by Michael Mills

Last week, I was introduced to Sparta and my quest to take on the Conyer’s Georgia Race on March 9, 2013.  Notably, I’ll be taking on the majority of the course on my hands and knees.  As a T-12 paraplegic, that is my best option for completing what I have been told is a grueling course.  It all started with seeing a picture of Todd Love and Team X-T.R.E.M.E.’s efforts in Lessburg that made me want to take on this epic challenge.  That means I have to get prepared.  So, for my first blog post, I thought I would just give you a little bit of info on how I am training.

Being a disabled athlete, I get the question a lot, “how do you train for a Spartan Race?” As an established wheelchair racer, I knew I needed a plan, I knew I needed coaching and I knew I needed advice with this sport I knew nothing about except from what I could find on YouTube. I needed help, so I started branching out to other Athletes like Ella Anne Kociuba, an already accomplished Spartan Racer and the only athlete by , Hobie Call whom needs no introduction, Andi Hardy, Stacey Shuler and Steve Power, All gave me quick little tips and advice on how to train. I started training but with racing, I knew I needed a plan of attack. I needed some more coaching. So, after searching and getting information from these great athletes, I contacted Travlete and that is how I came in contact with Adrian Bijanada and intern he helped me find an amazing coach named Adam Lake. Adam is a NYC Firefighter, Ironman Coach, Strength Trainer and a coach at in New York and he was eager to try something new with me. We talked a little and he soon built me a baseline training program to get me started with my Spartan training. Adam took the time to put himself in my shoes to design my workout. After receiving my workout, I went straight to work.

So, this leads me to the question of “how do you train for a Spartan Race?” I train like any other true Spartan would. I see something and I go after it. I adapt to any obstacle I see and I overcome it. For example, I am going to be crawling for a better part of three miles in the Spartan Sprint, so I spend time on the treadmill at Anytime Fitness in Covington, GA and I crawl on my hands and knees for 3 minutes and off of the treadmill for 1 minute. While I am off of the treadmill for 1 minute, I am actually doing a push or pull exercise like pushups, pull-ups, or dips and then I am back on the treadmill for another 3 minutes. I repeat this exercise for 30 to 60 minutes, depending on my training schedule. Other days, I am outside flipping a tractor tire, dragging cinder blocks, climbing ropes and rolling around in my hilly neighborhood with 40lbs strapped to my back and my Elevation training mask on from to simulate high altitude training. I am currently training twice a day, three days on and one day off. All of the Spartan training along with the racing chair training is building the strength and endurance I will need for my Spartan Sprint.

[Editor's Note: Michael Mills  is a T12 paraplegic, the victim of a head on collision with a drunk driver in 1993 and though he’s been tackling wheelchair racing since 1996, competing in over 160 road and track races in the twelve years since, even representing the United States three separate times, he saw the Spartan Race series and realized it was the next challenge he wanted.  He'll be doing the Georgia Spartan Sprint on 3/9/13.  Want to stay tuned in to Michael’s journey? He’ll be regularly posting his story and training on our blog in a series we’ll be calling “Chasing Michael Mills.” Follow his facebook page. Want to support his cause? Check out Spartan Sprint for Berts Big Adventure | Michael Mills’ Fundraiser on CrowdRise. ]

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