Selection 005 – AAR

If you are reading this, you likely have a decent understanding of what the rough outline of Selection entails. I’ll be brief on this part.

Depending on when and where you decide to undertake your Selection, you will be some combination of muddy, sandy, wet, near hypothermia and/or heat exhaustion for somewhere north of 48 hours. You will move heavy things, for significant distance. You will not enjoy most of this experience as it happens. You do, however, have within you the ability to finish this task. It is worth it.

If you don’t genuinely believe this, stop reading this as a training guide, enjoy it as a story of my experience, and get your head right.


Make sure this is something you really, really want. To each their own, but the commitments (time/financial/etc) involved in getting ready for this beast are significant. I can’t imagine going in with the mentality of “let’s see how far I can get.” You won’t make it. In the lead up to my event, I woke up in a panic at least a half dozen times because I had some passing dream of failure situations. When I got to the point where my subconscious was furious about the prospect of a withdrawal, I had a pretty good feeling that I was in a solid mental place.

Get your cardio game on lock down. If you are coming in from something like a Crossfit background, that means you are going to have to develop a special relationship with running. Sorry. I don’t care if you are strong as an ox, if you can’t move your fatigued carcass around with a moderate degree of efficiency, you are in for a bad time. At the peak of my training I was running 4 days a week and at least one long ruck. The events chart says Selection is 40+ miles. Everything about this event is “plus”, plan accordingly.

Assuming you’ve done a few challenges, you know the sort of PT you are likely to encounter, throw your ruck on and do that stuff. I did most of my running unweighted (to save my joints), but almost all of the bodyweight exercises included a ruck or vest.

Then a couple weeks out from your class, stop training. Seriously. Light workouts/jogs to stay limber are fine, but stop beating yourself up. Have a good friend stop you when you are going too hard out of habit. These weeks will suck, and you’ll feel like you are losing ground. But you aren’t, you are recovering. Make sure you show up healthy and hydrated.

One final note, dry run your food plan ahead of time. About 2/3rds of the way through my body couldn’t handle any more macadamia nuts (too much fat, for too long) and I started to hurt on nutrition.



I’m happy to chat with whomever about what specific gear worked for me in my experience, but the long and short of it is that the packing list has pretty much everything you need covered. I wore long compression shorts and a long sleeve, thin wool base on top, and never changed that layer. I added/removed stuff to try to control temp a little bit, but never did a full costume change. Wool is good, cotton sucks, Injinji base socks will keep your toes attached your feet.

Have a plan on how you might move oddly-shaped heavy things around. I swear by 48” climbing runners, they compact well, and are pretty light. Your basic gear will weigh nowhere near 45lbs, so be smart and pack a goodie or two that you -might- use. No one has ever been happy to have a dive weight in their ruck rather than some duct tape, when the need for the latter arises.

The Event

Most of this is for you to find out, but read everyone’s AAR, accept that your experience will likely be very different than theirs, and smile. One of the few things you can control is your mood. Unless you are Olof, you probably can’t pull off a big turd-eating grin in front of Cadre without some repercussion, but always smile quietly on the inside. Your body can go on for ages, but if your brain isn’t pushing it, it won’t.

Try to gauge early the sort of breaks that Cadre is giving you to refit for the next task, and behave accordingly. Food out of ruck and in to pockets, sort out your feet (one at a time), top off water, slowly eat, hydrate. You can chew and drink while on the move, but it’s much harder to solve your blister situation while underway.

Eventually this evolution will end. And right now, only this evolution matters. Eventually Cadre will grow tired of dealing with you and Selection will be over.

You’ve got this. Easy day. All Day, and night, and day, and night, and day.


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