How to train for or simulate the running part of a Spartan Race if you are new to obstacle course racing
We finished our Beast, our very first Spartan Race, and my knees and ankles were so achy and sore. Some of the other racers suggested mountain biking trails as they tend to offer up trail obstacles you will encounter during a Spartan Race. Living in South East Michigan I could not imagine finding anything with crazy hills, logs, boulders, water obstacles, etc. I started asking friends and some who enjoy mountain biking, they gave me a few suggestions of local trails they like. I also found a few apps/websites you will find helpful locating some decently challenging trails.
AllTrails.com.is a pretty nice site as you can search all over the U.S. for trails that will be near you or a destination are visiting. It provides some nice topographical maps, comments provided from other trail riders/runners and you can print maps if you like to keep one handy in your pack. In addition there is an android/IOS apps you can download your maps to and take along the trail.
MTBProject.com (Mountain Bike Trails Project) is similar to AllTrails.com but is a part of the REI Co-Op. I like this site/app to. It provides elevation details, pictures other trail users have uploaded and maps. There is a virtual tour option that provides a simulated view of using the trail. It’s a little cartoony but maybe someone will come up with a Google Maps version soon where someone riding the trail will give a similar view.
Let’s say you live in Florida, Illinois or North Dakota which is quite flat in terms of elevation. We have used what we call ‘Miracle Miles’ to work on cardio and leg strength for getting up the hilly terrain of a Spartan Race. What is a ‘Miracle Mile’ you ask? Find your local high school football field that is open to the public. Basically run the Home side of bleachers, zig-zagging up and down the aisles. At the end of the last aisle, hit the track over to the visitor-side and run the bleachers there in the same manner, again running the track over to the home-side bleachers.
I hope I have given you some ideas where to look for your local trails and an option if trails are not available.
Remember – You Can Do More Than You Think!