Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Spartan Race Give Away and Training Tips

Since clicking the 'Register Now' button to enter the June 6th Spartan Race, I may have had a few minor panic attacks!  The Type A in me has me taking out library books, listening to podcasts, and generally just absorbing as much as I can about the race...or any obstacle race for that matter.  So in true RGF style, I thought I'd pass on some of my new found knowledge!

First off....If you don't know what a 'Spartan Race' is...check out their media page at where you can also select a city and register.  Spartan races are known for their toughness, being timed, and their penalties (30 burpees for failing to complete an obstacle).

photo courtesy of the above website
What kind of obstacles can you expect to encounter at a Spartan race?  It really depends on the type of event that you choose to complete; the Sprint, the Super, or the Beast.  Because I am doing the sprint which covers approximately 6km, I will focus on that one.  Some of the obstacles in past races include:
  • Barb wire crawl
  • Rope climb
  • Spear Throw
  • Sandbag Carry
  • Wall climbs (straight and inverted)
  • Monkey bar or ring swings
  • propane tank hoist
To add to the difficulty, the terrain is usually not a flat surface.  In Nova Scotia, for example, the race is straight up a ski hill...often times having to crawl instead of run upright due to the degree of incline!

So how do you train, you might ask?  Well my first suggestion is...make sure you do train!  Coming from a running background, I think I have that piece's all the upper body strength that I am going to need that worries me a bit!

Obviously practicing burpees is a great place to start.  As I've said numerous times, this is a great exercise that encompasses so many muscles groups including arms, legs, and cardio!  Being able to perform 30 in a row will serve you well should you be unable to complete an obstacle.  I've already calculated that I'll need to do 420 burpees should I fail on every one. (pessimistic....I know)!

Next up, box jumps.  Box jumps allow your body to simulate the springing action needed when traversing walls.  Box jumps can be done in a gym on proper box jump equipment or at home or in a play ground.  Just find a bench that will hold up to this type of exercise and jump away.  The higher the better for working and building those springs!
Be careful as boxes have been known to jump up and bite shins!
Next up....mastering the monkey bars or rings!  This is pure upper body strength!  Work on pushups, tricep dips, and bicep curls to help in this area.  Find a local playground and practice your swinging momentum as you move from one monkey bar or ring to the next!  You will want to build those calluses between now and race day!  Try and be prepared for the fact that the person in front of you may stop...halting your momentum.  Can you get going again???
The rope pull and sandbag hoist will require upper body strength as well as a tight core.  You can easily google 'how to make a sandbag' and create one for practice sessions.  Another option is to throw a car tire over your shoulder and train with the added weight.  There is never a shortage of used car tires...just visit your local auto shop.  (note...drill small holes in it so that any water from rain will drain out). 
Obviously this post only covers a few select obstacles....but enough to get you started.  Throwing in kettlebell swings and jump squats never hurt anyone either!!  The most important thing, I think, about training for an obstacle race is to try and create the feeling of race day.  What do I mean?  Start at a around the block...come back to the playground and swing through the monkey bars 5 around the block...come back to the playground and do a tire around the get the idea!  Your body needs to get used to being challenged in different ways!!  Oh....and if your course is known to be a ski mine...practice hill climbing/running...they need to be our friends!
As I mentioned, I've also been listening to different podcasts on obstacle races in general which often offer advice on completing them.  If you are looking for something to listen to while driving or at work, check out a few of these:
  • Getting Dirty with Daniel and Laurie
  • Obstacle Racing Media with Matt Davies
  • Obstacle Dominator with Benn Greenfield & Hunter McIntyre
Now for the exciting news, Spartan International has given me a free race entry to any Eastern Spartan Race.  To enter, leave a message letting me know the following things:
  • What obstacle you fear the most
  • Why you want to become a Spartan
  • And share the Spartan web link above on your social media sites.
Your name will be entered to win the free race entry.  Draw to occur on May 10th....Mothers Day!!!
Good luck to all those that enter!   


  1. Hey Courteney.....I fear the 420 burpees the most:) Or anything that requires upper body strength!! I want to become a spartan to prove to myself that I can do it!!

  2. What I fear the most is the rope climb. Not only is it tough to do. I afraid of falling from the top. But I just gotta stay focus and prove to myself it can be done