The Spartan Race isn’t an amateur mud run. It’s Sprint, Super, Beast and Ultra are going to break you. I went through 3 of them. Here is a finisher photo of my last one (I’m the middle dude):
Not only are these events going to test you physically, but they’ll do it even more mentally so if you’re not prepared, and you’re thinking of trying this race, you’re going to get some “life” saving tips here.
Having done 3 of them, I’ve come up with 10 workouts you need to practice to get yourself ready for the big day:
10 workouts that prepared me properly for the Spartan Race:
Note: These 10 workouts helped me for the Sprint, Super and The Beast, the 3 events I did.
If there is a single obstacle you cannot complete in this race, as punishment, you are supposed to do 30 burpees, each time. And while this punishment is reserved for people who are running the Ultra (the longest and hardest of the Spartan Race events), it’s still something you should be physically capable of doing.
You won’t have to do them if you can pass an obstacle (or avoid being seen by a supervisor), but I recommend you do 30 burpees every day just in case. It’ll get you used to the exercise and it’ll also strengthen your arms and core so this workout will help you through the other courses.
2) Pull ups.
Even if you hate them, you have to do them. There are a lot of obstacles that involve climbing (walls for example) and having good grip that pull ups are going to prepare you for. If you’re bad at pull ups, start by doing 1 a day. If you can easily do 10 everyday, you’ll be prepared.
3) Rope climbing.
Pull ups are also going to help you with rope climbing which is a big part of the Spartan Race, but if you have a chance to climb a rope, you have to practice it. Rope climbing is a lot harder than doing pull ups but if you can climb it at least twice, your upper body is going to be very strong.
4) Monkey bars.
There are obstacles on the courses where you will need to swing from one pole to another and monkey bar climbing is going to help you with this. Kids do it on the playground all the time and I actually had to go to one of these playgrounds to practice it.
5) Push ups.
There will be parts of this race where you will need to go through mud a lot and use your hands and push your body through it and some workouts where you will also need to do push ups. You should do 50 push ups a day to prepare.
6) Weight lifting.
A few areas of the Spartan Race will have you carrying heavy things: Rocks, gravel, wooden logs and they will weight a lot. Practice lifting kettle bells or dumbbells and walking with them for a few minutes. If you can, walk up and down the stairs with them. A lot of the weight lifting areas will have you walking down hill and up.
7) Running up cliffs, stair master or just running up the stairs.
The hardest areas in the Spartan Race were the ones where you had to walk uphill for a long time. It kills your thighs so if you practice these workouts, you’re going to do better. Make sure to have a foam roller to stretch out the thighs before and after the race.
After I experienced the Super event and how that killed my thighs, I didn’t make the same mistake when I did the Beast. And let me tell you, by climbing the stairs multiple times everyday, not only did it help me finish the Beast, but my thighs did NOT hurt the next day.
8) Jogging long distances and trail running.
There actually won’t be a lot of long distance running in this race because the terrain changes very quickly so most people won’t be able to run distances, but you should get your body used to running to increase your stamina by both jogging and running through woods and places where the terrain changes very quickly.
An hour long jog like this every other day will help you during the race.
In other words: Do trail running and if you do, wear these shoes, which are the ones I also wore for at least 3 mud run events I did, including Tough Mudder. They are awesome both both trial running and mud runs in general.
9) Practicing jumping onto walls and hopping up.
There’s a few walls you’ll have to jump over in the event, but some of them require that you hop of the wall first and aim up to reach the top, then use your upper body to pull yourself up and over it. A lot of people get scared of this area because they have never felt what it’s like. Practice it at home or outside, hop of gates, stone walls to get used to it. Also practice your grip.
10) Practice balancing.
Learning how to balance is going to help you through most of the race. There are several areas where you have to stay on a small, but raised pole and walk across it, but practicing balance when you run through rough terrain is also going to help you not feel uncomfortable when you have to run down hill or carry weights.
Addition and helpful tips to prepare for the Spartan Race:
These tips aren’t workouts, but they will help you complete the race either way:
1) Prepare mentally more than physically.
This race is more difficult on the mind than it is on the body. If you practice those workouts and train hard, you will also train your mind to withstand the mental challenges.
I have seen people cry on the course and break down because they didn’t know it was going to be that difficult. And you will probably have moments where you want to quit the event. When you feel this way, it’s best to take a break, sit down, drink some water and talk to people. And you need to prepare for that BEFORE the race.
2) Do the race with friends.
You should also participate in this event with friends so you can help each other through it. Make sure to get friends who are physically fit because it’s going to annoy you when you have to keep looking back and stopping due to physically unfit partners slowing you down or crying about not being able to do it.
3) First time doing the Spartan Race? I suggest the Sprint (5k).
If you’re never done a mud run before and are starting from the Spartan Race, do the 5K first. It’s the easiest of the 3 main races, but it’s also very difficult because there’s more obstacles in a short time. If you pass this race well and don’t feel pain, upgrade to the Super (8 Mile one) next time and if you pass that, then do the Beast (12 miles +).
This event is not a joke and if you’re not prepared, you’re going to really hurt yourself or just not finish the race. Be ready to get dirty. Be ready to be very tired.
4) Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
Every mile there is a water station available, but what you should also do is keep a hydration pack handy that carries water so you can drink anytime on the track without waiting to hit the next water station.
For the 10 workouts, try to get used to doing ALL of them. The Spartan Race tests you in all areas of strength and those workouts prepare you everywhere.
5) Wear the right clothing, it’ll make it easier (and safer):
6) Proper nutrition for a Spartan Race.
Hydration won’t be enough to give you the energy to finish the race, you need calories. Get a full guide on what to eat during a mud run here!
7) Stretch numerous times throughout the race.
Because this race is a marathon (sort of), every time you feel you’ve ran or crossed a great distance, stop and stretch. Breaks help too!
Following these tips and practicing for the Spartan Race with these 10 workouts helped me out a lot when I did the event. In many cases, most of the obstacles and challenges never tired me out and it’s thanks to these workouts that this happened.