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days are filled with running, swimming, calisthenics, and learning small-boat operations. One-to-2 mile ocean swims and running the mother of all obstacle courses are daily, and timed, events. A trainee's time for these exercises must continuously improve.
The fourth week of Basic Conditioning is known as Hell Week. This is when students train for five days and five nights solid with a maximum total of four hours of sleep. Hell Week begins at sundown on Sunday and ends at the end of Friday. [...] Pretty much every evolution during Hell Week involves the team (or boat crew) carrying their boat -- inflatable rubber Zodiacs -- over their heads. Timed exercises, runs, and crawling through mud flats are interspersed throughout the five-and-a-half days. The largest number of trainees [drop] out during Hell Week.
“We carried each other, did a lot of push-ups,” [senior Bradford] Burgess said. There was also ab work, tug-of-war and sled-tugging. Wednesday morning was more individual workouts. “We had to run, do bear crawls, crab walking. It was a lot of long-distance running. ... He’s trying to get our mental aspects of the game right. He teaches us to battle fatigue just like our coaches have all along."
“That field was probably a hundred yards but it felt like a mile long,” Smart said. “But the great, great thing instructor McGuire preached was, when you get done, you don’t stand and rest. You go back to last. You go back to the last guy in line and help him finish.”