippin’ way can I do 100 BP straight off even with a teeny tiny belly rest – I have to break ‘em up and I do so like this:

5 x 20 the first time through

6 x 15 + 10 for the second 100

10 x 10 for the 900 mark

The next evolution is to be brave enough to use these as benchmark sessions – so instead of a progressive build up to the gold standard I simply come back to ‘em periodically to test where I’m at relative to that gold standard.

If I’m brave enough.

That also means that my training continues to have a healthy dose of other stuff apart from the running. One reason is that so I can actually jump back in and test myself against these monsters without too much shame at the outcome AND without doing myself an injury. 

The other reason is so I can continue to pick up gauntlets that are periodically cast in my direction:

When a prison physical training instructor challenges me to a gym workout thinking that they can grind this weedy runner into the ground – I need to be able to step up. (For the record they do and so far they haven’t. it’s a blokey pissing contest thing).

When our boys want to do a speed version of The Floor Is Lava around our house I need to be able to wriggle out of the kitchen window 3 meters off the ground and bridge for 5 meters down the length of our hall.

And when I get invited to hook up with the local roadie bikers for the death-or-glory club run it would be really nice do be able to do so without being dropped off the back on the first hill.

Leverage – ‘tis a wonderful thing.

Thanks to for inspiration. Bastards.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Find out more...
Copyright Andy Mouncey 2017 - 2022
Photo Credits: Phil   Summit Fever  and  Racing Snakes