Preparing for a Spartan Race
Any Spartan race is challenging. It is a lot of hard work but it is absolutely doable. Often times preparation is underrated and most people will just consider you lucky or naturally in shape. It’s hard to be lucky when you’re getting ready for a race because you begin to understand the effort put into training. Luck has nothing to do with racing but instead preparing by working hard, staying motivated, being dedicated to your training and pushing the limits. Let’s get you the right mindset, training plan and nutritional information. Then we’ll be well on our way from the couch to the course in no time!
How to prepare for a Spartan Race
- Start working out.
Get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable. A Spartan Race is going to challenge you. The more you can adapt to training at slightly uncomfortable intensities, the more competitive and confident you’ll feel on race day.
- Expect to face some nasty hills. Include some hill training.
Whether it is jogging or hiking, get used to incline and elevation changes. Gradually increasing your miles before hand. Check out our beginner half marathon training program for an idea on how to gradually increase your weekly mileage safely for the joints.
- Include a sprint or interval workout per week to increase your anaerobic threshold.
Working on sprints will help you recover faster between obstacles and between hills. Play around with the duration and speed of your intervals. For longer intervals, decrease your speed. For shorter intervals, increase your speed. Start with shorter intervals and increase the intensity/duration over time.
- Total Body Strength Circuits
To prepare for the obstacles it’s important to work on your upper and lower body strength. You might have to climb over a wall, carry a sandbag uphill, complete a set of box jumps, climb across monkey bars, do a Herculean hoist, crawl under barbed wire, and more.
Easily being able to do push-ups, at least a pull-up, squats and lunges, is essential. Having experience climbing walls or monkey bars is a huge asset. Including plyometric exercises will help get you ready for any jumping movement they might throw at you. Lastly, don’t forget to begin increasing grip strength for all the times you don’t want to fall!
- Prepare mentally
Most of all, prepare mentally and stay motivated. Any athlete will tell you 50% of the challenges are all mental strength. Your physical training can help you understand your body’s capabilities but it is your mental strength that will get you through the most intimidating challenges. Stay motivated by joining a team!
What to Expect
I’d recommend at least one run per week, progressively training so you’re comfortable running 6 miles before race. If you can handle that, your cardio will be fine on race day. Spartan Sprint can take anywhere from 45 mins – 2 hours to complete depending on your speed and endurance levels.
Get comfortable doing high reps of burpees and perfect your burpee form. An easy way to get started is by doing 30 burpees at the beginning and ending of the day. The Super is the middle milage race; it is a great way to test your limits in a variety of ways. You can run or hike this one fairly easily depending on your cardiovascular strengths. Either way you’ll have to do endurance training for this one more than the Sprint.
Most people don’t run the Beast but there are a few. I’d get comfortable hiking at least 13 miles at challenging elevations. That would be the bare minimum if you want to survive it. Check out our Spartan Beast training plan for more details and recommended workouts.
Nutrition for Race Day
Nutrition for race day is similar to that of almost any long race. Check out our Beginner marathon training guide to learn more about carb loading and race day fuel.
On Race day don’t expect them to hand out snacks like they would for triathlons on marathons. Bring your own. You’ll want to fuel with quick acting carbs, moderate to low fats and protein. Electrolytes are a must have. In any form, do not leave without them. They will save you when your muscles start to cramp and keep you hydrated after hours of profuse sweating. Learn why many endurance athletes use mustard and pickle juice during their race and training regiments.
Most importantly just have fun! Fitness is always more fun with friends. Stick together and support each other. Suffer together, win together and discover how strong you really are!
This blog post is a recap of key points from multiple sources listed below & personal experience: