WOD Fundamentals:  Beginner Friendly

by Andi Hardy

Elite Obstacle Racer, Spartan Champion Indiana, New York & Montreal


Even the longest journey must begin where you stand.



So, you’re new to Spartan Race.  You’ve never done anything like it.  You’re not sure what to expect or how exactly to prepare? You may have checked out the Spartan Workouts of the Day (WOD), but found them too intimidating to even begin.

The purpose of this blog is to let you know that whatever your current athletic abilities are, you can utilize the Spartan WODs effectively to finish your first Spartan Race.  They are always written with the beginner in mind, regardless of how intense they look.  I was able to go from complete Newbie to winning Spartan Races by simply following the Spartan WODs as best as I could.

It wasn’t so very long ago that I was in your shoes. In fact, it was less than 12 months ago that I signed up for my first Spartan Race, a Sprint, near my home in Atlanta. I wasn’t a runner, I wasn’t a Cross-fitter, I wasn’t really much of an athlete at the time. I had just completed my first ever 3-mile mud run after only running three miles/day for two weeks. Seriously, I had NOT trained for it and I completed it. I loved it so much; I wanted to do another, but a more challenging obstacle course race.

Spartan Race was the buzz of the mud run, so when I got to my iPhone I googled it right away. “I’ve got to try this one,” I thought to myself. I signed up the next day for the next race in my area.  It was four and half months away. I would NOT be able to not train and finish a Spartan Race.  So throughout the next few months I studied the Spartan Race website, watched race videos, followed the Facebook posts and pictures, and most importantly, signed up for the Spartan WOD.

Could I complete the WODs when I started training?   Nope.  I had to scale the workouts down to my level.  I would try and do all the components of the workout, and do them in order, but I would adjust the repetitions and sets so that I could ‘do’ the WOD to the best of my abilities.

Spartan WOD

Andi’s (as Newbie) WOD

1 Mile Warm up Jog 5 minute warm up jog or 2-3 minute jump rope
Main Set (repeat 3-8 times) Main Set (repeat 2 – 6 times)
400 Meters hard run then 30 burpees 200 meters hard run then 15 burpees
1-2 minutes recover 1-2 minutes recover
30 burpees, then 400 meter hard run 15 burpees, then 200 meter hard run
1-2 minutes recover 1-2 minutes recover
10 minute cool down jog and stretch 5-10 minute cool down walk/jog and stretch for at least 10 additional minutes


By attempting the WODs every day I grew stronger and more confident. The variety of workouts helped prepare me by working different muscles and getting me to do different tasks that I would not have otherwise considered part of training.

Still asking, “Can I do this?” No fears, my friend. You don’t have to be super competitive or in ultra-shape to complete a Spartan Race. What you do have to have is a sense of adventure, a desire to get a little dirty, and a mindset to have a lot of fun.

The first step is to simply sign up. Spartan Race has so many races, there is bound to be one near you. And if not, why not take a little trip, it’ll be worth it. Sign up then the rest will fall in place. By signing up, you will have the most important goal set and something to look forward to.  You can the circle and star it on your calendar or start making travel plans, but also you can start making and implementing training plans.

So maybe your goal is to just finish the Spartan Race. Perhaps your goal is to compete the whole race without walking. Or possibly you want to place top 10 in your age division or in your heat. Whatever it is, set your goal, it will help you to prepare for YOUR race. Once you know what you expect from yourself, you can then work toward meeting that expectation with your training. Use the Spartan WOD to help you prepare. You don’t have to do every burpee, or every mile. Modify the WOD to fit your goals and what feels best for you. You won’t regret trying a Spartan Race. It will remain one of your favorite memories for life. Who knows? You might even find yourself signing up for the next one that very day.


Register now for a Spartan Race near you.

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6 Responses

  1. avatar

    Can I follow the WODs and get good overall fitness results? It looks like I could, I’m just sick of trying to do my own program. My only concern is there might not be enough strength work, maybe will add 2 days a week of basic compound lifts and the rest of the time do the WOD

    • avatar


      I am preparing for my first Spartan Race, but I can tell you these workouts are intense. I am a three time P90X grad, an X2 (P90X2) grad, and just finished Insanity. Sunday 11/4/12 WOD kicked my butt. You may feel like using only your body weight might not be as challenging as pumping iron, but just remember this race about agility as well as strength. You’ll be pulling yourself AND 15 pounds of wet, heavy mud up that rope. You’ll be dragging yourself AND your mud pack AND a 50+ pound block of cement around the course. Get yourself where you can flip a tractor tire over several times. Many gyms have those now. Be creative. You can have fun with the workouts and still push yourself. AROO!!!

  2. avatar

    This was encouraging. I have also been modifying the WOD, and learning a lot about those burpees, especially if I cannot make a challenge !!!
    I’m gonna look for a tractor tire now too !!!

  3. avatar

    When diong burpees what is a target number i souuld shoot for
    also what can i do so i dont get so winded after i finish a round of burpees???? let me know thank you John roger.

  4. avatar

    i would shoot for 50 or so burpees. just keep doing them. the only way to get over being winded is to do alot of burpees. ALOT of them!!!!!

  5. avatar

    Is their somewhere on the site that explains all these workout exercise words such as burpee’s? Never heard of that before…thanks

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