Lessons From My Very First Spartan Race

Just did my very first Spartan Race. Spartan Race, Warrior Dash, and Tough Mudder are obstacle course running events that challenge your mental toughness, stamina, strength and determination.

Just when you think you’re in great shape, there will be someone even bigger, faster, and stronger than you. Just when you think you’re well prepared, there will be someone more ready than you… and when you think you’re the toughest there will always be someone more ready to kick even more ass than you.

That’s one of the things I learned form this past weekend’s Spartan Race.  There always be someone better than you.  Rather than being discouraged and intimidated, it forced me to compete much harder. However, my focus was not on the trail or crawling through muddy pipes, but what am I going to do tomorrow at the gym to get better for the next obstacle running event. Warrior Dash in July.

What I learned from running the Spartan Race in Hardwood Hills

  • There’s more running than you think.  Not the regular running, but uphill running; and a lot of it. In mud. And did I say up the hill, in mud?
  • Run light. Don’t wear heavy shirts, long shorts, and definitely avoid costumes.  As fun as the costumes are, they do not help you compete.
  • Hydrate yourself. Before the race, the day before the race and few days before that.
  • Try to start near the start line.  If you run behind your pack you will have to wait in-line to complete various obstacles.
  • Stretch before.
  • Keep your body warm and loose.
  • Work as a team. Help others.

How to get ready for the next Spartan Race, Tough Mudder or Warrior Dash: General Tips

  • Train your cardio system.  Don’t do long runs, 10km plus, too often.  If you’re going to do long run, focus on interval training. Sprint, Run, Jog.  Read this article on how to get your cardio up to par in no time.
  • Build up strength. Learn to do pullups. You may want to look into various Pull vs. Push training regiments.
  • Eat right.
  • Avoid treadmills like a plague. Try to do as much training on the trails as possible.
  • Skip weight machines and dumbbells. Do some functional training and kettlebells.
  • Learn about Tabita and HIIT. Incorporate it into your training.

This is just a starting point.  If you’re going to do these types of events regularly then you’ll need to build better and more disciplined training regiment.

*Image is courtesy of user jramspott on Flickr