by Sean Nelson, guest blogger

[Editor's Note: Name: Sean Nelson is 46 and his 2012 points were 11,844 (359th overall, 17th - male age 45-49).  He is a Human Resource Executive and single dad to two teenagers.]

It was November of 2011 and I came across a Spartan Race advertisement on the Web. The last Sprint of the year would be held that weekend in Versailles, IL. It was Thursday and I didn’t have my kids that weekend, so I decided (totally out of character) to fly out to Chicago and make the trek out to Cliff’s Insane Terrain Park and just do this thing! I wasn’t registered for the race, but luck would have it I was staying at the same hotel as the Spartan leadership and crew. I got up early on Saturday and ran into Jaloyn Fockler who introduced me to Joe Desena and Andy Weinberg. Instantly, we connected, they helped me get hooked-up for my inaugural Spartan Race that morning so I could make my plane back out that night, and it was amazing! My successful first experience with Spartan racing exemplifies why they are so successful and why they will dominate the Obstacle racing world in the years to come. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but decided the answer to “how” was simply “yes”, translated to mean you don’t need all the answers before you can accomplish new and exciting things in your life. If you don’t like where you are or what your life has become, change it, just say “yes” to something new and jump in. This is how Joe D. runs the company, saying “yes” and doing new and cool things along the way. I am sure this drives people a little crazy, but it has been a recipe for success and will be the difference between Spartan and the others!

Since my first race, I have been a Spartan faithful, running numerous races (one with my teenage son) and completing the Trifecta in 2012 (see my cool new – and first ever- tattoo celebrating that accomplishment!) It was more than the accomplishment itself that enabled me to permanently ink my body with a Spartan…it’s also the Spartan Code! 

Spartan Racing serves as a catalyst and constant motivator for me to maintain a high-level of fitness as well as encourage others to get off their asses and do something they never imagined…it reminds me of the famous Man in the Arena quote (see below).

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

– Teddy Roosevelt

The 3 Pillars of Spartan Dominance

Besides running the organization on a simple vision and focusing on the race and not their egos, the Spartan race will dominate this industry because of these three keys:

(1) The Challenge – For anyone who has done a Spartan Race, there really is no explanation needed here. But for the sake of anyone who hasn’t, the Spartan Race becomes the most difficult physical challenge in most people’s lifetime. For me, the NJ Super at Mountain Creek was absolutely grueling and the hardest physical activity I have ever undertaken. And it should be noted, there are many Spartan races (Ultra Beast, Death Race) that I have not done! The combination of running, strength, elements and terrain make for a functional fitness test that cannot be duplicated even in the hardest Crossfit gym! What makes the Spartan Races unique is the different distances and varied locations opening up this challenge for many more people at different levels of ability and fitness. In addition, it’s the new unique races in major league stadiums and a willingness to try anything to see if it works, the answer to how is yes. My hope is that we’ll expand and someday do Spartan Triathlons at the different distances!

(2) The Community – The Spartan Community is growing all the time, when you meet someone who has completed a race, you have an instant connection, you know there’s something special about that person, a shared experience, a comrade. During the races, no one leaves a Spartan, we assist, we cheer, we stop so that our new friend can continue to best the challenge in front of them. This is a community of people who know challenge, show up and take it on, and celebrate when they get done. The tag line is – ”You’ll know at the finish line”. What you know is that you have risen to the challenge, competed against yourself and have become a greater being than you had been before you began.

(3) The Code – Ultimately, the Spartan Code represents a set of tenets that I can buy into and to live for, a convention that will make me a whole person, a better person, the type of person we need more of in our world – those who live life to the fullest. The code addresses physical and mental fitness, leadership, charity, integrity, learning and full living. It distinguishes the Spartan from the Warriors, Mudders and Dashers in that it comes with a higher calling, being more about the community and about being better than you might naturally!

Keep pushing, keep growing, keep racing…Aroo, Aroo, Aroo!  It’s your turn, get signed up today!  For a list of events, click HERE.  

 

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Flexibility:  A Core Fitness Component in Obstacle Racing

by Jason Jaksetic

 

The bamboo which bends in stronger than the oak which resists.

—Japanese Proverb

 

The 49ers are going to the Super Bowl and their flexibility may be the reason why.

Athletes at Spartan HQ weren’t surprised by the revelations found in a recent Wall Street Journal article (this one), that tells of the off-the-radar stretching program of the San Francisco 49ers, a regiment that possibly has enabled their two year charge into NFL dominance.

