I hate to be cold, wet, and muddy, but I am obsessed with the Spartan Sprint. It’s an obstacle course race designed to challenge you in many ways! And, when you cross that finish line, I promise you will be so proud of yourself for completing this challenging race. The feeling of pride is overwhelming!
In this post, I will share with you my experience as I trained for my first Spartan Sprint and my best tips to get you to the starting line. I won’t lie; it’s going to be hard work, it will take dedication, a commitment, and consistency in your training, and, most of all, a willingness to let go and have fun. Not to mention being cold, wet, and muddy.
I designed this program for the active boomer who is new to the obstacle course racing world. If you have injuries, current or old, please get the permission of your doctor before you take on this adventure.
So, with that said, are you still interested?
If so, let’s get started.
First, register for a race.
A Spartan Sprint is a 3-mile race with 20 obstacles, and you have the choice to walk, hike, or run the course. Depending on your fitness level, current strength training program, and time available to train, I’d suggest finding a race at least five months out. Planning, this far out, should give you plenty of time to prepare and have fun along the way.
Second, start walking, hiking, and if your body allows, running.
If you’re not on a current walking program, get started today. Slowly add in trail hiking, you want to be comfortable and confident on the uneven surface of the trail. And, if it’s okay in your body, throw in a few short runs.
Remember, the race is only 3 miles broken up with obstacles thrown in. Depending on the race location and design, your most extended run leg might be 0.5 -1 mile before you come to an obstacle. You won’t run all 3 miles at once.
And, make sure to add hills to your walking, hiking, and run training. I haven’t participated in a flat race yet!
Bonus tip one – I also increased my stretching routine. Maintaining flexibility kept me healthy and able to show up for training the next day recovered and ready to go. I did shorter sessions but did a little something most days of the week.
Focus on consistency.
Bonus tip two – you might consider getting a massage once a month as you train for the race. It helped me stay healthy for my training program.
Third, start adding in heavy lifting days.
It’s time to start lifting, pushing, pulling, and carrying heavy stuff! Before my first Sprint, I didn’t go crazy, but I did make sure that what I was doing was on the heavy side.
I used dumbbells for strength training – I did a basic, full-body workout. It included squats, deadlifts, lunges, rows (wide and narrow), pushups, bicep curls, and tricep skull crushers.
Work up to 3 sets, 12 reps each. Do this circuit-style, keep moving, adding a quick transition between exercises to maintain an elevated heart rate.
Lastly, it’s time for specific training to conquer those obstacles.
If you can only do one thing right now, start getting comfortable with burpees. Yep, you will do plenty of them in the race. Oh, did I forget to mention, if you do not succeed at an obstacle, you have to do 30 burpees before you move on!
Obstacle Specific Training – do each one for about 2-3 minutes at a time:
- Bucket Brigade and Atlas Carry – fill a 5-gallon bucket (half full) and carry it up and down your neighborhood.
- Farmer Carry – carry a “heavy” dumbbell in one hand as you walk through your neighborhood, and change arms when you need to.
- Tire Flip – if you can find a massive tire, flip it several times.
- Sandbag Carry – find a big and heavy sandbag, place it on your shoulder, and walk your neighborhood.
- Monkey Bars, Rings, Rig – go to the park, play on the monkey bars, and build your grip strength. A strong, firm, and secure grip is essential. Several obstacles will challenge your grip, and Spartan will put a few of these grip buster obstacles back to back.
- Hurdles and Walls – go to a park or elementary school and climb over anything that is 4’-6’ high.
- Rope Climb – this is a hard one to train for, not many ropes just hanging around. It does take practice, so if you know of anyone willing to help, take them up on it.
Spartan offers quick video clips with a ‘how-to’ on a few obstacles. Take a look at https://www.spartan.com/en/spartan-race-obstacles.
How to schedule your week of training.
The goal is to do some form of training most days of the week. This schedule is just an example:
Tuesday and Friday – walk or run for 45-60 minutes and obstacle training. If you can, stop at a park, make it a fun and playful day.
Wednesday – get out on the trails for 75-90 minutes.
Saturday – make it a long day on the trails, it doesn’t have to be fast just time on the legs, aim for 90-120 minutes.
Sunday – stretch, rest, and recover.
On a side note – make sure to get enough sleep (7-9 hours) each night. Sleep is where the magic happens; your body will rest, repair, recover, and rejuvenate so that you feel energized and ready to tackle the next day of training.
As you step out of your comfort zone and train for this fantastic adventure, keep in mind, you are doing this for fun.
It’s a challenge most of your friends won’t even consider; they’ll think you’re crazy. And maybe you are, I say, welcome to the club.
So, have fun, be a kid, and laugh a lot. You will meet amazing people at the race who will be there, ready and willing to help and support you along the way.
Even cheer you on!
Good luck, and welcome to the Spartan Sprint.
If you’re excited about participating in a Spartan Sprint and need coaching to get started, please reach out. I’d love to help, support, and motivate you in this new adventure!