Train Like a Pro: Beni Gifford

Beni-Gifford-NBC-Spartan-Ultimate-Team-Challenge

If the name Beni Gifford sounds familiar, it should. Gifford led his team (The Comeback Kids) to victory on NBC’s premiere season of Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge. He was also the captain of Team Dallas on Battlefrog’s League Championship, which aired on ESPN. And if that wasn’t enough, you’ll now be able to watch him on CMT as he competes on Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Challenge.

Beni-Gifford-Terrain-Racing-Finish-in-Flagstaff

Off the small screen, Gifford has won fourteen races, with twenty-one podium finishes overall in just two years. That includes an undefeated record when competing in the Terrain Racing series.

Below you’ll find a workout that Gifford uses to train his body and mind to continue to perform, even after fatigue sets in and his muscles become tired. It helps with situations where your heart rate is high or your legs become heavy.

Beni-Gifford-Running

PART ONE
2-MINUTE RUN / 1-MINUTE SLED DRAG INTERVALS

Run for two minutes at an aerobic base effort. You should be able to carry on a conversation at this pace. Once the two minutes is up, do a one-minute sled drag at the same effort level. Alternate between the two until you reach thirty minutes. Once complete, perform an aerobic pace run for up to thirty minutes. You can adjust the time based on your level of fitness, but aim to hit at least ten minutes.

Pro Note: Part one is about getting your legs pumped and strained (sled pull) and going right back into a run. This teaches you to run with heavy legs.

Writer’s Tip: If you don’t have a sled to drag, go to your local hardware store and buy several feet of rope that is at least ¾”-1” thick (usually about $1-2 per foot). Then punch holes in a flattened cardboard box and thread the rope through. Stack as much weight as you can handle onto the cardboard box for your own homemade sled. Don’t worry if it doesn’t look pretty. It’s more about function over aesthetics, here.

Beni-Gifford-Savage-Rig-Dallas

PART TWO
BURPEES – 10/100 SUPERSET

Do a set of ten burpees at 90% effort, followed by 10/100 pull up/dead hang. Complete six total rounds. To perform the 10/100, start a timer and, with palms facing forward, immediately do one pull up. Then lower yourself into a dead hang. After ten seconds of dead hang, do another pull up. Repeat this until you hit 10 pull ups and 100 seconds or failure, whichever comes first. You must remain on the bar the entire time. The 10/100 is considered by OCR coach, Yancy Culp, as the Gold Standard for grip endurance and strength.

Pro Tip: Keep your transitions as short as possible from the burpees into the 10/100. This will help with your ability to tackle obstacles successfully without having to spend valuable seconds slowing your heart rate down before attacking.  If you can’t meet the Gold Standard at first, don’t worry. You now have an easy goal to track so you can match the best in OCR.

Writer’s Tip: For the 10/100, use an interval timer app so you don’t have to keep your eyes on a stopwatch. These apps allow you to customize so that an alarm sounds every ten seconds, giving you the signal to do apull-upp.

Writer’s Note: Thanks to Beni for providing this workout. You can follow him on Facebook and Instagram.

Photo Credit: NBC, Terrain Racing, Beni Gifford and Savage Race

Check out past Train Like a Pro articles:

Terrain Racing Removes 3 Races

Terrain Racing Cancels 3 Races

We have a significant update from yesterday’s Terrain Racing story.  In yesterday’s article, we pointed out that 4 of Terrain’s planned races for the year had closed registration without warning. Also, that some customers had been asking questions about these events, with no response back from Terrain.

I reached Jerry Foreman, co-owner of Terrain Racing this afternoon by phone. Here is how that conversation went.

MD: Can you answer the question about these 4 races being cancelled or rescheduled?

JF: If anything is changed , if anything is cancelled, the athletes will be taken care of. We’re moving forward as a strong and powerful company. The races are still happening.

MD: Is RunSignUp not telling us the truth?

JF: No they are not, they are not our business and don’t know our business plan, I sent them a message when I saw that screenshot you took and they haven’t responded.

MD: If I had a friend who wanted to race next weekend, how would a they register for this race?

JF:   On our website.

MD: So I can register now?

JF: I would hope so, I haven’t looked today.

MD: Do you plan to answer all the people who are asking questions on your Facebook page?

JF: I’m not the one who uses our social media platforms, but Terrain Racing has every plan to answer them.

We then spoke with Bob Bickel, the owner of RunSignUp by phone. He told us:

RunSignUp is up and running, we have taken thousands of transactions today. Each race has control over their own race and how they take registrations and manage their own participants. We can not talk on their behalf, but nothing is wrong with our website.

The Terrain Racing website has been updated since yesterday’s article. As of yesterday’s article’s posting time the events URL (https://terrainracing.com/events) looked like this:

Terrain Racing Miami Cancel

After getting off our call with Bob Bickel, we went to see if registering for the 4 events in question were possible (CT,NY,FL, and TX).