The piece joked about 300 lbs linemen being more mum about their stretching routines than their squat and bench press records out of machismo.   But the author also hinted that the truth for this reticence might have to do with keeping a competitive advantage.

It seems the flexible, the limber, and the loose have a competitive advantage in football.

I’m not an expert of football, but I know this makes sense from the obstacle racing perspective.  And it also holds true for other endurance sports like running and cycling as well.

 

Obstacle Racing is not a linear sport, and in this aspect, it has much in common with football.  There are complex movements happening when you scale an 8-foot wall or navigate an endless uphill barbed wire crawl.

Did you see Tiki Barber, former New York Giant great at our NY Times Square event?

 

Obstacle racing is a sport engineered for those who can get from point A to point B fast.  There is irregular terrain, walls, mud pits, agility obstacles, and myriad other ways to send your body flying in every possible direction.  This is not road running or cycling where efficiency dictates one (or a few) optimal motions repeated over and over.  In obstacle racing you are racing on some of the most gnarly trails going – often something that just has the semblance of a trail.

To be successful in obstacle racing you want to have a good range of motion for agility.  You also want to avoid injury.  Both agility gains and injury reductions are related to flexibility, and flexibility is related to stretching.

 

Why You Must Stretch

At Spartan HQ, daily training might incorporate Bikram Yoga at Bikram Yoga Pittsfield.  Liz Cotter, head Bikram Yogi there, recounts how she used to train many of the 49ers when she lived in San Francisco.

“They were just so huge.  Extremely muscular. And this was a problem.”  she said, “Range of motion was an obstacle for them.”

Stretching before a workout is more controversial then stretching after. Many studies (here is one, and another) caution about decreased performance.

An ideal warm-up would include some dynamic stretching first to warm the body up, says Dr. Jeff Godin of Spartan Coaching.

“The majority of stretching should be done after exercise, when the muscles are warm and limber.”  Dr Godin say, “That is when people will see the most improvement. Or to conduct stretching entirely separate from other exercise like in a yoga class.”

Don’t know how to stretch?  Don’t worry.  We recently recorded these two short videos to help you out.

In these two videos Jenny Wilson, a Bikram yogi, demonstrates the stretching routines we use in training for Spartan Races.  If you are new to stretching, start slow!  Incorporate it bit by bit into your training routine and into your life in general.


Warming up – Pre Workout Stretching Routine

Cooling Down – Post Workout Stretching Routine

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by Tom McCormack

In 2012, we issued a challenge to the Spartan Community.  We asked for teams to come out, in force, and that the biggest team of the year would be handsomely rewarded.  We had quite a showing, but none more so than a team from the West Coast, going by the team name, “Weeple Army.”   The Weeples were not just the biggest team on the year, they were the biggest team at THREE events in 2012.  They were the biggest team at the SoCal Super, the Sacramento Beast, and the Malibu Sprint earning a Biggest Team Tri-Fecta in CA!

Captain:  Dave Huckle

Final 2012 Biggest Team Results

Top 5 teams for 2012 based on the amount of finishers at every event.

Malibu Sprint Weeple Army

150

Mid-West Super Spartan Chicago Spartan

146

Sacramento Spartan Beast Weeple Army

144

Pennsylvania Spartan Sprint Team Limitless

139

Indiana Sprint Spartan Race 2012 Midwest Collegiate Street Team

134

 

Malibu 2011 was the first of the three Weeple Army appearances.   They arrived with 20 team members and participated in the Hurricane Heat.  Just 60 days later, they arrived at the 2012 SoCal Spartan with 73 members, many of them again participating in the Hurricane Heat at 6am.  They were hooked!

The Weeples are focused primarily on mud and obstacle races, 5ks, marathons, but while having fun and enjoying the event, regardless of their finish times.

David Huckle, Weeple Army team captain did 39 events throughout the course of the year finishing all types of throughout the year and in some cases two events per weekend.  The Weeple Army Running Group now almost 800 members.  From racers that are running their first 5k mud run, all the way up to the Ultra Beast and Death Racers.  They are a varied and dedicated crew.  In fact, two of the Weeple faithful are now Spartan Race employees!  Matt Trinca and Steffen “Cookie” Cook.

