Hey Friend,

How many people do you know training for a half or full marathon, Iron Man, obstacle course or long backpacking/hiking trip?

I know a lot and I’m sure you do too. We are a fun & fit city with lots of fitness event


We have a hand full of clients who regularly compete in various events.

Here’s the million dollar question: Of those people you know training for an event, how many of them train properly?

Most don’t.

Most people get an urge to do a half marathon or mud run … sign up for the one in the next month or two … but they simply aren’t physically “race ready.”

A lot of them aren’t in shape. Some are mildly in shape. But few are truly physically ready.

Bad idea.

Don’t get me wrong, I want people to accomplish extraordinary things. I just get tired of seeing them get injured and depressed about it.

The problem with running a race that you aren’t truly physically prepared for is that your risk of injury is high.

I took a trip to the Grand Canyon & Sedona a few weeks ago, have you been?

I go to Sedona a few times each year, and I’m slightly embarrassed to say this but here goes my confessional: It was my first time to the Grand Canyon! Shame on me, I know.

I feel better saying it out loud so thanks for listening 🙂

We were only at the Grand Canyon for an afternoon and the rest of the time in Sedona and Flagstaff.

While at the Grand Canyon, we did what anyone who loves hiking would do and jumped on a trail to see how far we could get before the sun went down.

We didn’t have much time, I mean we started the trail at 5 p.m. so we got maybe 2 miles down before having to head back up.

There are 2 sides to me: The nature-loving side who was like woooooow the whole time. And the fitness professional side who was also like wooooooow the whole time, but for a different reason.

You see, at sunset, all of the hikers who started early that morning were returning from 14 – 19 miles of hiking. Remember, you are hiking uphill for half of it.

We talked to a bunch of the hikers.

Most of them were dead tired. Overworked. Dehydrated. Undernourished. Unprepared in every sense.

Some were overweight. A couple was on the verge of passing out. One guy forgot to pack food and hardly knew where he was, literally, so we gave him some food. There was a couple who looked mildly injured (though they played it off as best they could).

On one hand, great freaking job! I mean, they deserve some props, right? I think so. Not everyone has the guts to go out and do such a strenuous hike.

On the other hand, let me paint the picture … There are warning signs all around the Grand Canyon that read “Down is optional, up is mandatory” “Heat stroke, exhaustion, and even death” “Each year we get over 400 requests for assistance from hikers who are ill or injured” and another that posted the average number of deaths and airlifts per year.

Serious s**t.

People hurt themselves on that hike by simply failing to prepare.

Same with marathons & obstacle courses.

They get in over their heads.

Pushing your body without proper training is plain dumb!

I said it.

With love, of course ?.

There’s a right way and a wrong way to prove that you can “hang.”

The wrong way – Not training. Talk to any physical therapist and ask them how many people they treat who did too much too soon.

Oh you ran a marathon, but now your achilleas is blown and you can’t even walk. Um, good job?

Good job on that Tough Mudder, sorry about your torn rotator cuff. That could be up to a year to rehab, assuming you rehab it correctly. Longer if you don’t.

Ok I’m being a little harsh, just having some fun with it. People will continue to do it, there’s no changing that. The Rock and Roll Marathon is coming soon. I know a few people who are registered that shouldn’t be.

We have a few clients (Alyssa is as well) who registered and have been preparing for it. I also have a client doing his first Tough Mudder this weekend, but he’s been training with us for 18+ months. He’s ready.

That’s the smart way. You need to first get back in shape, develop a strong fitness base, and slowly progress and build your body up.

When the race/event comes, you’re ready for it. Being sore for a week is fine, but breaking your body is dumb.

It’ll happen at the Rock & Roll Marathon, unfortunately, it does every year. Have you ever seen them cross the finish line? Go watch. The ones you want to mimic are the ones who still look strong at the finish line. Then there are the ones who look like death, they’re hobbling, maybe even being helped. Do the exact opposite of them. The ones who didn’t train properly are obvious.

Don’t do that 🙂

There’s no glory in completing an event if you get an overuse injury.

My clients who are rocking their events like the upcoming marathon, Tough Mudder, and some long backpacking trips (30 miles) did it the right way. With patience.

They first got back in shape, cleaned up their diets, cut back on alcohol, managed their stress, lost 20-50 pounds, and became ROCKSTAR clients. Then, they signed up for an event and systematically trained for it.

That’s how you train for a long hike or marathon or obstacle course, systematically.

Before I launched Flow Motion Fitness I worked with the athletes at SDSU. There were two groups: Serious and non-serious.

It became evident during their off-season. The serious ones went home for the summer and followed the training program their Coaches gave them. They came back in great shape in the Spring and performed well on the field

Then there were the non-serious ones who took the summers off to party. Guess what happened to them when they came back? They were out of shape, slow, and got injured more easily. Essentially, they were useless to the team and their college sports days were numbered because of it.

You can’t speed up getting into shape.

Be patient and honor your body. I know the race sounds fun, but set yourself up to win. If you aren’t race-ready (you know who you are), set it as a long-term goal and do it next summer. Use the next year to clean up your diet and build your body up properly. Then, rock that race when your body is ready!

To wrap this up, there was ONE guy at the Grand Canyon who was ROCKING! We caught him at mile 40 and he was still hauling ass up the mountain. He hiked from rim to rim and still had gas in the tank.

That should be your goal. Train your body so well that when you do the race, it’s easy.

If you can resonate with my approach of taking your time and getting back into shape in a smart way, join me for our Summer Fat-Loss Challenge, feel GOOD this summer, and let me help you get back in shape the smart way.

Thanks Friend, enjoy your day!

Summer Fat-Loss Challenge, feel GOOD this summer!


Shawn Marshall

Certified Personal Trainer

Choice Center Leadership University – Coaching Staff
Flow Motion Fitness

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