So I’ve decided to sign up for the upcoming Halifax Spartan Race in June.
I’ve known about the Spartan Race events for a number of years now and thought they sounded fun, but never convinced myself to join up. This year a group of co-workers approached me and asked if I wanted to be part of their team and I thought, what the hell.
For those of you unfamiliar with what the Spartan Race is I’ll paint a quick picture. It is an obstacle race, meaning that along with running there are several big, demanding and downright nasty secondary physical challenges built to push you to the brink. The race creators pride themselves on keeping the details of the layout and challenges secret until raceday.
You show up and just have to be ready for anything.
Climbing ropes, cargo nets, monkey bars, heavy sandbag carries, you name it. Did I mention there is a spear throw ? Yeah… it’s that kind of rodeo. And I don’t want to forget to mention, if you miss or fall on a challenge you are rewarded with no less than 30 burpees. Since an average course runs about 5-7kms and can contain up to a dozen or more challenges this alone can make a strong, capable person shake in their boots.
So, the question is: How do you train for the unexpected?
I’ve been playing sports all winter and have kept up my regular gym work as well but with only 5 weeks left to train for the event I wanted to tailor things a little bit, in an effort to try and prepared for whatever comes my way on raceday.
What I know:
I aim to bring in more dedicated running than normal for the next few weeks as well as double down on mobility and recovery work. I will be training 5 days a week and keeping 2 days as pure recovery/active rest days. Those days will still have some focused work like yoga or swimming but will not be balls to the wall. I don’t want to arrive at the gate on raceday beat up and exhausted.
Sunday – X-train/Bootcamp – 1:00hr
This class is a whole body workout that focuses on metabolic conditioning. We use kettlebells and bodyweight exercises work up a sweat and build some strength and endurance. A few key movements we will focus on are swings, clean and jerks, farmers carries and sprints. Oh, and burpees of course.
Monday – Run – 45mins
Head outside and go. I planned a route around town that brings in a few long hills along with some trails. The goal was to start bringing in climbs right off the bat. I know the race is up a ski hill and there is no way that flat running alone will get me ready for the thing. Make sure to include a good 10-15 minute warm up before you hit the road and a nice cool down on the other side too. If you sit at a desk all day like I do, you’ll need it.
Tuesday – Bodyweight Workout – 45mins
A quick, effective bodyweight only session that can be done anywhere.
Go through the circuit ONCE .
1A Prisoner Squat—10 reps
1B Prisoner Lunge—6 reps/side
1C X-Body Mountain Climber—6 reps/side
1D Leg Swing—20 reps/side
1E Jumping Jack—20 reps
1A Jumping Jacks—20 seconds on, 10 seconds off, x 4 rounds
1B Close-Grip Pushups—20 on, 10 off x 4 rounds (just hold top position if tired)
1C Bodyweight Squats—20 on, 10 off x 8 rounds
1D Mountain Climbers—20 on, 10 off x 4 rounds (just hold top position if tired)
1E Prisoner Lunges—20 on, 10 off x 4 rounds
Burpees – 10 reps x 3 rounds
Stretch and cooldown
Wednesday – Off /Active recovery or rest
Take a day to unwind, do some mobility work (foam roll, etc) and rest up for the rest of the week.
Thursday – Run+ 45-60min
This is another run but with a twist. Plan a run around town that brings in long sets of stairs, more hills, switchbacks, etc. On top of the more demanding run route try and hit up at least 2-3 playgrounds. Run to a park and then do 2-3 sets of monkey bar passes, inverted rows on a low bar, climb up and over the equipment, do some step ups, lunges, etc. The idea here is to start getting used to running, getting a little tired and then have to perform a strength skill like you will in the race. Don’t forget to warm up and cool down.
Friday – Hill Sprints
I know, you just ran and got tired yesterday! Well, the good news is this is a short one. Find a challenging hill around where you live and head out for some hill sprints. The important thing here is to get in a solid warmup first, like always. From there on in it is simple, start at the bottom and stop at the top. Try and go all out on these. The hill doesn’t need to be long but it should be challenging. Try to get in 10 good sprints.
Saturday- Rest and Recover
Take it easy and be kind to yourself, it all starts again tomorrow.