Ricky Ignacio, another Weeple,  started his journey with the Malibu Hurricane Heat by showing up late and taking a beating from Joe D. and the Spartan staffers but he finished Ultra Beast less than a year later.  Spartan elite racer Ang Reynolds is also a proud Weeple. We featured one of her blogs recently for Spartan Chicked Tuesday.

Six Weeples arrived at the Spartan Death Race, and four of them finished!  Not too shabby! Congratulations Weeple Army, and keep a lookout for team captain Dave, who will be traveling to a number of 2013 events around the world, paid for by Spartan Race.

Think you’re ready to put a team together?  Get signed up today.

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Joe De Sena

Dear Spartan Community, 

When I started Spartan Race along with six other extreme athletes, we had a simple goal: rip people off their couches to do what humans were made to do; run, jump, climb and sweat.  We knew how outdoor sports and adventure changed our lives so, based on the discipline and strength of the ancient Spartans, we set out to create a challenge and inspire performance. Above all, we knew we could take what we learned and change other people’s lives for the better. 

We’ve had quite a journey since those early days. And now we’re stepping it up in a big way as we embark on an incredible new partnership. Reebok is now the title sponsor for Spartan Race, which kicked off today at The Reebok Spartan Race Times Square Challenge.  

Why Reebok?  We both share the same ideals about the future of fitness and how it can transform people and communities forever. Back in 2010, we started with a small race of a few thousand people in Vermont. Even then we aimed to create a sport. In 2013, we’ll see half a million Spartans cross our finish line.  We are the leader in obstacle course racing with timing standards, global rankings, escalating distances, and cash purses. This is a sport for everyone, for all levels and all ages, from the elite athlete, to the first time participant.

Reebok shares our vision; they recognize that Spartan Race is more than just a race, it’s a lifestyle.  We both believe that through fitness, ordinary people can realize their full potential and reap the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

We now have the platform we have been looking for. The DNA of Spartan Race won’t change. We’ve just found a partner to help us continue the journey we started at that very first race in 2010.  

Thanks to everyone at Spartan Race and Reebok. It’s time to take this to the next level… together.  

Sincerely,

Joe De Sena 

Spartan Race Founder and CEO

 

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Brands Launch New Collaboration with Reebok Spartan Race Times Square Challenge” in New York City; a Celebration of America’s Newest Sport: Obstacle Racing

Canton, MA [January 17th, 2013] – Reebok, the global fitness brand, and Spartan Race, the world’s leading obstacle racing series and Outside Magazine’s Best Obstacle Race in 2012, have today announced a multi-year partnership. The collaboration marks Reebok’s commitment to one of the world’s newest and fastest growing sports – obstacle racing.

As part of the multi-year collaboration, Reebok will be the title sponsor for the global race series beginning with the first race of the season at Vail Lake Resort in Temecula, CA on January 26th and 27th, and the official apparel, footwear and accessories supplier for the Reebok Spartan Race series. In addition, the Reebok Spartan Race will be featured in the brand’s upcoming global marketing campaign – the first time obstacle racing has been featured in a major campaign. Reebok also plans to develop a range of products specifically created for the demands of Reebok Spartan Race athletes, which will be available in fall 2013.

The partnership was launched with a traffic-stopping live event in New York – The Reebok Spartan Race Times Square Challenge. Times Square’s first ever extreme obstacle race saw hundreds of contestants take part including actress/model Brooklyn Decker; former NY Giants All-Pro Tiki Barber; Spartan Race Champion Hobie Call; and Spencer Hendel, winner of the Obstacle Course event at the 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games.  The Times Square course featured a 7 ft. wall climb, a mud crawl with barbed wire, a 10 ft. high Hercules Hoist, a 75 ft. sandbag carry, and other obstacles..

The tie-up between the two brands is built on shared values about the future of fitness. Reebok’s mission is to change the way people perceive, experience and define fitness and empower them to be physically, socially and mentally fit for life. Spartan Race is the perfect partner to help spread this message. Founded in 2010, the race series expects to attract 500,000 athletes in 2013, up from 350,000 in 2012, many of whom are people looking for a new alternative to more traditional forms of fitness.  Spartan Race currently has more than 2.3 million “likes” on Facebook and is one of the fastest growing series in the sport of obstacle racing.

Spartan is a timed event series featuring races at three escalating distances in locations worldwide. The series culminates in a world championship finale with a prize fund of over $500,000. As well as the competitive elite heats, Spartan Races are set up for all levels and ages of athlete to take part and engage in a new form of fitness.

