Shake up your Workout, Train for a Spartan Race

SpartanFYou workout. You train. You sweat. You ache. And for…?

Working out regularly is tremendous, so don’t get me wrong at all. It’s just that at least once you ought to measure your fitness, test your fitness, test yourself by doing something out of the ordinary, something …just damn crazy.

Like the Spartan races (created by Reebok), which are essentially obstacle courses that test you in every way possible — and then some.

They’re just one of a group of new, age races being conducted for people who don’t want to run even a marathon or triathlon. They’re grueling tests of every muscle and brain fiber. You’ll have to climb, crawl, run…endure.

And that’s the fun of it.

There are three primary types of Spartan racesSprint (3-plus miles, 20+), Super (8-plus miles, 25 obstacles) and the appropriately named Beast (12-plus miles of hell, including 30 obstacles).

There are also kids events (1/2 and 1 mile). Then there are these really absurd events for those of you who wants to test the limits of human endurance: the Ultra Beast (26+ miles, 60+ obstacles), Hurricane Heat (various distances, 3-4 hours) and the Hurricane Heat 12 hour (well, it’s 12 hours… do you really need to know more?)

Let’s forget those last three and say you’ve never done a Spartan before and want to try. How do you train?

The experts recommend a three-tiered approach:

1) Build your aerobic base. Most simply, run. That’s the foundation  of the race so be sure to build your endurance for the length of race you chose. The run some more, adding sprints to the mix – along with even more running.

2) Build your muscular agility. The experts call it “obstacle immunity.” Your three main moves are burpees, bear crawls and jumping pullups. Again. Push yourself beyond where you might push yourself if these were a normal part of your workout. The obstacles are real — and unforgiving.

3) Get comfy with obstacles. Obviously you don’t know what obstacles will be on the course, but you can be pretty sure they’ll include so basics you can easily practice. For instance, carry a five-gallon bucket up a flight of stairs, beat the fittest kid on the monkey bars on the neighborhood playground and practice climbing out of the deep end of the pool. And it your gym has the dreaded rope climb, well, get used to it.

Here are 10 more training tips from the folks at

If you workout regularly, a Spartan race is a great way to break up the monotony and test yourself. If you don’t, the starter race is great motivation to get started!




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