Jim's Corner 




Fall Column, 1999



By Jim Sayih, ILEG, Silver Medalist


Lt. Jim Sayih


One the most difficult decisions faced for athletes in Florida is the decision to either go to the gym or sunbathe on the beach. Depending on your determination to win in competitive sports will decide whether to train or sunbathe.
 The International Law Enforcement Games attracts police officers throughout the world. The high-light event, the Toughest Cop Alive (TCA), receives the most attention and media exposure. Because of that, police officers training for the event devote countless hours of training, sometimes as much as a full year to prepare.


Similar to the Olympic Decathlon, the TCA consists of eight consecutive events completed in one day. The events include the following in order:

  • 5 k run-uphill,

  • Shot Put-16LB ball,

  • 100 Meter Sprint,

  • 100 Meter Swim Free Style,

  • 20FT rope climb-no feet,

  • Bench Press, and

  • Pull-Ups,

  • 200 Meter Obstacle Course

To prepare for this event obviously requires at least a basic knowledge of strength and endurance training. First time competitors usually over-train for this event. For those who live in Florida, some choose to go to the beach instead of training. I want to share with you how I accomplished both.  Because the TCA begins with endurance events, glycogen stores are significantly decreased or exhausted. When its time to perform in the strength events, one will usually lose 16 - 19% in strength as a result of glycogen loss. Therefore, its imperative to train the body to instinctively recover glycogen stores rapidly. The best way to do this is by conducting the training sessions which are endurance oriented first, followed with strength sessions. Over time, the body will recover faster to adapt to these demands.  When faced with the dilemma of sunbathing or training, do BOTH - really!! Here’s how to train for the TCA and obtain an award winning suntan.


First measure two(2) miles on the beach so you can run to your predetermined landmark and return to your starting point, totaling 4 miles. Then, measure 100 meters to practice sprinting. Sprint sessions are strength oriented. You will soon experience a tremendous pump in your legs when sprinting in the sand and will notice an decrease in your times as you continue to train this way. Ten sets will do. Dumb bell curls conducted a medium intensity. Finally, for shoulders, super set side lateral raises with dumbbell shrugs.




Swim parallel along the coast at a predetermined measured landmark of ½ mile. Swim a ¾ speed to rapidly deplete glycogen stores, totaling one (1) mile. Most of the beaches are located at municipal and state parks. These parks usually are equipped with playgrounds and "vita courses." Preferably, select a beach with a vita course in order to practice pull-ups. The repetitions per set of pull-ups should be performed to failure. Understand that by using this method you will be unable to match the amount of repetitions performed from the previous set, however, you will inevitably achieve increased repetitions per session over time.




Start a four (4) mile run on the beach followed with eight (8) sets of wide spaced, push-ups. These pushups should be performed very slow, controlled and to failure. Next, close grip push-ups for tricep strength and declined sit-ups. Finally, Squats super-sets with lunges.


rope climbingThis day can be used to practice the skills required for the shot-put, rope climb and obstacle course. A flat hard surface is needed to launch the shot-put, however, the ball may be thrown in the sand. Ten (10) to fifteen (15) sets is satisfactory. Next, a rope, six (6) inches in diameter is required. Ten feet is sufficient to blast six (6) sets of rope climbs. You may tie the rope around a large branch, on a tree at the park/beach or on the pull-up bar and practice pulling yourself up from the seated position on the ground. Finally, for the obstacle course, you may pinch the butts of various people on the beach and run for safety; jumping over plenty of obstacles should be enough training for this session - just kidding!! The obstacle course may be conducted on the vita course by jumping over different apparatus and by incorporating intervals of sprinting for ten-twenty seconds and half speed runs for sixty seconds. Total duration should be at least ten minutes.


Note: once a week may be devoted to heavy strength training in a conventional gym for bench pressing and weighted pull-ups.

Always remember when training outdoors its critical to drink large quantities of water. This tip will keep   your muscles as full and plump as grapes during harvest. You can visualize what a grape looks like when its not hydrated. Get the point??


After training this way for eight (8) weeks, you will have conditioned your body to better utilize glycogen stores, increased your endurance capabilities to a higher level and established a golden tan.


Call Jim Sayih Ph. 305-297-5328