“At Reebok, we recognize that the fitness landscape is changing. More and more, people are beginning to see fitness as part of their lifestyle rather than simply an activity, said Matt O’Toole, Chief Marketing Officer at Reebok.  “Spartan Race is at the forefront of this movement. It enables people to come together to experience fitness with a community of like-minded people – to take part in something that is challenging and daunting, but at the same time, inspiring and fun. This is what makes it so rewarding, and is a large part of what is fueling the incredible growth of the sport.”

Adds Spartan Race founder Joe De Sena, “Reebok shares our vision – they think, act, and live exactly like we do down to the last detail. Both organizations believe that through fitness, ordinary people can realize their full potential and reap benefits throughout their lives.

“Reebok will help us expand globally, pursue our goals of making obstacle racing an Olympic sport, share the healthy living we promote, and rip people off their couches and do what human beings were made to do: run, jump, sweat and climb,” De Sena said.

About Reebok

Reebok International Ltd., headquartered in Canton, MA, USA, is a leading worldwide designer, marketer and distributor of sports, fitness and casual footwear, apparel and equipment. An American-inspired global brand, Reebok is a pioneer in the sporting goods industry with a rich and storied heritage in running, training and fitness. A subsidiary of the adidas Group, Reebok operates under the multiple divisions of the Reebok brand, Reebok-CCM Hockey and the Sports Licensed Division.  Reebok is the exclusive outfitter of CrossFit and the Reebok CrossFit Games and main event partner and official apparel and footwear supplier for the 2013 Red Bull X-Alps. For more information, visit Reebok at www.reebok.com. Or, discover Reebok at the following locations: http://reesha.re/plus; http://facebook.com/reebok; http://twitter.com/reebok; and http://youtube.com/reebok

About Reebok Spartan Race

Reebok Spartan Race, voted Outside Magazine’s Best Obstacle Race in 2012, is the world’s leading obstacle racing series and the first of its kind to have global rankings. With 350,000 participants in 2012 and 60 events planned for 2013, Reebok Spartan Race is making this one of the fastest growing sports in the world. Reebok Spartan Race is a timed event series featuring races at four escalating distances in locations worldwide that culminate in a World Championship Finale with cash and prizes for the champions – with a half-million dollars in cash and prizes awarded in 2012 alone. While featuring competitive elite heats, Reebok Spartan Races are for athletes of all levels and abilities and are geared toward ripping people off their couches and into the outdoors.

You’ll Know at the Finish Line – A Spartan Guide to the Sport of Obstacle Racing, a new e-book from Spartan Race co-founders Joe De Sena and Andy Weinberg that inspires readers to find and unleash their inner warrior, is available for free on the company’s website.

Go to http://www.spartanrace.com/ for more information, a schedule of events or to register for a Reebok Spartan Race. For videos, please visit www.spartanrace.tv.

Spartan Race

Alfred Schreiber

Mobile: (646) 320 -5142

Jeff Blumenfeld

Direct: (203) 655-1600

Mobile: (203) 326-1200

jeff@blumenfeldpr.com

Reebok

Dan Sarro

Direct: (781) 401-4443

Daniel.sarro@reebok.com

Richard Barker

Direct: +1.646.619.2805

Mobile: +1.917.287.9992

Richard.barker@mcsaatchi.com

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by Carrie Adams

Not that you need 500,000 reasons to love Spartan Races  but they sure help!  In 2012, one of our most popular blog posts outlined our cash and prizes on the year.  Far and away, Spartan was the leader in the Obstacle Racing pack with our payouts for Champions and competitors.

Spartan Race was living large in 2012.  So large, we finally quantified it! Spartan Race HQ was proud to have given away $500,000 in cash and prizes!   Born out of the Death Race and growing rapidly since 2010 Spartan has continually worked hard to make our mark in the growing sport of Obstacle Racing.  With 34 global events in the season of 2012, and recognized as Outside Magazine’s “Best Obstacle Race” for the same year, Spartan Race, is building the sport of obstacle racing as the competition for the complete athlete – fast, strong, agile, with endless endurance, and strong of mind, body and character.  There is no doubt that Spartan is cutting edge with the world’s first and only global ranking system, an escalating race series from 5K to the first ever marathon(plus) distance race with the introduction of the Ultra Beast we worked hard to reward our Spartan community – handsomely!

