How to start training for your first Spartan Race
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So you have heard of Spartan Race, people you know have run a race, or you have seen a race whether on Facebook, TV or YouTube. You feel compelled to do something different and really challenge yourself. The question you have is how do I start training for my first race? If you have never really done more than an occasional yoga class, spin class or session at your local gym, you are probably feeling a bit overwhelmed where to start. Please take a few deep breathes and relax.
Take That First Step
First go ahead and sign-up for that Spartan Race. This is the most important first step. Next, tell everyone you signed up for your first race. This will force you to set goals and begin taking action. Finally, get off the couch and be willing to get out of your comfort zone. Taking that last obstacle, the Fire Jump, and crossing the finish-line is the best feeling. The adrenaline and feels can overwhelm because YOU DID IT!
I will outline several training ideas to help you start training for your first Spartan Race using minimal equipment. Anyone can run a Spartan Race and I do mean anyone. People of all fitness levels, shapes, sizes and abilities challenge themselves to complete a race. Individual men or women, who are not runners or athletes by nature, take on the race in teams or as individuals. Even if you are not part of a team, you actually are, because the rest of us want you to succeed. We will pull, push, shove and be that extra leg to get you over that obstacle. The concern for making each other successful is strong. I love it. So what do you need to do to train for your first race?
You are most likely scared to death. I know I was when I first signed up. I had no idea where to start when it came to training for the obstacles I would encounter. My workouts consisted of HiiT Workouts 3 or 4-days a week. As for running, I ran 1-5K in my life and had some basic equipment for my HiiT training. To set your self up for success there are some key steps you can take.
Finding Time in Your Schedule
Finding time to workout is one of the biggest obstacles. Everyone has reasons they cannot fit one more thing into their already busy schedule. Trust me, if I can find the time so can you. I work full-time Monday thru Friday. My family life can be quite crazy during the school year.
First look at your schedule. Start by writing down everything you do from the time you get up until the time you go to bed for all 7-days. No matter what your is going on in your life, your schedule seems to be full all the time. You will find patterns in your schedule such as time between activities, or during, that are opportunities to add in a workout, even if it is only 20-30-minutes. Believe me, there are pockets of time you can take advantage to workout.
So where can you find pockets of time? While waiting for your child’s dance or soccer practice to send take a jog around the block, do lunges, pushups or situps on a patch of grass nearby. For instance, my daughter takes vocal lessons at our local university. I take advantage of the 45-60-minutes and run the university’s grounds around the baseball diamond or the bleachers nearby. I plan my run to be back 5-minutes short of her lesson ending. In the beginning, it’s a bit of trial and error but you can find the time.
Next is the equipment needed for training. Rest assured it does not take fancy, expensive equipment to start training. You need a good pair of training shoes, comfortable clothes and space. As I mentioned earlier, a grassy spot, open field or local park would suffice in addition to your home. There are many gym options that offer $10-month memberships if you prefer but a gym is not a necessity. I will also mention a few pieces of multi-purpose equipment I use regularly in a bit. My focus will be on training outside or at home from this point forward.
Now for the training plan. Sign-up for a Spartan Workout of the Day (WOD), or Spartan offers a “Couch to Sprint” Training plan which you can get for free from Spartan.com. It’s a great place to start as the exercises suggested focus on skills needed to complete the various obstacles. Again start slow and trust me you really, really can do this. I had no idea where to start so I can imagine what is racing thru your mind. Sign-up for your free Spartan Workout of the Day (WOD) or “Couch to Sprint” Training plan.
Training and Proper Technique
If you would rather do this on your own, bodyweight exercises are the best place to start. This type of exercise is great for everyone from beginner to experienced individuals. Focus on proper technique and form before deciding to add weight. Something I learned a bit late is without proper technique injuries are very common. This inhibits progress as the gains made will fade during recovery. Bodyweight exercises mimic the activities you will encounter during a race. Pushups, lunges, squats, and burpees are all part of a Spartan Race. Beginning with bodyweight are easy to incorporate into your routine.
Knowing proper technique for a pushup, lung or squat is critical. I cannot emphasize this enough. The links below are great resources for learning proper technique. If you are confident in the videos and instructions you should not need a personal trainer. Nothing is worse than starting your training program getting injured early on. I recommend finding a qualified coach to change a technique and learn the correct form for your situation if you have any health concerns.
After mastering the bodyweight exercises you are ready to up your game. By adding weight, the increased resistance will build muscle, endurance and durability. In turn you will have improved performance during a race and help prevent injury.
Adding Weight to Your Excercises
There are some basic pieces of equipment I recommend which are multi-purpose:
- A pair of 10 and 15-lb dumbbells
- a Hyper Vest Pro Weight Vest
- A set of Hyperwear Sandbell Free Weights
- A pull-up bar and a pull-up assist band.
If you are spending money on equipment you want to feel it was a worthwhile investment.
What I like about the Hyper Vest Pro Weight Vest and the Hyper Sandbell Free Weights is they are so versatile. During my run I add the vest to make the resistance harder and it really pushes my endurance and cardio to the next level. The first time I ran with it, I only added 5-lbs of weight to test the waters. Boy, did my legs notice the difference. I gradually added weight and my performance improved as I consistently ran with the vest. When I finally ran without the vest, I had plenty of power to run up those hills. That is when I realized the importance of a weight vest.
The other piece of equipment I love is the Hyperwear Sandbell Free Weights. They challenge many muscle groups in one exercise as I work to maintain proper form. Use them in the same manner as a set of dumbbells to work core, leg, back and arm muscles. I also love the fact they will not damage floors when dropped and work great for sandbell slams.
Are You Ready?
So, are you ready take on your first Spartan Race? Sign-up for the Spartan Workout of the Day. Find those small windows of time do pushups or squats while on your next conference call. Take stairs instead of the escalator or elevator. Park in the last parking space away from the stores you visit. the Hyper Vest Pro Weight Vest and the Hyperwear Sandbell Free Weights
Remember, you are not crazy even if your family thinks you are. You CAN do this. You REALLY, REALLY can. It is scary taking on something that is out of your comfort zone.
Remember You Can Do More Than You Think!