In early September, my husband and I completed our second Spartan Beast Race. This is a 13.1 mile run with 35+ obstacles distributed throughout the race course. These obstacles ranged from crawling through mud pits, climbing up tall walls, carrying heavy objects, throwing a spear and many, many more challenges faced along this race course. The race course itself was full of steep climbs, wading through thigh-high water, narrow passages, climbing over or under trees and “ankle-breaking” pot-holes lurking under the grassy trails.
We finished about 25 minutes faster this year than last year . . .
So, what is it like to train for a Spartan race? Well, first off . . . there are a few race lengths to choose to participate in:
Spartan Sprint – 3-5 mile race course with 20+ obstacles
Spartan Super – 8+ mile race course with 25+ obstacles
Spartan Beast – 13+ mile race course with 35+ obstacles
So, first choose your length . . . We have chosen the Beast race for our first two years participating in this event. Here is how we prepared for this race:
We set aside 4 days a week for 8-weeks to prep for the Beast Race. These races require every component you can possibly train for: Endurance, Strength, Speed, Power, and Flexibility. It’s challenging to train for all of these components and excel at them all . . . but, we all have certain areas we thrive in so we worked on our weaknesses more than our strengths.
Endurance Training: We took one day a week to run 5-10 miles to get a good endurance base for the long race course.
Strength Training: One day a week we spent lifting heavy weight and low reps. This training targeted improving our strength to carry buckets, climb up ropes and perform the “monkey bar” obstacles.
Speed & Power Training: One day a week we performed sprints with intervals of strength training. This targeted our ability to run faster while maintaining our ability to execute strength required movements throughout the course while tired.
Endurance & Power Training: This workout trained our body (and mind) to push through power movements – burpees, mt climbers, lunges, push-ups – for a longer period of time. This is what the Beast is all about . . . going hard for a long time! If you can get good at this, then the Beast is for you!
After each workout we spent at least 10 minutes stretching. Being that we are both kayakers, our shoulders and lats tend to be very tight. This restricts movement through the shoulders for a lot of the obstacles in the race. So, we spent a lot of time opening up the chest, shoulders, upper back and lats.
To fuel our training and recovery, we made sure to eat enough calories and most importantly . . . hydrate! The week prior to the race we prioritized eating enough protein (though we always make this a priority), getting our carbohydrates to full capacity to fuel us for 3+ hours of movement (especially by eating vegetables) and drinking our 2-3 liters of water a day.
We have a lot to do with nutritional planning as we head into another season of Spartan racing. Both Nate and I at Mile 8 started getting cramps in our calves. This is a matter of pre-race hydration, properly hydrating durig the race and getting our electrolytes re-stored at just the right times.
Spartan Season Wrap-up and Moving forward:
There’s a lot to learn from each race we participate in . . . As I look back at our September Beast and our performance, I think about what I want to do differently . . . better . . . for next year. Here is my list:
#1 priority – remembering not to get too competitive and just have fun with my husband.
Practice and improve the rope climb.
Improve my grip strength.
Practice the spear throw to learn the trick behind it.
Participate in the Spartan Tri-fecta:
One Sprint race - MN
One Super race – Maybe Vegas
One Beast race – Maybe Montana
I am currently working on building up my base strength through February. Then, getting into more “Spartan-specific” training to prepare for our first race in March. Nutrition-wise, I am eating to “build muscle”, taking my creatine, fish oil and Vit D and continue to focus on hydration.
Here’s to 2019 . . . “I am Spartan” Aroo . . . I LOVE having my hubby and best friend as my adventure partner!!!!
If you’re interested in a Spartan race, contact Fitness & Sport Evolution to help you train!