When the season ended, the leader board had Cody Moat, who also won the  Trail National Marathon in Moab, UT on November 3rd, 2012, solidifying his position as an all-around athlete.  It came down to a fraction of points with the final tally for the men, Moat beating resident Spartan Champion Hobie Call by an extremely narrow margin.  On the women’s side, positioned at the top spot on the was former professional X-Terra athlete Jenny Tobin, with a first place point’s finish.  With 2013 already in full swing, check out the current points standings HERE.  To read the full details on the cash and prizes given away in 2012, click on the link HERE. 

We’ll be giving you even more reasons in 2013!  Our good friends at Navy Federal Credit Union have graciously agreed to sponsor the prize money at six Spartan Events in 2013.  The breakdown will be:

$2,000 1st Place

$1,000 2nd Place

$750 3rd Place

These prizes will be awarded in Arizona on February 9th, Las Vegas on April 6th, Burnet, Texas May 18, Washington, August 3rd, and the Mid-Atlantic August 24th.

More cash and prize updates coming soon!  You could win BIG with Spartan Race.  Don’t wait.  Register today.

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by Carrie Adams

When we announced early 2012 that we’d be having the world’s first marathon(ish) distance Obstacle Course Race, the response was overwhelming.  Application only, thousands of race resumes flooded HQ with runners wanting to be a part of history.  When all was said and done, we had a line-up of Spartan Ultra-Beast participants that ranged from National Champion Trail Runners and Olympic athletes to first time marathoners.

When all was said and done, 386 were accepted (86 more than originally planned) to compete and on race day 345 would toe the line, 321 as individuals and 24 in eight separate three person teams.  Rules were laid out and it was decided at HQ that athletes could compete in both for cash prizes with the assumption that any Spartan tough enough to win both races deserved both cash prizes.  $5,000 was up for grabs for the top spot of the single and double loop Beast and Ultra Beast for top male and female, $2,000 would go to second place and $1,000 for third.  On the day, $50,000 would be handed out in cash prizes.  Other awards were also presented, making it the highest payday for any single obstacle race ever held.

When several of the Ultra Beast runners wandered off course, the time cut-offs were backed up so allow the runners to finish

the over 27 mile course.  Running as much as six miles extra, some were pulled from the course before they could finish when the dark and rain made it impossible for them to continue.  And when the day was over, 162 finished and 69 of those finished in less than 11 hours.  The Ultra Beast medals are special edition and will never be re-created.  They’re larger with a special ribbon, oh, and they glow in the dark.  That’s pretty badass.  We shared photos on our wall all day with breaking stories on Saturday that you can see HERE.

Some of the most compelling stories on the day were of those who DNF’d the course.  For those who missed cut-offs, dropped out due to injury, excuse, or exhaustion, they shared their candid stories with us that you can read HERE.

Results:

Men’s Ultra Beast Top Finishers:

Cody Moat – 7:01:26

Junyong Pak – 7:29:38

Brakken Kraker- 7:38:47

Female Ultra Beast Top Finishers:

Claude Godbout – 8:09:32

Amelia Boone – 8:35:55

Jenny Tobin – 9:00:46

Want to read the rest of the race report from the Ultra Beast?  Click HERE.   And if you want the Ultra Beast by the numbers including stats on fastest and slowest times, transitions in the pit, and average laps… click HERE. 

Not to be outdone, the Vermont Beast was the true World Championship of the 2012 season.  The monster Ultra Beast certainly captured a lot of attention, but the crowning jewel on the season was wrapped up in the Beast where a lot was laid on the line by those brave enough to race for the cash.

One look at the results board and one thing stands out immediately.  Hobie Call’s name is NOT at the top.  In our review of the male competitors coming to the race that we posted last week HERE, several names were visible at the top of the leader board that we predicted would be.  It would ultimately be Cody Moat’s day two times over, taking the top spot and besting Hobie Call in the Beast (one loop) and then continuing on and winning the Ultra Beast (two loops).  Call, nursing a hamstring injury was second on the day, finishing almost five minutes after Moat.  Other high finishers included Brakken Kraker who took third, Ben Nephew who captured fourth, and Sebastian Monette who snagged fifth.  We talk more about the Ultra Beast, HERE in this blog post published yesterday.

