By |Published On: July 28th, 2017|Categories: Training Section, MFTF Training Series|

This post is part one in the training series for those participants in this year’s March for the Fallen event.

You are on reading this for the following reasons:

  1. You’re probably insane.
  2. You are already signed up for the 2017 March for the Fallen (“MFTF”).
  3. You’ve said you are going to sign up. (pro-tip: sign up now!)
  4. You’ve said you would never do it in a million years, but I decided I’d guilt trip you into doing the event anyway. (pro-tip: sign up now!)

We have an all-star group of movers/shakers this year and I’m expecting 40-50 participants (half of “finance twitter” is out there!). The barracks I rented can hold around 65 folks, so we are somewhat limited, but should be good to go…

As you are probably aware, the March is a tremendous physical and mental challenge, however, it is not impossible. As Dave Babulak mentioned to me last year after we crossed the line, “By the way, Wes…we are not doing this again next year.” Of course, I agreed wholeheartedly, and yet, here we are again in 2017.

Suckers born every minute, I guess.

All that said, the event is highly motivational and you can lean on the team atmosphere to help you accomplish the mission.

We are about 7 weeks out from the event and I’ve asked Dave Babulak to help educate participants with tips/pointers each week leading up to the event. Dave is a powerlifter and exercise science buff who managed to get 225lbs of muscle to move 28 miles over rugged terrain with a rucksack last year.

Dave’s knowledge package will include the following:

  • Training Rules
  • Workout Plans
  • Footwear and footcare
  • Uniform/Gear
  • Secret Weapons
  • On the March nutrition

So here we go with Dave’s first installment in the series: Training Rules

“Keep it up. You’ll be the fastest guy watching the State meet.” 
– Strongsville High School XC Coach Tom Thompson to a star runner goofing around and risking injury, 1987.

Here are some general guidelines that can be applied to all MFTF training plans.

  • Rule 1. Don’t get hurt. On Sep 16, undertrained and healthy beats fit and jacked up. Seems obvious, but if you get hurt in training, you can’t train!
  • Rule 2. Avoid injury by progressing SLOWLY. Too much, too soon will cause the body to tap out.
  • Rule 3. Increase the workload over time. This is the inverse of Rules 2. We need to progressively overload our body in order to force it to adapt. The key is balance: we must do more work each week but not so much that we get hurt. Injury is the body’s way of auto regulating the workload. If we don’t regulate the workload, our body will. Unfortunately, the body won’t say “Hey Dave, let’s review next week’s training plan. Maybe we should take it a bit easier this week?” No, the body prefers a more direct conversation, like a ruptured Achilles tendon. Mission accomplished – less training this week!
  • Rule 4. Train as you Fight. Keep the training as specific as possible to maximize the benefit of every workout. We have a limited capacity to train and recover so we want every training session to be as helpful as possible. Which is going to better prepare you for a 28 mile road march: a spinning class or walking on a treadmill with an incline? Feel free to flame away (send all hate mail to Wes), but I don’t think running is a particularly good way to train for a road march.
  • Rule 5. If you put something in, take something out. The MFTF is no joke and it requires some serious training. This means dropping or massively scaling back any other physical training you do. I’m a long time powerlifter and while I won’t stop lifting entirely, I have scaled back and will continue to scale back even more as my MFTF training increases.

Next time we’ll get into the specific workouts I’m doing and recommend.


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About the Author: Wesley Gray, PhD

Wesley Gray, PhD
After serving as a Captain in the United States Marine Corps, Dr. Gray earned an MBA and a PhD in finance from the University of Chicago where he studied under Nobel Prize Winner Eugene Fama. Next, Wes took an academic job in his wife’s hometown of Philadelphia and worked as a finance professor at Drexel University. Dr. Gray’s interest in bridging the research gap between academia and industry led him to found Alpha Architect, an asset management firm dedicated to an impact mission of empowering investors through education. He is a contributor to multiple industry publications and regularly speaks to professional investor groups across the country. Wes has published multiple academic papers and four books, including Embedded (Naval Institute Press, 2009), Quantitative Value (Wiley, 2012), DIY Financial Advisor (Wiley, 2015), and Quantitative Momentum (Wiley, 2016). Dr. Gray currently resides in Palmas Del Mar Puerto Rico with his wife and three children. He recently finished the Leadville 100 ultramarathon race and promises to make better life decisions in the future.

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