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Home » 5 Ways to Unlock Your Running Potential with the Power of DEKA Races! Ep116

5 Ways to Unlock Your Running Potential with the Power of DEKA Races! Ep116

#116 – Looking for a way to break the monotony of road races? Try DEKA races! It’s a game-changer for strength, conditioning, and mental toughness. Hybrid racing is revolutionizing the running world, and this episode promises to show you how. 

Learn why DEKA races could be the key to unlocking your running potential through unique cross-training opportunities. I’ll share personal anecdotes from back-to-back race weekends and reflect on how these hybrid races have become a key part of my training. 

Topics Covered:

  • Hear why I started running DEKA races
  • Learn some of the key benefits of running DEKA races
  • Listen to my recent race experiences in back-to-back race weekends


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Listen to Inspire to Run Podcast:

Richard Conner: [00:00:00] Hey, my friend, are you looking for options for cross training, or maybe you’re looking for ways to enhance your running abilities for your road races? Well, today I’m going to talk a little bit about hybrid races, my personal experience with those races and how they’ve helped me and the five reasons why I think you need to consider running DEKA races as part of your overall running routine.

Hope you enjoy.

Intro/Outro: Welcome to inspire to run podcast. Here, you will find inspiration, whether you’re looking to take control of your health and fitness, or you are a seasoned runner looking for community and some extra motivation, you will hear inspiring stories from amazing runners, along with helpful tips from fitness experts.

Now, here’s your host Richard Conner.

Richard Conner: Hi, my friend, I hope you’re doing well and having a great start to the summer. Um, if you’re in the Northeast, we’ve had an interesting mix of really hot weather or a lot of rain or a little bit of both, [00:01:00] but I’m just coming off of back to back race weekends and fortunately I had. You know, really decent weather for, for all the races that I did.

I did three races, three races over the two weekends. So excited about that and excited that one of them was indoors because it would have been a little too hot to run outdoors. So I wanted to come on and just share a little bit about, you know, the recent races that I’ve run, but in particular, I started to think about like, why am I running?

Spartan DEKA races. I started thinking about like, I have a lot of races this year. Um, it’s very demanding and there’s a big part of that are the hybrid races or the DEKA races that I’ve been running. So I started to reflect on, you know, why I’m doing this, which I’m excited to do and I’m happy to do.

But as I was thinking about it, I wanted to share this with you as to, you know, why is it beneficial for. Maybe someone like me who runs road races is my primary sport to pick up an alternate sport, like a hybrid race, like a DEKA. And I’ve talked about this maybe a couple of times in the show. And we had a guest on to talk [00:02:00] about like how to manage, um, having different sports.

And I want to talk about like, well, why pick up a sport? Pick, you know, a specific one, like a hybrid race, like DEKA. So I’ll just talk a little bit about kind of my experience for the past couple of weekends, and then get into the top five reasons why I enjoy running DEKA races. So it started with a couple of weekends ago.

It was father’s day weekend, uh, coach Kevin, the underdog fitness hosted, uh, his DEKA races. Uh, it was a DEKA strong and DEKA mile, which I typically go just to volunteer and knowing. Father’s Day, five miler race the following day. I wasn’t really, um, signed up to do, you know, either a strong or mild that particular weekend, but, uh, fun surprise.

My running mate, Mickey had come up and surprised me. He came up to Connecticut to run. The DEKA race at, uh, underdog fitness. And he is my teammate for the teams races that we’re doing this year, which I’ll talk a little bit about. So [00:03:00] since he came up, it was a really nice opportunity for us to, to run the race together, since we can’t train together where, you know, obviously we don’t live in the same, same area.

So it was a nice way to do that. So we ran the DEKA mile just as kind of a trial run to see what is it like to run a team’s race with each other. And it was such a fun experience because. You know, when you run by yourself, you’re doing all the runs, you’re doing all the stations, you’re doing all the burpees.

And when you have teams, you could really break up the 10 stations and the runs to a certain, certain extent. It depends on if, you know, if the mile or the fit, , And that allows you to do what you’re really good at and allows your teammate to do what they’re really good at. And it just allows you to kind of give each other a little bit of break and go hard on whatever is the station or the run, get, get yourself a break, tag your teammate, and they come in for the next station or run.

So I really have been enjoying the, the team’s race. , probably a little bit more than the individual, but [00:04:00] it was a lot of fun to see Mickey. And, you know, just as a shout out to him, he has an incredible. Yeah. incredible transformation that we talked about in the show episode 54. You could take the first step in your transformation.

And he talked about how he lost 50 pounds, , through running and he got into obstacle course races. And that’s actually how I met him was at a Spartan race a few years ago and was fortunate enough to have him on the show. Have him as a friend and a running mate and in the DEKA races. So, so yeah, so check it out.