On the women’s side it was a tight race!  We previewed the ladies last

week HERE. The top spot went to Canadian biathlete and Obstacle Racing phenom Claude Godbout, who, like Moat, went on to a second loop capturing both race victories!  Godbout took not only top spot for females, but 7th overall, beating all but six men on the course.  Godbout was our top place finisher in the 2011 Vermont Beast last year and was able to reclaim her first place status.  Amelia Boone was a notable racer as well in Vermont.  The Death Race veteran swept in from the windy city of Chicago and took second place in the Beast and the Ultra Beast.  Like Godbout, she out paced many of our top men, her 14thoverall in the single loop Beast performance landed only 12 men total ahead of her.  Boone was followed by Ella Kociuba in third and Jenny Tobin in fourth a battle at the finish line.

In addition to the elite Beast heat Nearly 6,000 competitors and spectators from across the U.S. and several foreign countries representing every walk of life, age and stage and varying degrees of athletic abilities converged on Killington, VT to tackle the 2012 Spartan Race World Championship. Consisting of a Beast (one loop) 13 + and a first of its kind Ultra Beast (two loop) 26+ mile race, presented by Dial For Men on Sat., September 22nd and Sunday, September 23rd it capped off our season with one hell of an Obstacle Race with $50,000 being handed out before the day was over for the top finishers.  The most EVER given out at an Obstacle Race event.

The Ultra Beast will be making an appearance in the 2013 season.  Stay tuned, details coming soon!  In the meantime? Can’t wait to race again?  We understand.  Click HERE and find your next Spartan finish line.

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by Margaret Schlachter, guest blogger

2010 may have been the start of my Spartan journey when I was one of the original Spartans racing in the first Spartan Race in early 2010. 2011 marked my first podium and an invitation to join Spartan Chicked from the beginning, but it’s 2012 that will forever go down in the history books.

2012 was an incredible year, little did I know that in June when I started my 2012 season I would race nineteen official times and a few laps to help out, amass seven podium finishes and never out of the top 15. Little did I know I would travel throughout the country, race countless miles, make lasting friendships, and change careers all because of Spartan Race. I could write novels about the year but instead condensed it down to my Top 10 Moments in Spartan for 2012.

Top 10 Moments in Spartan Race of 2012

10.       The Perfect Race – finishing my first race with a single penalty burpee in Amesbury, MA Sprint.

9.         Finishing 3rdboth days in the Mid-West Super Spartan. It was an incredible weekend where two great races happened.

Margaret Schlachter and Juliana Sproles

8.         Watching the Spartan Chicked movement grow over 9,000 members. We started with a dozen women brought together with an idea by Carrie Adams and today it’s grown beyond what any could have imagined a year and a half ago.

7.         A Book Deal – Because of OCR and Spartan Race I am working on my first book due out in Spring 2014, dedicated to getting more people into racing and getting over the hurdles that stand in the way.

6.         Racing in Fenway Park – I went to college in Boston and that’s when I first got into baseball. Racing in Fenway was a surreal experience, hugging the Green Monster, burpees on the warming track, and seeing parts of the park otherwise closed to the public was priceless!

5.         The People – The Spartan Community is unlike any other in sport. The bonds and friendships formed are closer than many friendships I have had for years. Some of my biggest competitors are my best friends. The conversations on the trails during races are what sometimes got me to the finish.

4.         DNF’ing the Death Race after 25 hours of racing – More was learned in about myself in that DNF than I could have ever known.

3.         Finishing the Ultra Beast – it was more than a race for me, a goodbye to Killington, Vermont where I started my fitness journey. My last time on “my” mountain before moving to Utah, it was a race that transcended the rest.

2.         Chris Davis – Meeting and helping Chris to train for the Vermont Beast was an experience that not only allowed me to help train another Spartan but more importantly I got a great friend out of it. The first time he got over the 8ft wall in my backyard is a treasured memory of 2012

1.         Turning “pro” – In July, I quit my day job and simultaneously became the first female professional obstacle course racer. My life is my website, Dirt in Your Skirt, racing and training.

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by Carrie Adams

We’re back with another installment of some of our biggest stories of 2012!  Not surprisingly, many of our top 10 blog posts dealt with, what else, training and nutrition!  Spartans commit to a healthy way of living and it was clear that our community was paying attention and getting it done.

Some of our biggest blog posts of the year were centered around how to get fit and how to eat right.  In addition to providing resources on our blog, at Spartan HQ, we are trying to make it even easier to get these tips delivered to you, so if you want our daily WOD delivered directly to your inbox for FREE, click HERE.

Here are our three biggest training posts of 2012!

