Like most US Army combat arms soldiers, I grew up in the military on obstacle courses. The Infantry Basic Course, Air Assault School, Ranger School, and the Special Forces Course – all of them had challenging, timed, and exhausting obstacles complete with sprints, mud pits, and other “good times” thrown in. Today, you can compete with even better obstacles, have fun along the way, and improve your fitness. If this sounds appealing, the Spartan Honor Series of races is for you.
Follow these tips to find and prepare for a Spartan Race today:
1. Of Course, You Can Do It – Individually or With a Team. Anyone can do an adventure race! Banish any thoughts that you can and cannot do a Spartan successfully. Sure, maybe you can’t be the first across the finish line, but you can cross the finish line. For new Spartan Racers, creating a team to race together is a great answer. Spartan Teams build motivation, hold others accountable to attend, and there is no better way to build friendships and memories. Spartan races can often be more difficult than some military obstacle courses. Open your physical fitness to complete a new and challenging race.
2. Schedule a Race – Don’t Forget the Logistics. Spartan Races fill up incredibly fast, so make sure to register early and make sure that your team registers early and together. Next, make sure that you find a hotel, restaurants, and coffee close to the race location. Hotels close to Spartan Races sell out quickly. If you can, see if you have friends or relatives in the race location to save some money and re-establish friendships and memories.
Spartan Honor Series
Presented by USAA: Complimentary parking and spectator entry for all military and USAA members courtesy of USAA. Simply show your USAA card or Military ID on race day. Learn More.
3. Give Yourself 2-3 Months to Prepare. Spartan Races can be done without preparation, but you want the experience to be fun and not miserable. Create a 2-3-month planning calendar with Spartan Race recommended exercises will help you immensely both in confidence, reducing the chance of injury, and promoting your own sense of physical fitness. There are also independent obstacle course races in many cities. Doing a smaller obstacle course race before the Spartan will help you succeed, check your fitness level, and give you added confidence at the Spartan.
4. Find the Spartan Race That Fits Your Goals. Spartan Races come in all shapes, obstacle numbers, and distance. The Spartan Sprint is the less intensive of the races and they all move upward in difficulty from there. Serious racers often do a race-a-day over the weekend to create extra challenges, for example, the Sprint followed by the Super the next day!
The Current Spartan Race Schedule Sponsored By USAA:
5. Focus on Bodyweight & Grip Strength Exercises. Bodyweight exercises such as push-ups, pull ups, squats, and the dreaded burpee are some of the best ways to prepare for an obstacle course race. An obstacle course race is essentially lifting, pulling, and pushing your body up, over, around, and under obstacles. Don’t forget exercises that strengthen your core and really focus on grip strength. Grips strength in your hands and forearms is crucial for monkey bars, rope climbing, and similar exercises. Running with a focus on sprints in ¼ and ½ mile increments combined with runs of 3-4 miles will help ensure a successful race day.
6. Race Day: Sleep, Dress to Be Wet, Hydration, Gloves, Eat Small Snacks, and Be There Early. Dressing and preparing for a Spartan Race Day is a challenge in itself. A good night’s sleep and hydration are some of the best ways to prepare. Several small snacks with continued hydration helps fuel your body. For dressing, focus on nylon and anything non-cotton that wicks moisture from the skin. Make sure that nothing rubs on your arms and legs due the constant wet and muddy nature of Spartan Races. Finally, ensure that you get to a Spartan at least an hour before your start time to ensure a “stress” free experience as you begin.
Remember, plan, prepare, and train to exceed your goals at a Spartan. It’s not a question of if you can do it. It’s a question of if you will challenge yourself to do it! Have fun!
Share your tips to prepare for a Spartan Race and your best race memory!
Other Articles of Interest:
About the Author: Chad Storlie is a Retired US Army Officer, the author of Combat Leader to Corporate Leader and has published over 280 articles in over 170 publications on military veterans, career advancement, business, leadership, strategy, education, financial planning, and national security topics. Chad excels as an author, mentor, speaker, and teacher showing business leaders and military veterans how military skills make lives, careers, and businesses better. Chad is an adjunct Professor of Marketing at Creighton University. Chad has a BA from Northwestern University and an MBA from Georgetown University. Follow Chad @CombatToCorp and www.CombatToCorporate.com.
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