Episode 54 Inspire to Run podcast. So we did the race and it was super helpful because then we’re able to see based on what our plan was, did it work and some things we adjusted Mid-race, which worked out really well and that helped us adjust our plan for the following weekend, which I’ll talk about in a moment.

So, really excited about that race. You know, we put in a a really good time. Learn how to work with each other during the race and learn what we need to work on for [00:05:00] future races. So I’ll come back to the next race that we did together, but first I’ll talk about the father’s day race, which was the very next day.

And that was the five miler. And it was pretty hyped about this one because I put on a really good time last year and I’ve been training for a year and, you know, really felt like I can improve that time. And I’ve seen some pretty good improvements in some other races earlier this year. So, you know, I set out to, to run that race.

I think I prepared well, a hydrated Well, , so I was, I was ready to go, you know, and it’s a really nice course. It’s such a beautiful course, you know, just as the start of summer, you know, good weather, you’re running by the beach for some parts of the course. It’s a lot of great energy and the organizers put on a really fun and exciting race.

So I did the race. I feel good about being in control in terms of my breathing and my form and my pace throughout the race. Unfortunately, I didn’t hit my mark. I did probably about a minute slower than I did last year, which is [00:06:00] quite unfortunate, but I’m still happy about the race. I still feel like I ran a good race.

It’s still a really good time overall. It’s just not, you know, the PR that I was looking for, which I know, you know, you’re not going to hit that every single time. So I just know, you know, and just need to keep working at it and know what I need to keep doing and just excited about doing that race. So those are the two races I did back to back.

That was father’s day weekend. And then the following weekend, I flew to Charlotte for another DEKA race. And this one is the DEKA Fit. So, if you’re not familiar with DEKA, it is 10 stations and you’re doing various things through these stations. You’re doing the row, you’re doing burpees, you’re doing a bike, you’re doing farmer carries.

And for the strong, you’re just doing the stations for the DEKA mile. You’re doing the stations plus a one mile run total through the race. So you run increments through in between each station. And then the deck of fit very similar. You’re running five [00:07:00] kilometers, , throughout the entire race. So you do those increments, um, in between the stations.

And a couple of the stations are just a little bit different than the strong and the mile. So Mickey and I ran the fit together. So it was our second team’s race together, but the first time we did the fit. And I’m really proud of how we did. , we didn’t get exactly where we want it to be in terms of place, but in terms of target time, we were super close and we did really well.

And there were a couple of times that each of us kind of needed to adjust during the race and there’s obviously things that we can improve and we kind of reviewed how we did during the race in each of the stations. You know, really excited about how we work together, how we perform, then just the energy, um, behind, uh, doing the best we could in that race.

And we, we still have time. And that’s the exciting thing is we have a couple more races that are going to come up before world championships. And we know what we need to do between now and then to get to world championships at the end of the year. So that’s just a little bit about, you [00:08:00] know, back to back race weekends.

And now it’s about strength, you know, strength work that I need to do some conditioning, , got a little bit of pain in my knee that it needs to take care of, and I need to do a bit of speed work. And there’s a few things that I need to work on on my side to do my part to be for us to be successful in our next race.

So that’s about it for, you know, the recent races that I’ve done. And I’ll talk a little bit about like, why did I get into DEKA and why I think it’s great for, you know, a road runner or road racer like me, like myself to do something like DEKA. So I’ll tell you a little bit about how I got into it. And then I’ll give you the five things that I think at least helped me.

And there’s, I’m sure there’s a lot of other reasons why you’d want to get into a hybrid race. As you know, as a runner, so why I got into it was really through my coach. So my coach started, you know, became an affiliate for DEKA during COVID and I wasn’t running a lot of races at that time. I wasn’t doing a lot of training.

I was [00:09:00] running, I was running outdoors and remember gyms were closed and there was, wasn’t much you could do. So I was running outdoors. Um, but I wasn’t doing a lot of training per se. There’s a lot of body weight stuff, which is good. And a lot of running and DEKA was a way for me to kind of ease my way back into races and, you know, kind of in a, in a low key way.

So, you know, a lot of the races are hosted by affiliates, which are local gyms or not a lot of people, , at the gyms kind of doing the races. So it was kind of a nice way to kind of ease back in before getting into big crowds and everybody knows what was kind of going on during that time. So that’s how we got into it.

And I started to reflect on, well, what are the reasons why I think it helps me or could help a runner. So here’s some of the reasons that. I came up with. So the first one is around cross training. So for cross, it’s always recommended that you have an option for cross training, uh, no matter like what sport you have.

