The year long buildup to the Phoenix 50 was a grind to say the least. From day one though, I decided to keep things as simple as possible. No part of the training was easy. Every single training session, every run, every deadlift or pull-up or round on the heavy bag was designed to get my body through the challenge. But, as hard as each session was, they were all painfully simple.
Let me back up for a minute. In an effort to simplify my Phoenix 50 training, I decided to target the "big three" aspects that would get me the successfully complete the fifty fights. Sure, my body was in there...and my body went to the hospital after...but I knew from the get-go that if I only trained my body, I'd fail miserably. So, with that kind of thinking, I created a plan to train mentally and spiritually as well. After all, it wasn't just my flesh and bone in the ring...I believe it was much deeper than that.
Anyway, back to training the body. I knew that there was no way to make it through the event without getting beat up a good bit and being physically drained. I mean, there are basic principles of biology and physiology at work in an endeavor like the Phoenix 50. I knew my body would begin to fail me, and in retrospect, I was pretty accurate as to when it would begin to slow down considerably. So how did I train against that? Simple, very simple (yet effective) combinations. In our dojo we have "the basic 4". These are four basic combinations that we have literally drilled thousands of times. In fact, there have been times outside of the dojo where I'll hear someone say "one" and I'll immediately think "jab to leg kick". Thousands of times drilling the very basic will make those skills automatic...almost instinctual.
I just finished my 16th year as a school teacher. Through my research during my Master's degree work and my experience in the classroom and the dojo, I know that when we are tired, upset, stressed, weary, or experiencing any other strong emotion, we tend to go back to those skills that we learned first or those skills that we know best. It was that knowledge that drove my physical conditioning during my Phoenix 50 year.
You know...that knowledge works for everything...and that should give you a megaton of hope. Strong, positive change will always...ALWAYS be hard, but it's also dreadfully simple. Just a touch of vision and a whole lotta discipline will build new skills that will replace your old skills (or thoughts, behaviors, habits).
All that being said...I'm pretty sure my body died in the ring somewhere around fight 44. In a day or so I'll tell you about the mental preparation for the Phoenix 50.