How to Train for a Spartan Race and Come out on Top
It spans 30 countries, features over 200 events, and is an ordeal consistently sold as something that will change your life. If you haven’t heard of it, this is the Spartan Race. And, if you have and you’re trying to learn how to train for a Spartan Race, you need to understand that it’s both a mental and physical game.
People have competed in these obstacle course races for years, and many new competitors are signing up every day. Consisting of a variety of obstacles like rope swings and crawling through mud, the competition tests people’s mental and physical limits.
With a variety of race types and gear available to tackle them, you have quite a broad range of choices, and it might seem overwhelming.
Break Through the Confines of Your Mind and Body
So, how do you prepare for something like this?
If you break down the Spartan Race into two components, you begin to realize that there are a couple of facets that you need to focus all of your attention on.
First, build up your mental capacity. You can train your body to lift 200 pounds and squat 200 more, but none of that matters if you don’t have the mentality locked down.
You have to have confidence and a strong will to compete in a race like this, so building that mental toughness is half of your battle.
The other half is the physical side, and this takes time, effort, and energy.
Depending on how fit you are, you may need more or less preparation for the race. Either way, physically bracing your body isn’t an easy task.
However, if you have the mental stamina, the physical part should be a lot easier.
First, let’s take a look at some of those mental points you need to master when learning how to train for a Spartan Race.
When learning how to train for a Spartan Race, you undoubtedly will get hit with a wave of emotions.
With a whirring mind, it’s essential to focus on practicing your techniques, exercises, and even eating consistently.
It’s easy to say that you’ll enter a Spartan Race six months from now. And it’s even easier to start going to the gym every day. But, how long does that consistency last?
After that first week, what typically happens? You miss one day at the gym because your kid’s soccer practice ran late, or you had to stay at work an extra hour. Then, that inconsistency begins snowballing.
Only a month in, and you’re not even sure you want to compete anymore. Setting a goal and then not keeping up with it is damaging to your mind. It destroys confidence, so make sure that you stay consistent.
You’ll probably have to make sacrifices in other areas of your life.
They may not be significant sacrifices, but they’re present none the less. Work toward your goal every day, and you’re sure to compete to the best of your abilities once race day arrives.
Yes, a Spartan Race is about performing physical feats that you once thought were impossible. However, there’s much more to it than building your muscles and losing some weight.
There’s an entire mental side to the race, too.
Even outside of endurance events like these, athletes mentally prepare for their respective sports in several different ways.
For example, many endurance participants are going to encounter multiple obstacles and unexpected challenges along the way. When they prepare mentally, they must understand that unexpected things will happen.
It may rain the day of the race, and some competitors will lose their cool when this happens. But, if the competitor reframes the event into a challenge they can overcome, they have a much better shot at doing their best.
It’s also vital to think about the process while training, but not to analyze the result. Focusing on the present, performing to the best of your abilities, and just paying attention to the processes of your workouts can significantly help.
Set attainable goals
Understanding how to train for a Spartan Race requires knowing what exactly your goals are. Some people want to prove to themselves that they can finish no matter the placement while others come in with a “win or go home” mentality.
That’s why it’s crucial from the start to set goals that are realistic and attainable.
If it’s your first Spartan Race, odds are you’re not going to win. So, it would benefit you to focus on just finishing it the first time around.
There’s a system called SMART goals that helps people focus on what their goals really are. The acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
A goal with no clear end in sight does you no good. However, if you set a significant goal that’s achievable and measurable, you’ll feel much better about yourself and know exactly what you have to do to get it.
You can even use SMART goal-setting for smaller goals like training exercises you want to complete on a particular day or reading a chapter about mental preparation for the race out of a book.
Create good habits
Besides staying consistent, another aspect to consider when learning how to train for a Spartan Race is the vital component of habits and good habit-building.
Often, no matter what area of life you look into, people form habits. Whether it’s for a job, relaxing activities, or exercising, people create both good ones and bad ones.
Creating good habits is sometimes tricky for several reasons. For instance, forming a habit of drinking water over soda is hard when your refrigerator is full of soda and hardly any water.
The same type of thinking applies to habits you can build in preparation for a Spartan Race.
Much like consistency, making it a habit of going to the gym every day or every other day is crucial. Start thinking positively. If you start thinking positively all the time, it soon becomes an automatic action that you don’t even have to think about.
This could help if you fall behind during the race. Instead of negative thoughts bogging you down, positive ones will automatically bubble to the surface and give you the confidence you need to succeed.