And for, for running, I, you know, I don’t swim, I don’t cycle. There’s a lot of things that [00:10:00] I don’t do. And I feel like DEKA is a nice way to get in that cross training, getting something for cross training. And it helps you kind of incorporate Different aspects of fitness like strength and agility and endurance.

And it really compliments, you know, what I do as a runner. And of course I do string training. So, so of course I do that pro admittedly, not as much as I should be, but yes, I do incorporate that, but this is a different type of cross training that I incorporate that I think helps me overall.

So, so that’s number one is if you don’t have another option for cross training that you like, you know, training for hybrid racing, like with DEKA, I think is a good option for you. Second is, you know, full body fitness. So this is an opportunity for me to focus on, you know, other things than, than just running.

So I just kind of mentioned this around strength and flexibility and endurance and it’s full body. So you’re not only running, you’re doing the ski, you’re doing the bike. [00:11:00] Burpees, you’re doing the row. So if you’ve seen someone do it, if you’ve done it yourself, you know that that engages, you know, many parts of your body.

So for me, that’s a really nice way of kind of mixing it up and having a better kind of holistic, you know, kind of training plan. And my hope is, you know, for the first two that I’ve mentioned is that it helps me with my road races. My hope is by doing the work that I’m doing to train for DEKA, to run the DEKA races, ultimately helps me when I get back on the road for 5Ks, four miles, five miles, half marathon.

And then eventually my first full marathon, which is my goal this year. Um, the next one is not necessarily unique to Decca, but I think it challenges you in a unique way, and that’s around mental toughness. So of course you have to have mental toughness if you’re running any kind of race, right? Whether it’s a one mile race that you’re running really hard or a five K race, or maybe [00:12:00] some of the longer distance races where you just have to kind of keep going, you know, you have that same.

Challenge when you’re running hybrid races, um, especially Deco races, because you may, you may feel really good when you’re starting and you remember you have to do 10 stations and then sometimes you run in between each, depending on which ones you do. And you may feel really good about it. So you may come out of the gate really hot, just like a, just like a race, like a 5k race.

You come out of the gate really hot. And then you get into the first station. You do your lunges. You come out of your lunges. You get into the next station. By the time you get to the fifth station or the sixth station, it is absolutely mind over matter. 100 percent mind over matter. So, you know, you really start to feel it depending on how you pace yourself.

So having that mental toughness or developing that is really, really helpful. And for me, I’m not, I don’t consider myself necessarily a Sprinter or really kind of high speed runner. So for me doing this high [00:13:00] intensity work and then having the mental toughness to push through it again, I’m hoping translates well when I get into my road races to kind of keep moving, um, and perform in those races.

The other item here, uh, number four on my list is, you know, it gives you a variety in training. So, you know, if you’re, if you’re running or you’re doing strength training, You know, I have my routine that I’m very comfortable with and I don’t like to really do anything else. I’d like to just do my routine, whether it’s running or whether strength training and by doing DEKA, this really forces me to do what my coach tells me to do.

And there’s different types of training that I need to do. So that’s super helpful because it helps like mentally just kind of gives you a break from, from the monotony of what you’re doing, but also for your body. Right. And you’re not doing the same thing over and over again. Um, and doing something that’s repetitive, which is not always great for your body.

So this is something that’s, that’s super helpful is that kind of have that, you know, [00:14:00] variety. And then the last point here is not necessarily unique to hybrid racing and it’s not necessarily saying that I don’t get this through road races, but it’s community. And I would say for me that it feels like.

I’ve been able to expand the, my network and who I know in the community that I know through hybrid racing. So not everybody who runs in hybrid races, even though there’s running, we’ll run road races. So, and of course, vice versa. So it’s really cool to have this community of racers who do road races, but it’s also cool to meet, you know, a big community as well, who may only do hybrid races.

And that’s been super fun for me. A lot of folks have come on the show over the last couple of years. And a lot of that is really due to me getting into hybrid races and kind of being in that environment. So really I feel fortunate that I’ve been able to meet a lot of folks through the road races, but also through [00:15:00] hybrid races.

So those are the top five reasons why, you know, I enjoy running DEKA and why I would encourage you to consider getting into hybrid races yourself. So hopefully this was helpful for you, you know, uh, send a message and let me know if you enjoyed this episode. And if this was helpful, if you have any questions about my experience with DEKA and hybrid races and how that kind of works with my road races, but, and I’m happy to answer any questions that you have, but thanks for tuning in today.

I really appreciate you being here. And with that, thanks again. Have a great day.

Intro/Outro: That’s it for this episode of Inspire to Run podcast. We hope you are inspired to take control of your health and fitness and take it to the next level. Be sure to click the subscribe button to join our community. And also, please rate and review. Thanks for listening.