How do you prepare your mind, body, and hydration & fueling strategy for five world record attempts in the space of a month?
We spoke to Jake Best as he bids to set the fastest times running off-road in standard UK military kit for the 5km, 10km, half-marathon and full-marathon distances, as well as the furthest distance ever completed in 24 hours, all while carrying 40lbs on his back...
Hi Jake, what inspired you to take on this huge challenge of attempting to break five world records over different distances in March?
Setting the fastest time over 5km and then carrying 40lbs in excess of 71 miles in 24 hours just a few weeks later requires totally different attributes, which I think is what appealed to me and made this challenge unique.
The inspiration for the challenge and to raise money for SBA and Rock To Recovery came from an urge to give back to the military.
I never achieved what I wanted to in my own military career as I was discharged from the Royal Marines when I was 21 but I'm still hugely inspired by everyone who's out there achieving their goals with the military.
After leaving the marines, I've gone on to become the founding Director of Clearwater Dynamics, a company that specialises in maritime risk mitigation and we're responsible for tracking in excess of 5000 vessels worldwide in order to supply intelligence to the likes of the US Navy.
However, the role meant I went from being extremely active to having an office job, so I found that daily exercise around work become my 'escape' from sitting at a desk all day.
My improving levels of fitness then allowed me to start boxing professionally and that's where the fitness and charity challenges really started from.
Currently, I'm back in the military as a reservist and so the training I've been doing has provided benefits both for my military ambitions and for the five weighted world record attempts.
How are you approaching training for the challenge of attempting to break world records over such vastly different distances in March?
On average, I've been doing 8-10 sessions a week using multiple disciplines, obviously running, but also swimming, rowing, cycling, weights and the gym. I've especially been utilising the environment and natural elements such as sea and beach fitness sessions. These don’t just include swimming and circuits, the majority is spent sea running, building resistance and battling the waves to work the core. Cold water therapy is a favourite!
Basically you name it, I've done it, even rope climbing with my 40lbs pack to work the hip flexors.
I think the most important factor has been consistency in training on tired legs. Recently, to avoid injury, I've been doing most of my faster runs on a treadmill, both weighted and unweighted, with longer runs carried out on different terrains at the weekend.
The training has obviously improved me physically but I think there's a psychological element too. Strength of mind and mindset to me is everything. It's amazing how your body is capable of doing so much more and going further than you can imagine.
How do you fit your training schedule in with life as a busy dad and your job role?
I’m a sucker for routine, I like schedules, so pre-planning my weeks and training times is important for me.
I also like winning daily battles with myself, so if I'm tired or I don't want to get up to train, making myself gives me that win and puts me in a good mindset for everything else.
My wife and work colleagues might say differently, but I like to think I fit it in quite well. At times when I'm stressed or short of time, I still aim to squeeze in a late night, shorter session. Doing something nearly always feels better than doing nothing.
As part of your preparation, you had a Sweat Test with PF&H Sports Science intern Emily. Were you surprised to learn that you’re a particularly salty sweater, losing 1,679mg of sodium per litre of sweat?
To be honest, this was a complete eye opener. I've always thought that hydration wasn't a big concern for me because I don't have a massive sweat rate, but it's clear that I need to use stronger electrolytes because my sodium losses are going to mount up during longer events.
I discovered that I was drinking too much plain water prior to training and you'll be happy to hear that I've already started making changes, specifically preloading with PH 1500 before longer sessions.
It’s made a lot easier with the one-to-one calls I've had with you guys as I've started to dial in my hydration and fueling strategy.
For example, on a recent half marathon training run where I was carrying 50lbs, I consumed two PF 30 Gels, plus fluids with a PH 1500 electrolyte tablet. For the longer world record attempts, I’m simply going to add some savoury snacks and some slow release nut butters from Resilient Nutrition to my strategy. Plus, I can't do without my pork scratchings...