The Spartan Race series starts out with a 5k, you then work your way up through the Olympic distance (Super) then to the Ultra distance (our Spartan Beast). If you finish all 3 distances in the same year you have completed the Spartan Challenge. Step one is signing up. Step two is telling all your friends so you are on the hook, Step three is following our WOD’s and eating healthy!

Here is one Spartan’s way of getting prepared.  Robert Decillis raced with us in Tuxedo, NY is racing in Boston as well as Staten Island in Septebmer.  How are your getting ready for the Spartan Challenge?


Unconventional Training

by Robert Decillis

Unconventional physical challenges call for unconventional training methods. One does not approach an obstacle course race like the Spartan Race as they would a Sunday run in the park. If the challenge ahead is one of spontaneity, the unknown, dirt, uneven ground, fire, water and the sweat of the earth, then your training should be just as fierce.

Training for success in races that have earned the name Spartan takes both conventional as well as “off the beaten path” components. Carrying a bucket of rocks up a boulder filled mountain is not something that you can train for by hitting the stair-master or heavy weightlifting alone. The same machine may help you build stamina for part of that obstacle while the weight training will build useful strength and power. Now, adding some boulder carries on a sandy beach may add a third and priceless piece to your training.

The key is to be open minded, to listen and read, learn and heed the advice of those who have completed in these races victoriously as well as those who have professionally trained them. Pull as many training ideas as there are competitors from all fitness modalities who show up on race day with their A game.

When you are designing a training program there are a couple of things that you want to take into consideration. First, you want to design a program tailored to your specific needs, weaknesses and strengths. Second, you want to take into account how many days a week you have to train and add your recovery days into the program.

To insure this being done correctly when I design a training program I like to use a four-day template. A four-day template allows you to train for the varied aspects you will need during a race. A four-day week allows training for strength, power, endurance and what I like to call obstacle course training. Strength and power training is the base of your program. Using compound movements such as deadlifts, squats and cleans help you develop the amount of strength and power needed for efficiency in the more unconventional types of training needed for these races. Even adding your children into the mix of your training can make it more enjoyable avoiding conflicts in scheduling and teach your kids how to stay active.

Endurance training, both aerobic and anaerobic, should have a place in your program. Anaerobic sessions can be performed after strength an power training days. Aerobic sessions like long distance runs on trails should be a day of their own.

The last day of a program should be a day for unconventional training. More obstacle specific training like carrying rocks uphill or stadium stairs, training on the beach with logs or sprinting in the water, pulling and dragging sleds, running with five gallon buckets filled with water and creating your own obstacle course at the local playground can all serve as ways to enhance your training and take you to the next level in these events.

Training everyday can lead to overtraining. If you are over trained, you will not gain the benefits of your hard work and increase the likelihood of injury putting your training and racing on hold.

Remember, when you are competing in unconventional athletic feats, train unconventionally.

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11 Responses

  1. avatar

    howmany days do you recomend to rest after the four days of working out

  2. avatar

    Hey there

    Antbody out there training for the event ???
    I am based in north London and I would love to find somebody to tarin with . Doing it by yourself is not always the best idea …

  3. avatar

    I am thinking about doing the Spartan sprint in Washington mid-June as a late birthday present to myself. This will be my first Spartan event. Any tips on training? From all the videos I’ve watched, it looks pretty intense. Any help would be appreciated! Thank you in advance.

    • avatar

      I’ve signed up for the PNW even 6/16/2012 as well. I can’t find any good literature on training for events like these, but I have a solid trainer I go to regularly who has been training me in a mix of crossfit and unconventional exercise (sled pulling, tire flips, etc.). I’d highly recommend her if you live around the Bellevue area.

  4. avatar

    …anyone in india..for the next years events…

  5. avatar

    I just completed the one in New york today. I can tell you that first thing you want to do is find what your weak at. Then once you found what your weak at, make sure to work on it till it’s stronger then your other muscle groups. Secondly instead of doing the gym stuff like I did, try to run outdoors, mostly up hills. The majority of the race today was all uphill. Try carrying a 40 lb sand bag up a muddy hill while running a far distance. Id suggest doing some pull ups too. There is quite a bit of upper body strength needed, and unfortunately for me my lower body was lacking. Id also suggest some balance training. Whether you walk on a beam or across elevated planks. Id also suggest heavy tire flipping for long distances. Whenever your worn out and need a break, just think the spartan race is going to be harder then you can train yourself for. You need three things in the spartan race, strength, agility and speed. Big muscle head guys you see in the gym, wouldn’t stand a chance.

  6. avatar

    Hi and Happy New Year.

    I would like to join this race, but need someone to train with me. Is there anyone out there that lives in RDP or St. Leonard that is thinking of doing this race? If so, I would like a training partner. I live in RDP.



  7. avatar

    I’ve started training for the upcoming Spartan race in New England in August (I live in the Boston area). I’m 47 years old, I’ve dropped 40# and have been in the gym for the last 3 months. I have also done local “boot camps” during the non-winter months. I’ve been doing some research on properly training for this race and have read a lot about how to “specifically” train for this type of race. I was wondering if there is anyone who has competed in these type of races who would be interested in training together.

    • avatar

      I am considering the race in New England in August as well. I have been a regular at the gym for the last six months, but have never trained for anything like this before. I would consider if it fits into my schedule.

  8. avatar

    I am a very fit 14 year old I’m always mistaken for an 17 year old I’m wondering how mutch does it take to be ready for these races?

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