That same page now looks like this:

Terrain Race New York Cancel

It appears that the New York, Florida, and Texas events have been removed from the website. If you attempt to register for those races by going through Terrain’s Facebook page of events, you receive the same error, we got last night, which prohibits you from registering.

Cancel NY Terrain

Obstacle Racing Media’s conclusion is that the Connecticut race is set to take place next weekend on September 10th. It also appears that the New York, Florida, and Texas events are currently without a date or venue.

 

 

 

 

Terrain Race Chicago 2016 – Growing Pains?

Terrain Race held their 2016 Chicago race on August 20 at the Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois.  Terrain Race had 3 options to fit racers’ needs: a 5k course, a 10k course, and an option to run unlimited laps.  The 5k and the 10k started off together with men’s competitive first followed by women’s competitive, and open heats followed.  Podium finishers in both of the races received monetary prizes.  There was NOT a master’s division (40 and up) at this race.

Terrain-Race-Chicago-Start

The unique start corrals, were actually pools of water, in which racers awaited the “go” and had to leap out of the pool quickly to start the race.  The majority of the race was flat running through fields around the Chicagoland Speedway.  It was definitely a “runner’s course” for the majority of the first mile.

Mixed up with the running, were trenches of water and mud mounds, crawls under wires, crawls through tunnels, vertical walls, a 25 pound Wreckbag carry, and then mile 2.5 hit.  There was a slight back up at this point because many competitive heat athletes were having difficulty crossing the “Monkey Balls” obstacle.  After several tries, I saw several competitive heat athletes toss in their arm band, which disqualified them from getting on the podium and winning prize money.Terrain-Race-Chicago-Monkey-Balls

Next up was the wall jump that split the 5k course from the 10k course.  The 5k group was led to the final 4 obstacles at the finish line and the 10k was led on another 4 miles of course and obstacles.  10k runners had a rope climb, several shorter walls to hop over, a mini tarzan swing, a teeter totter, and some stadium stair running.

After the stadium run, we were led back outside of the track where we encountered a tractor tire drag, which led to the final 4 obstacles that were spectator friendly.  The next obstacle in line added to much confusion.  Initially, competitive athletes were told to try as many times as you want, but you must complete each obstacle.  However there was some confusion at one of the final obstacles.  The structure was about 20+ feet long and had racers suspended over a pool of water. They had to use total upper body strength to move from climbing rock to climbing rock, legs suspended.  Halfway through the obstacle was a wood support piece that racers had to navigate around without touching.  The confusion came when some competitive female racers were allowed to go halfway and keep their bands, however this rule was not uniformly enforced.  However, after personally questioning the mishap with the competitive women, both the lady in charge of that obstacle and the race director were not very friendly nor clear on what happened, or why the rules were not consistent for all.Terrain-Race-Chicago-Rig

This hand tearing obstacle led to a tunnel crawl, more muddy trenches and more muddy mounds, followed by a suspended cargo net climb about 5 feet from the ground.  This structure gave way and collapsed around noon, when the obstacle had several people on it.  No major injuries were reported.  One racer, Kurt Stremming, was on the structure when it collapsed.  He stated, “It was slow motion for me…I was holding onto the wafer board in the middle, literally felt it sway, start to crack, and collapse.”  He also said, “…one lady had her head struck but is fine and another got his leg pinned but is fine.”  There was also complaints that the staff were more concerned about removing the debris from the course than checking in on the people that fell.  There were approximately 8-10 adults and 2 kids on this obstacle when it gave way.Terrain-Race-Chicago-Cargo-BeforeTerrain-Race-Chicago-Cargo-After

Finally, the kid’s race seemed to be a hit.  The 1-mile course included walls to climb over, a balance beam, muddy mounds, a framed cargo climb, and a sandbag carry.  Kids that raced received the same medal as the adults.  The medals were very nice and larger than I had expected.

Overall, despite the obstacle collapse and the confusion with the competitive women, the race was a lot of bang for the buck.  The MC was awesome, played great music and kept the atmosphere fun and friendly!  5k racers only paid $30 plus insurance and the 10k racers paid just $35.  Parking was $10 and very close to the festival area.  I see a potential future with this race company once they get the kinks figured out and get things running a little more safely and uniformly.

Terrain Race New Jersey – Crash and Burn At Raceway Park

Terrain Race, a west coast based race was to be held to high standards with equally high expectations. That comes with the territory when you host an event at a venue previously used by the top brands in the sport such as Tough Mudder, Rugged Maniac and Battlefrog to name a few. Regardless of how hard you attempt to look at each as a separate entity, you always compare. I’m probably one of the easiest in the sport to please as I race to have fun, and I usually find a way to do so with every event. So, when I say this event was a letdown, the optimist in me wants to reference “you get what you pay for”.

