November 21, 2018

Conquering Kokoro: Front Sight Focus


Now that I decided to do Kokoro in June, it was time to figure out how to prepare. Kokoro is not just Crossfit on Steroids nor is it a pure endurance event — it’s a blend of the two. This lead me to strongly consider getting a coach. A lot of amateur athletes struggle with whether or not to hire a coach. I thought long and hard about the benefits and what I would actually get out of a coach. For Kokoro, you cannot do it alone and that’s why finding a good coach was on the top of my list.

First Things First

Finding a coach is a delicate balance between someone you get along with, someone that knows your weaknesses and someone that can push you to improve. I also wanted a coach that understood what Kokoro was all about and that led me to Coach Brad over at SealGrinderPT. I first found out about Coach Brad via my friend Troy and even got to interview him for my class The Endurance Habit. I found that he had a great attitude and had the experience to train me the right way for Kokoro. With a coach secured, it was now time to start training.

What the Heck is a WOD?

As most of you know, I’m a triathlete which means I spend most of my training time either swimming, biking or running. When you train for something like Kokoro, that’s not going to fly. You’ll need to do a little more variety. Enter the WOD or Work Out of the Day. I knew a little bit about WOD’s but never fully appreciated them until I started training for Kokoro. Coach Brad’s WOD’s are interesting, challenging and intense. Doing WOD based workouts was a big departure from my traditional workout since WOD’s are not so much time based but activity based although some WOD’s have an As Many Reps as Possible (AMRAP) in a certain time limit. What’s interesting about WOD’s is that they vary so much. One day you’re doing a yoga stretch workout and the next you’re doing Murph. It’s this variety of both movement and intensity that makes WOD workouts effective. I’m confident that all this work will pay off.

The Way of the SEAL Redux

As I mentioned in the last post, Coach Divine’s book The Way of the SEAL, really made an impact on me. One of the points that really stuck with me was having front site focus. This single concept makes doing these different WOD’s much more enjoyable. The concept of front site focus is simple — focus on one and only one thing at a time. When you do this, you can dispatch a task quickly and move on to the next thing. For the Coach Brad’s WODs, front site focus is essential since you can’t get ahead of yourself — you need to just focus on the movement you are doing and that’s it.

Training Journals

One thing that I’m not used to is keeping a training journal. Coach Brad stressed that this journal is an essential part of monitoring your progress and communicating with him. It took me a few weeks to really appreciate this. Normally, I’m used to following a training program and not actually writing down how I did. If you are thinking of training for Kokoro, then I would recommend keeping a training journal. Journals are a great way to capture those moments of frustration, growth and achievement so that you can learn from your experiences.

The Trough of Disillusionment

New skills can be challenging to master. It usually takes me a while to get up to speed on something new. For Kokoro, mastering pull-ups is my nemesis. For a triathlete, pull-ups just don’t make sense. In a single word, they suck! Thankfully, Coach Brad recognized this as my weakness and had adjusted my training to work a lot more on pull-ups along with air squats and push-ups. Training always has its ups and downs but for me, pull-ups were literally kicking my ass and that was my single biggest concern. This is why having a coach makes all the difference in the world. They can look at your progress and objectively give you guidance on what you need to work on.

Over the Hump

After about 4 months of training, I finally felt comfortable with the Kokoro standards. This was a major boost to my ego and self-esteem. I can’t begin to tell you how great it feels to see progress on something that freaks you out. I’m thankful that all the hard work is starting to pay off. Making progress feels great. The next big focus is to stay healthy so that when I show up to Kokoro Camp, I’m at my best. Thankfully, Coach Brad is big on rest and recovery days which means that I’ll be at my peak when the big day comes.

Ready for Kokoro?

I ask myself this question everyday. I don’t think you’ll ever know if you are truly ready for something unless you step up and try. I feel that this whole journey is about getting out of my comfort zone to do something that scares the hell out of me. By taking a risk, you truly figure out what you can accomplish. Am I ready for Kokoro? I guess I’ll just have to show up and find out.

This post is the second in the series (there are 4 total) about my training and experiences at Kokoro 32 on June 20th – 22nd, 2014. Kokoro Camp is a 48+ hour team endurance event put on by SEALFIT. If you’re interested in taking on the challenge, then you can check it out here.

The first post was Conquering Kokoro: The Courage to Start.

Another couple of posts you might be interested in is how Ben Greenfield of prepared for Kokoro.

Part 1 talks about gear and training.

Part 2 is his experience with SEALFit Academy.