If you haven’t read my previous summary of the Vermont Spartan Beast, it might make sense to do that now. You can also check out Cameron’s article on the Super Spartan. In this article, I’ve got photos plus some description of the obstacles for you!
Those of you who have been reading for the past couple of months have heard about the Spartan. Cameron did his Super Spartan in Carolina in early summer and I did the 12-miler Beast with some friends in Vermont last weekend.
This article will have 3 sections:
- Lessons Learned
- Details of the Experience, with Photos
This was a 12-mile race, but like nothing I’ve ever done. It was almost entirely hills (and I don’t mean normal hills, I mean straight up Killington ski mountain not using a trail but using a narrow woods path). And it had 26 obstacles, described below.
I did this with 3 friends, and about 1/4 of the way in we split into twos. We later found out that the leading two stayed just barely ahead right up until the 3rd to final obstacle, so we all finished in a little over 5 hours.
That’s right. Over five hours.
The elite men winners did it in about 3 hours. I think, in retrospect, if we trained a little more appropriate for the terrain, and pushed ourselves, we could have done it in 4 hours. But 3 hours seems insanely fast.
The 26 obstacles involved variations of the following:
- fire jumps
- barbed wire crawls
- wall climbs
- mud pits
- balance walks
- horizontal rope lines
- sandbag carries
- sled pulls
- oh, and did I mention hills, some of which were so steep that we were on all fours, grabbing roots and branches to keep from falling backwards?
If you failed any of the obstacles, you had to do 30 burpees. I’m proud to say that I was successful on all obstacles except one: the spear throw. I was SO frustrated when I missed that (you only get one chance).
Some people were clearly not ready for this, as evidenced by (more…)
Cameron’s Spartan Experience…
Cameron did the Spartan in The Carolina’s the weekend of June 25th. Here is his first-hand account…
The race was intended to be approx. 8 miles with 15 obstacles. The fastest times were intended to be around 80 minutes. It ended up being (after adding the turns) (more…)
I did a quick write-up for my team mates to jump-start our Spartan training. See previous post on the Spartan Race for context.
This is far from complete, and is just some basic principles. As I’ve mentioned, each of our 5-person team is coming with completely different strengths and weaknesses so this is just to get us all on the same baseline. What I personally am doing is slightly different. I’ll share that at the end.
- work up each week (longer or more intense, etc.); each week should be harder than the previous [we had 8 weeks at the time I wrote this]
- use varied training methods
- keep an eye on recovery: you don’t want to be so sore that you miss workouts but you don’t want to undertrain either
- deload (reduce training 4-5 days before the event)
- stretch daily; this is important for recovery; my advice is mostly active stretching, but static stretching is fine too as long as it is AFTER exercise; foam rolling is amazing
- eat smart (don’t try to diet during this, but don’t eat junk; eat lots of good, real food to help your body recover)
- sleep well for recovery
Types of Training We’ll Cover
- endurance running (long distance)
- core training (stability, strength, endurance)
- load training (carrying)
- strength training
My Recommendations For the First 2 Weeks
These are the things I think should be a minimum.
1) TRI once a week. [For you WFN readers, I don't have time to explain the game of TRI but think of it as Rugby with 3 teams.] If we miss a week, you need to spend at least 30 minutes doing similar training (sprinting with change of direction, add in throwing).
2) 2 runs a week. One shorter one longer. Goal will be to get your longer runs up to 8 to 10 miles by early July. Depending on your current capacity, this could be a big leap so let’s talk if you can’t already do at least 4 mile runs. Try to do a lot of your running on trails.
For your shorter run, I suggest the type of training you see in the spartanraceblog. Something like this: (more…)
UPDATE: Other articles in this series on this site are:
- The Vermont Spartan Beast – Summary and Lessons Learned
- Spartan Training Plan – Draft
- Vermont Spartan Beast – Photos and Details
Some of you may have seen some recent discussion over at the forum on The Spartan: