by Carrie Adams
It’s long been the Spartan message that training for Spartan Races ensures that runners are Spartan Ready on race day. Whether you are coming to the race to compete or just finish, training is an integral part of the process! We offer our own WOD’s that focus on strength, endurance, and power – all elements necessary for success on the challenging Spartan courses. You can sign up to get them in your inbox HERE.
When it comes to Spartan training, we often hear from the endurance community and the endurance experts in the field. Recently, Endurance expert Rich Airey who gave us his insight into how to best prepare for a Spartan Race…and not surprisingly it all comes down to goal-setting.
I was recently ask how I would go about training for a Spartan Race? My response was, “how well do you want to do?” When it comes to endurance racing your goals will determine how specific your training needs to be. Training to win and training to finish are two completely different animals but regardless of your goals there are a few things to focus on.
Priority number one should be your run training and the length of your Spartan Race will determine the volume you should run. I wouldn’t recommend attempting a 12+ mile race over mountainous terrain on limited run training, not if you enjoy the experience. If your intention is to suffer then by all mean neglect your run training. Obstacles or not the good majority of the event is still running I would recommend adding technique drills, intervals (long & short, time & distance based), hill training (don’t forget to practice going fast down too) tempo/threshold runs, long runs as well as obstacle specific runs. By no means do I expect you to incorporate these 5 things into your training every week but it would be good to do 2-3 every week and the technique drills can be used as a warm up for your run training. The more efficient you become the easier it will be getting from obstacle to obstacle.
Several friends completed the Super Spartan in Temecula CA and many others that attempted the Death Race in VT. They all used CrossFit or some form of high intensity functional movements mixed with max effort lifting as the strength program to prepare for the obstacles. They were doing so 3-5 x’s a week. The running and the terrain is what they were most challenged by.
Your background and your goals will determine how specific and how demanding your training will need to be in order to insure success as you take on the challenge of an endurance event like the Spartan Race. Like it or not, running is the bulk of the event, so you may want to invest a good amount of training to the run. Not just head out the door and go run, add some specificity to your running. Don’t neglect your strength program either. Finding a balance between both will be the key to your success. No matter what you do be ready to suffer this isn’t your local 5k/10 that’s for sure.
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[Editor's Note: Guest blogger, Rich Airey is a running and strength coach originally from Point Pleasant, NJ. As an Endurance Biased Strength and Conditioning coach living in San Diego, CA, Rich travels the United States educating on running mechanics, strength and mobility as well as injury prevention and nutrition.
As a private coach, his clients range from those seeking improved fitness to USA Olympic Trials Qualifiers. Rich was a Special Education teacher and has coached high school runners for 10 years, 24 of them earning All-American status under his guidance. While racing for Monmouth University, Rich was the NortheastConference steeplechase champion and held the 10,000m school record. He continues to race extensively, competing in 5ks, marathons, ultras.]