Breaking down the Warm-Up: As our own Spartan Coach manager Jeff Godin, Ph.D. CSCS always says, “Always start your workout with a warm-up.” Although flexibility and unrestricted movement may be important for long term injury prevention, static stretching and flexibility exercises are not an important part of a warm-up. Stretching moves a joint through its full range of motion, however it does this passively and does very little to increase the temperature of muscle. The warm-up should be active and move the joints through their full range of motion. The warm-up progresses from low intensity towards high intensity. For some, the warm-up may actually have them gassed by the end. The benefits of a warm-up include; increased tissue temperature, tissue compliance, energy metabolism, movement efficiency and reduced tissue stiffness. The warm-up can also be used to reinforce fundamental movement mechanics related to speed and agility. The warm-up should emphasize proper foot placement to promote acceleration and prevent deceleration.  Read the rest of the post by clicking HERE.

Spartan Ab 300:  In this post, Dr. Jeff gives a great ab workout for the ages!  300 reps never felt so good!  Click HERE for the full workout and breakdown.

Buck Furpee Day:  The burpee is quintessentially Spartan in that there is nothing wasted in the activity.   It carries with it efficiency,  and, therefore, concentrated effectiveness.  When you train, focus on training – don’t over-complicate things.  When in doubt, do burpees.  How did Buck Furpee Day go down?  Click HERE and find out.

Spartan Race Nutrition:

It should come as no surprise that training, while a critical piece of the Spartan equation, it isn’t everything.  You need the right fuel to get that Spartan body and keep moving!   Whether your goals are to lose weight, get lean, or perform better, nutrition has to be a part of your plan.  And if you’re not sure where to start and you want some help from the Spartan team, we have good news!  Just like our daily WOD’s we offer FREE daily Food tips and recipes as well.  Simply click HERE to get signed up for yours!

Eat to Live: Spartan Performance Nutrition: Not sure what to eat the night before a race?  This popular blog post solves that problem with ease!  Our own Spartan Champion and Chick Rose-Marie Jarry provides her favorite recipe for a pre-race trio.

Click HERE for the full recipe.

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Pacing the Long Run

by Jeff Godin, Ph.D., CSCS, creator of www.spartancoaches.com

For many people the thought of the long run seems daunting.  I am not sure why, it is one of my favorite workouts.  The pace is pretty relaxed, conversational, and I usually get to look around and enjoy the scenery instead of focusing on effort. Most people actually run their long runs to fast. To achieve the maximal benefits, the pace should be slow, a lot slower than most would think.

I have discussed the lactate threshold before. The lactate threshold is a measure of exercise intensity. The long run should be conducted at a pace where there is no lactate accumulation, the muscles are 100% relying on aerobic metabolism, and utilizing fat as the primary source of fuel.  It is ideal to have your lactate threshold measured and utilized to calculate training intensities.  However, this may not be feasible or practical for everyone. The next best method is to run based off of your target heart rate.

The first step is to estimate or actually measure your maximal heart rate. To estimate your maximal heart rate use the formula 220 – age. Maximal heart rate declines, on average, about one beat per year. Unfortunately this formula can be off by as much as 12 bpm for some individuals. For example my predicted maximum is 175 bpm, but when I am in the middle of some serious hill training it gets as high as 190 bpm.  Therefor my actual is closer to 190 than it is 175. To actually measure your maximal heart rate, try a graded exercise test. This can be done on a treadmill or on a large hill. You will need a heart rate monitor.  If you are on treadmill, warm-up for 10 minutes then increase your running speed up to a comfortably hard pace (not quite out of breath, could carry on a conversation but would rather not). Increase the grade on the treadmill every 3 minutes until you cannot continue. Outside on a hill, run up the hill at a moderate pace, then repeat the hill at a slightly faster pace. Continue until you can’t run the hill any faster. In both cases, note the highest heart rate achieved during the test.  NOTE: Before engaging in maximal exercise it is always best to check with your physician first to make sure that it is safe for you .

Now that you have either your estimated maximal heart rate or measured  maximal heart rate you will calculate your target heart rate for your long runs. Long runs should be run at an intensity that corresponds to about 65-70% of your maximal heart rate.  For me, that corresponds to a long run training heart rate of 123-133 bpm.

Don’t be fooled by the intensity of the workout, it is about putting in the miles and getting in time on your feet. You have other workouts during the week that will include work at higher intensities.  Enjoy the long run for what it is:  a long distance, moderate effort.

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