Okay, I’m not a tall dude. But that isn’t the topic of this post – but rather I want to talk about staying motivated and engaged during long periods of dirty, painful, cold, wet, sucky events. Think anything from a Goruck Challenge to something like Goruck Selection or the Death Race.

A couple of years ago I was yet to experience this world of suffering, but have always had eternal optimism. There is ALWAYS a positive side to even the worst situation for me and the secret is finding that and using that to keep yourself optimistic and moving forwards. And there are certain tricks to this too.

Anyway, there are certain things that can add to the misery during endurance events (anything from a few hours to multiple days)

  • PROBLEM : Feeling Cold
    • Often when cold and wet I see people at events getting in a huddle but still standing still.
      This is not a good idea. Muscle tighten up and can start to cramp.
  • SOLUTION : Do more PT. Jog on the spot, do some fast paced squats or drop and do push-ups


  • PROBLEM : Feeling Dirty
    • Nothing can be done to avoid getting dirty at most events but…
  • SOLUTION : Carry Wisp toothbrushes, and clean your teeth once in a while. Do NOT underestimate how great this feels especially 10 hours into an event. This is such a savior – everyone should bring at least 2-4 wisp brushes to every challenge.


  • PROBLEM : Food Boredom
    • Often people have one or two favorite foods. If the event is long enough that you need to eat a LOT then…
  • SOLUTION : Bring the biggest variety of food you can in terms of savory vs sweet, texture etc. For Goruck Heavy 001 I brought 4 different flavor Clif bars, 3 different flavor ProBars, an MRE, Clif Crunch bars and 3 different flavors of Justin’s butter packets. For Winter Death Race I did something similar but also brought raw honey, chocolate covered almonds, chocolate covered espresso beans etc. A change of texture is often more motivating than a change of flavor. And don’t forget to Wisp your teeth right after


  • PROBLEM : General boredom or suck
    • Long ruck movements? Long PT sessions? Tedious time under a log?
  • SOLUTION : Force a smile. Tell a joke. Make sure the person to the left and right of you is okay and make them crack a smile. For me being there to try and keep everyone else chipper stops me looking internally at my pain and makes the suck just melt away



  • PROBLEM : Aches, inflammation, joint pain
  • SOLUTION : Ibuprofen. I bring prescription strength 800mg pills to every event just in case. Just be sure to drink LOTS of water. Also popping electrolyte capsules every so often can really help with swollen joints or extremities as well

Anything else ail and de-motivate you during a long event? Comment on this post and we can discuss.

8 thoughts on “Motivation – Its The Little Things

  1. I like this. I’ve been thinking a lot about the suffering thing lately — how to do it well. I’ve realized that (like you mention above) that focusing on helping out other people who are suffering with you makes it easier to keep smiling and endure. And you can pass that strength along to those people as well. I guess that’s the real beauty of the team thing –and kinda the ultimate GR lesson though, right?


  2. Hey Mark,
    Great info. I have tried to work more on attitude than anything. Always seems to make any task go easier/faster.
    I picked up some verbage from a past hero of mine as we worked in an unexpected rain, he said “I’ve been wet before and always managed to dry off.”
    I try to think of this as the pain starts. Remember that any other pain I had before always seem to go away.

    I’ve been reading about the GoRuck and think that is the next challenge to go after.


  3. Pingback: Its The Little Things | Fitness Overload | EVER FORWARD FITNESS

  4. Believe it or not although I dont do Goruck, I can relate to these during a cyclocross race. The only thing I can do to help aleviate the pain one experiences during one of these events is to know that ALL THINGS MUST COME TO AN END no matter how tortuous. Before you start an event have a clear picture of yourself at the finish line and hang on for the ride!


    • Tina, you are absolutely right that these translate to any long event. I did also forget to add exactly what you said and that is really important. You cannot stop the march of time, and so at some point the suffering will be over to be immediately replaced with accomplishment and pride


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