There’s been a sight change in which race the team I’m meant to be running with is running. When I was first asked if I’d like to run it, it was the Super or 13km with 20+ obstacles. I tripled checked that’s the one they were running and signed up. If I’d left it until last minute, I wasn’t sure there’d be any places or I’d train for it. The guys at my gym (the gym monitors who asked in early February) ran the Super last year and had a blast. Their ‘team leader’ this year’s signed them up for the Beast or 20km with 25+ obstacles. I know my limits and first time running, I don’t want to do the 20km! One of the monitors who’s been signed up but now can’t run it due to injury asked others on my behalf if any would like to run the 13km. They’ve decided to decide after the summer. I think being signed up for the 20km and not being able to choose which distance or want to run the 20km are stalling. The Beast and Super are held on different days in the mountains outside Barcelona. Getting there for me is a problem without transport. Add I don’t really want to run it solo, I’m not sure I’m running it!
Instagram and YouTube have been my source for what the race entails and how to train for the obstacles. I want my training to be as much like the race as possible!
With regards to my workouts (x 4 a week) there hasn’t been much change. My style is functional, following Juan Carlos Santana’s training theory, the 4 pillars of movement, train for movement, a sport, lifestyle etc. I also find a lot of inspiration, exercises from Tone It Up, Fit Captian, Sugary Six Pack, Carmel Rodriquez, TwoBadBodies (yep, mostly on Instagram! See the post here!), Googling TRX exercises. I like to mix it up! Strength training with 30 second cardio/plyometric elements. Cleans, snatches, feature. Heavy deadlifts no as I’m not built that way. The heaviest squats I do are elevated sumo squats with 22.5/25kg. I use variety of equipment: sandbags, medicine balls, TRX/suspension trainer, Dumbbells, kettlebells, fit balls, BOSU, bodyweight, resistance bands, steps, box jumps. I also do a lot of compound moves and unilateral, working one side. My workout are never boring! Cross Fit is not for me (I don’t like how the girls look. Nothing against them, it’s not for me), but I now do cross fit ‘flop’ burpees.
For every obstacle in the race you don’t do, you forfeit 30 burpees with a press up, chest touching floor. To make it easier, Cross Fit style (Spartan Race is by Reebok, who do Cross Fit) is when in the plank element, hips touch floor, roll to press up, roll back to hips, jump. It’s easier! I can manage 20-22 before needing a breather to complete the 30. I have this way improved my overall press up technique. Arms/elbows at 45 degrees or pointing down rather than out (yes, for a trainer bad, but sometimes you get into bad habits!). Taking photos or videos while exercising can help break bad technique. I also don’t dip my back as much. Again, for a trainer I know. But (yep an excuse) I see a lot of bad press up technique so I’m not alone. Head/neck position is also important as I’ve learnt! If even I don’t run it, training’s paid off! The burpees, I tag on at the end of Saturday circuits to get used to doing them when there’s less in the tank. And I’m looking forward to when I don’t have to do them anymore!
The biggest change in my training is upper body. A lot of the obstacles require upper body strength. The only way for me to work this functionally to improve strength, endurance are chin ups, pull ups, monkey bars and muscle ups. Chin ups are easier, pull ups, work in progress! Monkey bars, I do on my longer runs. I cross them with the traditional way, sideways, mix them up and increase time spent on them. I also do muscle ups on my longer runs. Again, these are work in progress and will help scaling walls. Especially as my wall scales on a shorter running route are on a hiatus. The beach access ramp I use is now always busy. I spent more time waiting for people to cross than running up and pull myself up them! On the pull up bar or the bar across the squat machine at the gym, I move across left and right, and perform hanging 360 turns to get used to changing direction! I also do a hanging stretch on the bar for recovery as well as 1 arm monkey style hang stretch. They’re fun!
Running (x 3 a week)
Unfortunately, I can’t run in the mountains to get used to the terrain, but I run on the beaches as much as possible. Sometimes, I run along the shore line to get used to heavy muddy trainers, but only sometimes! They drag up down like you wouldn’t believe. Plus the shore line is busy now so they too are on a hiatus.
When it was cooler my longer runs were 16-21km. I usually run longer runs max 14km. However the Super’s 13km plus 20 obstacles! It’ll take me way longer than an average 13km run! The longer distances build endurance, getting me used to exercising that much longer. Longer runs more than 15km are on hiatus due to the heat, but it’s knowing I can run (walk/run towards the last few km!) longer distances no problems.
Oh and yoga! Yogaglo Yoga to help stretch the shoulders, zone out, aid training. It all helps! My handstands and a few other arm balances are improving thanks to a stronger upper body and core!
Clothes on the day
Long length booty shorts/shorter length cycling shorts. There’ll be a lot of mud, a lot of people crawling through the mud. A lot of mud in places I’d rather not talk about. I don’t want to flash, or worry about pulling up shorts constantly! Tank top, sports bra and remove all jewellery! Earrings too! Extra hairband on wrist, eyeliner, smile, determination and not think of what’s in the mud!
Body composition change?
Yes! Weight wise, no idea. I don’t have scales in the house, though I have leaned out. My physio’s noticed a difference. She says my upper body’s looking and doing much better than when I first saw her! I’ve have/had a few muscle imbalances that affect other parts (right shoulder affects, left bum which in turn affects left Achilles, which I’ve had problems with) which we’re working towards putting right. I’ve noticed thanks to the chin ups, pull ups, TRX rows and lat work, less back bra bulge and bat wing arms reduced significantly (which is lesson, that’s it not just tricep work to sort out bat wing arms. When you think about where the lat muscle inserts in the arm, it becomes clear!). And abs. More definition. Chins ups, pull ups are great for abs too!
Bum, booty, glutes whatever you call them. J-Lo, a Kashdashian I’m not. My physio exercises are helping. I can recruit for fibres now, lessening the pancake! It helps to be told and aware of trouble spots/weakness to work at them. My current physio, she was the one who told me my shoulders were doing my bum, hamstring work and my quads, hip flexor too strong, again doing hamstring work. As I’m aware, I can also plan exercises to help combat this, even if it’s just being aware of technique. Her activation and deactivation techniques have worked magic! In addition, my own knowledge of fitness has expanded along the way.
So there you have it, my Spartan Race training plan! Rope climbs, I haven’t access to one, so if I run, that’s 30 burpees for sure. Javelin, spear throw to the heart on a straw dummy, another 30 burpees. Just as long as I cross the finish in one piece (when registering, they asked for blood type!), preferably not the last, I’m good. I think.
How do you train for specific races, lifestyle, workouts? Have you ran a Spartan, Warrior Dash or any other obstacle race, just for fun?
Spartan logo, taken from Google Images.