When learning how to train for a Spartan Race, there may be nothing more important than maintaining good habits.
Push Your Limits
It’s a broad concept, but it’s one that needs addressing if you’re going to do well in a competition like a Spartan Race.
Getting outside of your comfort zone and pushing your limits are two healthy ways that you can grow mentally and physically.
You don’t know what you’re capable of until you get out there and see where your beginning thresholds are.
So, it’s best to find what your limit is and then exceed it just a little bit. Gradually, your limit stretches, and you slowly begin to grow.
This falls in line with things like consistency and habits. Once you push yourself mentally, your physical body is sure to follow.
Understanding how to train for a Spartan Race is all about pushing limits.
More Than a Mental Game
So far, you’ve got down the mental preparation part. You’ve made sure that you’ve pushed your limits and that you have confidence going into the competition.
But, understanding how to train for a Spartan Race is much more than a mental game. That’s only half of the equation. You also have to be physically capable of performing feats an average human couldn’t.
That begs the question of how in the world do you physically prepare for something like the Spartan Race? It turns out that there are a few exercises out there that whip your body into shape and prepare you for greatness.
A staple of the exercise world, you’ve probably come into contact with this exercise before. It’s a standard one that people tend to either love or hate.
Depending on your build and muscle mass, it’s either an easy exercise to pull off or the bane of your existence.
Either way you look at it, they are essential to the Spartan Race. After all, they build up your arm muscles so they endure the tough obstacle course.
Start with your arms latched onto a bar suspended a few feet off the ground. Then, slowly raise yourself up until your chin touches the bar. Slowly lower yourself back down and repeat.
Understanding how to train for a Spartan Race means getting your arms into shape, and that’s what the pull-ups help with.
Remember when you were a baby, and you learned to crawl? Essentially, you’re doing the same thing here. Only taking it to an extreme level.
The purpose of this exercise is two-fold. First, you perform this before a workout to work on your functional strength. This means that it’s an exercise that you perform to act as a baseline before actually starting your exercises.
That idea leads to the second concept that the bear crawl is effectively a warm-up routine.
Perform it by setting up for a push-up but bending your knees and lunging them forward. Make sure to keep them within the width of your arms. Do this for 50 yards, and you’re guaranteed to loosen up your muscles for the Spartan Race.
It’s also worth mentioning that the Spartan Race, and specific training exercises like the bear crawl, require some heavy use of the feet. Buying the right shoes for the race makes all the difference.
The burpee requires more movement than some are used to when it comes to exercise.
It’s almost two exercises in one, and you get a full-body workout while performing it.
To successfully perform a burpee, start with your hands on the ground, and lie prone. With legs straight back, you bring them forward and jump up into a squatting position.
Then, you extend the legs and stand up. Reverse the process to get back to the ground, and you’ve just completed one burpee.
Since this exercise works almost your entire body, it’s no wonder that it’s a useful one to perform to prepare for a Spartan Race. You get both your arms, legs, and core into shape simultaneously.
To get through the trials and tribulations of the Spartan Race, you need to have both a strong core and a pair of legs that can endure a lot of movement, squatting, and jumping. To make sure your legs and core are up to par, it’s best to try out some ninja jumps.
Working these specific jumps into your race preparation is a wonderful idea, and it doesn’t take much to pull them off.
To do so, start with your arms extended in front of your eyes. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
Next, you’re going to jump and try to touch your kneecaps to your palms. Then, land back in the starting position and repeat as many times as you want.
A simple yet effective workout, ninja jumps don’t require any other pieces of equipment and are a fantastic choice when learning how to train for a Spartan Race.
Another exercise that only requires your body, the walking lunge tones your calves, thighs, and just about any other muscle you can think of in your leg. It also does wonders for both the glutes and abs, too.
It’s relatively easy to perform as well, as all you really need to do is stand with your feet hip-width apart. Then, you lunge forward with one leg until it’s about an inch and a quarter off the ground. Push up with the opposite leg, and you’ll fall into a pattern of lunging with alternating legs.
Change Your Life
Today is as good a day as ever to start training for one of these races. There are many Spartan Race dates available throughout the year, so finding one that fits within your schedule shouldn’t be too difficult.
If you’ve been thinking about a Spartan Race, it’s time to make a decision. Do some research today and, if it sounds like fun or you know you want to challenge yourself, then do it.
However, the first step toward all of this is learning how to train for a Spartan Race. Jump into the unknown and change your life forever.
Do you know someone who competed in a Spartan race? What was their experience like? Let us know in the comments below.
Featured image source: Unsplash
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