How To Prepare For A Spartan Race

How can you prepare better for a Spartan Race or other OCR event? These challenges require specific preparation if you’re going to get the most from it and perform at your best! TrueSapien’s very own Spartan Race Guru and recent Spartan Elite Sprint podium finisher Ben Comery gives some secrets to his success.

General Preparation – Hills, Carries and Burpees!

For me preparation starts weeks before the Race. Spartan is know for a few things. Hills, Carries and Burpees.
Let’s start with hills. Make these your friends, go out and find as many hills as you can. I try and make all my Easy Pace runs have over 100m of elevation gain and my long runs are always hilly.
Carries will try and kill you. They are diverse and plentiful in a Spartan race. Tyres, logs, sandbags, stones and buckets. You can’t just lift weights in a gym and expect to succeed. Lifting a weight is very different to moving through rough terrain with a weight. As with everything, practice makes perfect so grab something heavy and go for a walk, you’ll thank me on race day.
Burpees are an Integral part of Spartan. If you fail an obstacle you will be rewarded with 30 burpees. The good news is you can train these at home and they will help with a lot of obstacles on the day. They train your whole body and help with getting over the walls that are littered around the course. A great work out to try is Death By Burpees, Start a timer and complete 1 burpee per minute until you cannot complete the number of burpees within the minute i.e 1st minute 1 burpee, 2nd minute 2 burpees, 10th minute 10 burpees etc.

 

Two Weeks Out

I usually perform a race or time trial of a similar distance just to get a feel for fitness. Spartan Sprint use a 5km race, for a Super use a 10km. For the Beast I would move it out to 4 weeks out at Half Marathon distance. From this point I start dropping weekly mileage by 20%, keep the intensity high but just shorter.

 

Final Week

Drop mileage to 50%. Now is the time to rest, any training from this point will have little affect come race day. Use the time to practice your race pace and to really get a feel for how fast you want to go. I up my carbohydrates from this point aswell. 10g per lean kg of body mass is recommended but after a few days my hunger starts to disappear so I just make sure every meal has large amounts of carbohydrates in it. Hydrate. 1g of Carbohydrates can hold 4g of water! If you increase carbs but not water you will become dehydrated quickly and a 2% loss in hydration causes a 40% loss in performance.

Race day

Wake up early and eat. I usually eat a bowl of porridge and drink 500ml of water 3 hours before the Race. After this I usually sip electrolytes just to keep myself topped up. 10minutes before the Race I take caffeine (180MG of encapsulated caffeine) if you get anxiety before a race you should avoid this as caffeine increases nerves but if you can tolerate it caffeine is a great supplement.

 

Lastly have fun! I mean that’s why we do it, isn’t it? 

Are You Planning An OCR Adventure?

Are You Planning An OCR Adventure?

 

If you’re planning your first OCR adventure or looking to improve your skills, Clinton Slater, a Reebok Spartan Race SGX coach and co-owner of Outdoor Physical Training, reveals some of his top training tips and techniques to get you race ready.

 

The Wall

Training tip: Defeating the Spartan walls is all about explosive power through the legs to firstly get you up onto the wall, then gain balance before using your upper body strength to pull your body weight up and over.

Work on your explosive leg power with squat jumps and use dips and pull ups to get you used to lifting your own bodyweight.

My best advice would be to get out there, to your local park or your back garden, to find something that resembles the walls. Practice jumping up and holding onto the top of the wall: this will build the arm strength you need to hold up your own bodyweight.

Best technique: Don’t hesitate! Run up to the wall in one movement and use momentum to lift you up as you jump and grab the top of the wall. Beware of your knees hitting the wall, it’s about timing. 

Rotate your elbows forward as you’re jumping to the top, use the drive to lift your body up and over (taking a pause at the top to balance if you need).

 

The Monkey Bars

Training tip: The monkey bars are 70% back and shoulder strength, 20% biceps and 10% will power.

I always start training with some ‘hang time’ – just being able to hang and hold your own body weight. Once you have mastered this, move onto the back pull technique – using your back muscles (lats) to drive you from one bar to the next, rather than just relying on arms.

To do this don’t just hang with arms straight and locked, engage your back muscles to take most of the strain. 

Best technique: Use the back pull to move across the bars: pull up first to the bar you’re on and the momentum generated from this move will drive you forwards to the next bar.

Once you have your rhythm you can either use the Orangutan-swing movement, or some people prefer to use their whole body to leap from one bar to another with both hands at the same time.

Always ensure you have a good grip on the one hand before releasing the other. Try to get into a rhythm and again, try not to hesitate too much as this will affect your momentum.

 

The Barbed Wire Crawl

Training tip: A great crawl comes down to technique. To train, get in your garden or down the park and simply practice crawling. The more you do, the quicker and fitter you’ll get.

Coordination is also key, as your alternate leg and arm should be driving forwards at the same time. Core work will play a big part in training for this so get familiar with the plank.

Best technique: Don’t stop. The arms should remain bent throughout and bring your driving knees all the way up to your waist as you push forwards. As you move forwards your hips will come up off the ground but keep them low to save energy and escape getting caught on the wire.

Clinton will be back soon with advice on tackling three other common OCR obstacles!