The standard open wave registration cost for the race was $25 for the 5K and $30 for the 10k. Currently, their upcoming New York event (it’s at Aviator, worst venue in OCR…you’ve been warned) is priced at $20/$25 for 5k/10k. That’s cheap…. I mean… dirt cheap… You can’t get a Groupon or Living Social Warrior Dash for that price. With that price point, I truly emphasize, “you get what you pay for”.

Parking for all races at the Raceway Park venue is the same: a short walk to registration and the start line. 95% of the time for Raceway Park you don’t need bag check, but if you felt compelled, it was free with registration. Walking up to registration you expect the usual corral of bib number or last name lines along with a paper waiver table. The table with waivers was there, but on this day, I missed the standard registration lines. Terrain’s setup was one line, which led you to 4 tables set up to check-in one person at a time (totaling 4 racers checking in at one time).  Needless to say, the line got backed up.

After checking in, you work your way to the festival area, which was in the same vicinity of the venue for all races held in this location. For previous events the festival area has had bull riding, sand bag toss, rock wall, inflated slides for kids, even inflatable sumo body suits. On this day it was open grass with participants wandering throughout.  Their one engaging attraction was a small rig that was used for spectator area photo ops.  The one event I opt to have my 4 and 6 year old kids run and they’d be stuck waiting for me to complete a quick lap after they ran the kids race, with nothing to do. I never concern myself with festival areas as I normally run, and start my long trek home. On this day I took notice, and it was sorely lacking from what you become accustomed to, not just at this venue but most.

Terrain-Race-New-Jersey-Festival-Area

As I previously stated, I’m very easy to please on overall event satisfaction. I don’t need intense terrain, challenging obstacles,perfect weather, water stations, rule enforcement…. None of that appeals to my interest in the sport. I’m all about fun and that’s fairly easy to provide. Give me mud, water and decent obstacle selection. I don’t differentiate between good and bad, because ultimately most races offer you something unique. Give me something different, that I don’t experience every week, and I’m happy. The race started off with just that.

Terrain-Race-New-Jersey-Start-Line

You enter the start area and immediately choose between two, 4-ft deep pools of water to jump into. Hop out the other side and you’re ready to get started. This was awesome, as it was different. Then came the disappointment, the race itself. The word I got was that the 10k course had an additional 10+ obstacles over what the 5k course contained. Afterwards, I really wished I had run the 10k option. It felt like a race that would’ve been better served placing all obstacles in a 5k course and utilizing 2-5k laps to encompass their 10k option as many races do.

The 5k course followed the path of all other events held at this venue. Off the pavement and onto the motocross dirt path we went. I won’t elaborate on detailed obstacle placement as it would bore you as it did me. To sum it up, you run, crawl a little, climb a wall, crawl again, run, climb a cargo net, run more, find a random set of straight horizontal monkey bars off in a field, run some more, climb another wall, then came what was deemed the best(and only real 5k) obstacle on the course.

Terrain-Race-New-Jersey-Rig

Climb up to the top of the first of two pools of water. Select a lane which each contained a wooden beam that travels the distance of the first tub. The beam had alternating rock climbing grips evenly spaced on each side. After traversing the distance of the first pool, you had to reach for hanging grips of different shapes and sizes. With no foot platforms to assist in transitioning from stationary rock grips to hanging grips, this obstacle proved too much for many including a large percentage of the elite heat. It was odd going from extremely basic obstacles to one as challenging as this, but, it was different nonetheless and a change that I welcomed.

After the rig setup over water, you made your way to the finish line to collect, what is easily one of the top medals in OCR. A large monkey face that spins within a circle, with varying medals signifying 5k and 10k. For a small fee, there was a multi-lap option that provided racers with a pin for each lap completed that could be placed on their medal ribbon. Compared to unfair expectations set by previous brands, this was a major letdown in living up to my generally easily attainable standards.

Terrain-Race-New-Jersey-Medal

Speaking to participants in the festival area many were pleased with the event as a result of running the 10k course and encountering the obstacles that were sorely missed in the 5k portion or didn’t believe they had room to complain because of the small financial cost to them compared to all other race brands. Based solely on the obstacle variety, difficulty, and terrain utilization it was closely equivalent to a Warrior Dash but not nearly as fun. For many, the medal alone was worth the $25/$30 registration fee. If I raced the brand again, I would certainly opt to try the 10k course as the 5k was sorely lacking.

P.S. The kids race was great for $20 and parents run free with paid kids registration.

Terrain-Race-New-Jersey-Kids-Race

P.S.S. The shitter rating came in at 💩💩 out of a possible 💩💩💩💩💩.
Quantity was the issue with very few shitters for having most waves sold out prior to race day.

P.S.S.S. At the time this was written it’s been 9 days(6 business days) after the event and race photos have yet to be posted.  Most races have photos up around day 4.

*Update- pics were posted today(8/17) same day as their Minnesota event pics were posted for an event that took place 7 days after this one