Spartan Race Training Tips to Conquer Sparta!
The Mud Run/ Spartan Race. It’s something many avid runners, cyclists, workaholics of all kinds pursue at some point in their life. It tops the bucket list of extraordinary things to do in one’s lifetime, along with other notables, such as Ironman’s and Ultra Marathons. But the Spartan Race brings much more to the table than most other endurance events because it requires a team.
I remember doing my first Spartan Race, back in Tennessee in 2011. At the time, I was in the middle of the cross country season in college. Two to three times a week, our team would do core workouts and lift weights. That is what is required to really get in shape for a strenuous event. Our team beat out the nearest competitors, a group of marines, by over four minutes. We had people contesting us for weeks after winning the event, demanding that somehow we had to have cheated, skipped one or two obstacles at the very least, which was ludicrous, having a camera on us the whole time.
The point is, it takes a lot of effort to prepare for a monster like this; and it takes a lot more to win one. It takes weeks of hard work, a lot of discipline before the set date, and on race day, and building up your endurance. Here’s everything we did to train for a Spartan Race:
Spending the whole summer training for cross country wasn’t so bad. Starting at 30-40 miles a week for the first couple of weeks, and then slowly boosting up to 50-60. 3 months straight, all through summer. This gives you a really good base to start doing some more intense training.
Once the cross country race season started, the tempo runs began, the sprints ended our workouts, and the intensity was ramped up. We did everything from 4-6 mile repeats in the 5:20’s to 5:40s. Other days, 200 or 400 meter repeats. Depending on the day, and time of season, our coach had us do anywhere from 16 to 24, jogging 100 meters between. That was the rest. All definitely under 40 seconds. We dabbled in the low 30s for fun every once in a while. No one wanted to be last. The 400s were around 80-85 and working lower as towards the end.
Our core workouts consisted of Push-ups, Burpees, Pull-ups, Crunches, Side Crunches, Scizzors, Medicine Ball throws with a partner, Bridges, Leg Extensions, Lunges and Duck Walks.
Form drills really help improve your form when running, and especially target when your body is tired at the end of a race. Our workout regimen included High Knees, Butt-kicks, Side Kicks, Hip Extnesions, Karaoke, Karoake with a High- Knee Swing, Backward Lunges, Hip Swings, Hurdles and Strides. Backward Strides ended our sessions.
Surprisingly enough, our weights sessions were very short, and consisted of bench press, pull-ups, Dips, Seated Row, Bicep Curls, Lateral and Front Extensions (where you lift your arms with a dumbbell until they are parallel to the ground) and Running Arms with 5 or 10lbs weights for 30-45 seconds. 2 to 3 sets.
And now for the shocker: Every now and then, we would do the occasional hill workout, but it wasn’t on the top of our list, considering we ran hills every day for our easy runs.
You have to really push yourself, but if you can handle the intensity on the track, as tedious and redundant as it is to run in circles over and over again, you can really improve your endurance. On rugged terrain in different weather, if you don’t miss a workout and give it your best every day, you’ll really notice some changes.