Today’s fitness challenge is slightly different to my normal posts as today you’ll be hearing from my husband and his perspective on how to train for adventure / obstacle races (Think Spartan race, Warrior, Impi Challenge)
I recently participated in the first ever Spartan Race in Korea and I loved it. Having finished in the top 20 out of about +2000 competitors I realized that it was my training schedule that got me there. I’ve done my fair share of road and trail races but NOTHING compares do doing an adventure / obstacle race.
Well, everything. Let’s start with the “why”.
– It’s the type of race that you actually want to talk about afterwards.
– Not only is the vibe amazing pre- and post race but you actually get to do something fun that will put you out of your comfort zone.
– A memory is only as good as the people you share it with, so make sure you do this with friends to really experience the build up and the feeling of accomplishment at the end.
I’m not trying to discourage road running or trail running, I still do both. It’s just that those types of races are focused on the individual and on one discipline i.e. running. Obstacle races bring people together, it unites us and that’s why you need to get out there and do it.
How do you train for it?
First off, you don’t need a gym. Secondly, it’s still a race so expect a fair bit of running. The running during an obstacles race is almost always stop-start, there’s hardly ever a clear stretch of a few kilometers. This means that building momentum isn’t really possible.
How to conquer this?
1) Do court sprints, ideally on a sports field. Aim to keep your pace as fast as possible and gradually increase in your overall distance as the week’s progress.
2) Base fitness level. This means going for the odd 5km to 10km run at an easy pace is just as important as doing those short sprints.
– Warm up before doing any strenuous exercise. I can’t stress this enough! The last thing you want is to get an injury 2 or 3 weeks prior to the race.
– Stretching! Once again, doing various stretches (after training) is key if you want to avoid injuries and muscle stiffness. I always stretch after a run.
-Do squats and then some more. I always used to battle with knee injuries but since I’ve added squats do my training schedule my knees haven’t complained once.
3) It also involves using your upper bodyso you’ll need to focus some training on developing that strength.
l Burpees (This is a fantastic all round exercise that will not only increase your anaerobic fitness level but may come in handy should you fail to complete certain obstacles i.e. failure to complete an obstacle in the Spartan Race means you have to do 30 burpees)
l Push-ups (ladies you can rest on your knees)
l Sit-ups (I thought you said upper body strength? Having a strong core [abs] makes all the difference when you’re trying to combine your lower and upper body to complete certain obstacles)
l Pull-ups (I’ll be honest and say that this is the part of training that will be the most difficult to do. I’m not asking you do become a beast and to do 30 pull-ups…that will just put me to shame haha. No, start by just hanging on for as long as you can)
How much time should you give yourself to train?
That depends on 2 things: How intense the race is and how well you want to do. As a general rule of thumb I will advise to set aside 8 – 12 weeks for proper training. This seems like such a long time but trust me, your body will thank you.
Let’s do a quick recap of the exercises required:
1) Court sprints (try to do this at least once if not twice a week)
2) Normal runs (2 – 3 times a week)
3) Burpees (start with 10 reps twice a week and add 10 every week)
4) Push-ups (do at least 10-20 reps 3 times a week)
5) Sit-ups (20 reps at least 3 times a week)
6) Pull-ups (start by just hanging on for as long as possible and do your best to beat your previous record)
Remember, goals are only achievable if you can measure them, so record your daily training and aim to improve no matter what it takes. Some days you’ll lack motivation, have a clear reason as to why you are training for this race. Don’t do it alone, get a training buddy to not only hold you accountable but to encourage each other to reach new heights. Always keep it fun and reward yourself with rest days.
Please feel free to contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) should you wish to have a tailored fitness plan.