Let me start off by saying I am by no means an expert when it comes to the Spartan Race industry. Better yet, can I be completely honest with you and admit I hate running? I can’t even say I enjoy working out in general.
My fitness journey started June of last year so I’m pretty new at all of this. I’m just an average woman on a mission to push myself beyond my comfort zone.
As I mentioned in my post Making 2018 the Year of the Comeback, running a Spartan Race is on my “To-Do” list for this year. From the time I bought my ticket, I had three months to prepare!
To be clear, I didn’t train as much as I would’ve liked. I couldn’t even do one pull-up so I knew I wasn’t going to get across any monkey bars (I tested this theory out at the playground).
My main goal was to build enough stamina so I could get through the race in a timely manner. I also made sure to get familiar with burpees….’cause I knew I’d have to do a lot of them!
Fast forward to April 7th at the Charlotte Spartan Race Sprint. Despite the cold and rainy day, I completed the race and had fun doing it!
There is something exhilarating about running through ankle-deep mud. It gave me a huge boost of confidence to do something I never thought possible.
Interested in running a Spartan Race? Here are a few simple tips to get you through your first race with some grace:
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Bring Along an Experienced Partner
Luckily for me, my husband holds three Spartan Race Trifectas! I made sure he would be by my side for the big day. His knowledge of the game is the biggest reason I was able to survive and thrive.
Communicating expectations is the key to being on the same page. As a newbie, you may only want to go for the experience but most Spartans return for the competition.
Having a different goal than your partner could create conflict if it’s not properly communicated. It’s important to have a game plan in place before you take off.
For example, I expressed my main concern to my husband: the fear he would leave me in the dust to beat his time. On the other hand, I could easily picture him growing frustrated with my slower pace. Either way could be a recipe for disaster.
What did he do to eliminate the possibility? He ran the course alone earlier in the day (he’s so extra! *insert eye roll*).
We finished the race hand in hand and grew closer to each other as a result. I’m not kidding when I say it was the most romantic “date” we’ve ever been on together.
If you can’t find a seasoned Spartan to run the race with you, don’t sweat it! Grab a friend and let the bonding begin.
Camaraderie is the underlying theme of the Spartan Race. You can’t help but form a connection when you work with someone towards the same goal.
Break Down and Buy Good Shoes
No one wants to buy a shiny new pair of shoes knowing they’ll have to baptize them in the mud. No matter how strong the temptation, do not…I repeat… do NOT attempt to run in your old pair of gym shoes!
I watched several people fall flat on their backs or slide into awkward positions. What is the culprit? Basic sneakers. The risk of injury isn’t worth saving a few bucks!!!
For best results, my suggestion is to look for a pair with an aggressive tread, decent drainage, and no laces.
I searched high and low for the perfect pair and came across a great deal on Amazon. These Salomon Women’s Speedtrak W-W Trail Runners were a lifesaver! I was able to avoid slipping or falling and I have to give all the credit to these babies.
Over a year of countless hiking excursions (on top of the Spartan Race) and they’ve held up gloriously. I can honestly say I have no regrets purchasing these. Definitely a great bang for your buck!
Prepare Post Spartan Race
There is an obstacle after the race they don’t tell you about! Most rookies are not ready for it and have to learn the hard way. Thankfully, my husband knew what I was up against and packed everything I would need for a smooth experience.
I am talking about having to change out of your Spartan Race duds. Yep… you read that right! Simply put, it’s not fun.
It’s obvious you won’t be taking a hot shower after the race when you are subjected to doing your “business” in a Porta Potty before the race. Sharing a hose to rinse off is kind of a given.
The one thing I didn’t anticipate was having to change in a pitch black tent. I mean, no lighting whatsoever! In this situation, proper prior planning will prevent yourself a ton of frustration.
Some tips for making the process easier:
- Rather than use a gym bag to pack your change of clothes, consider bringing a 5-gallon bucket with a padded lid instead. Not only does it make a great seat on-the-go but it’s also ideal for storing those muddy clothes.
- Use a headlamp for the changing tent. You are going to need both hands to get those wet clothes off!
- If you are like me and want some privacy, you might want to grab a clamp or two to keep a towel wrapped around you while you change. There are no stalls or doors in the changing tent! Click here for an example of what I used. Again, you are going to need both hands.
There’s no lack of information on the internet when it comes to preparing for your first Spartan Race. This is just my take on the experience and I hope it helps in some way, shape or form.
It’s nice to know that it doesn’t take a whole lot of special to get through a Spartan Race. Grab yourself a friend, a good pair of shoes, some post-race essentials, and a good attitude!
Obviously, it helps to do the recommended training but don’t let that hold you back from signing up. You would be surprised what you’ll push yourself to do under a little pressure.
My husband had almost no training before his first race. Yes, it was tough on him but he made it through and finished with a smile on his face. He used the experience as motivation to train harder for the next Spartan Race and has been hooked ever since.
Running a Spartan Race definitely shed light on my strengths and weaknesses. I learned I can get through anything difficult with the right mindset and support from others.
You’ll never know what you are capable of unless you make a move. Don’t waste a minute of life telling yourself you can’t!