Get in Shape the Right Way

How To Prepare For A Spartan Race

Spartan Race Preparation

prepare for a spartan race photo

My next Spartan Race is the Indianapolis Sprint on May 16th, 2015 which means as of today, I have 16 weeks to train and prepare.  I’m already 6 weeks into part of my training and this year I’m going to attack things differently!  I’m going to actually train with specific goals in mind and have a plan going into the Spartan Race.

If you’ve been following along here, I ran my first Spartan Race back in 2013.  In 2014 I ran a Spartan Race with my wife.  Now in 2015 I may end up running the Indianapolis Spartan Sprint with a group of family members.  If they don’t chicken out…  And I’m sure they are reading this… 😉


Indianapolis Sprint, May 16, 2015, Sign Up Now for this Reebok Spartan Race!

Breaking Down the Spartan Race

In order to really make up a good training plan, you first need to break down the race.

  1. Push, Pull and Hold are the majority of tasks you encounter throughout the Spartan Race.
    • Whether it is burpees, pulling yourself up over walls, climbing ropes, or carrying a bucket full of gravel.  These are specific areas of strength that will be required.
  2. Intervals: there are periods of explosiveness, followed by periods of lull.
    • While you run the race, this is a typical stretch: run, stop, perform an obstacle, run, stop, perform an obstacle.
  3. Getting vertical: hills were my (and the majority of others) most difficult tasks throughout the race.
    • Hills will kill your legs and back throughout the Spartan Race, therefore you have to incorporate them into training.
  4. The Spartan Race is held outdoors.  (Duh…)
    • For this reason, you have to GET OUTDOORS!

My Spartan Race Training Plan


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(16 Weeks Out)

Foundation of Strength:

For the past 6 weeks I have been following my 12 Week Fitness Plan which I just launched available on here in early January.  This has helped me re-dedicate myself to fitness with a solid 12 week jump start.  This will assist with the “push, pull, and hold” portions of the race.

This is a 3 phase plan which starts with phase 1, building on the foundations of strength.  I am currently half way through phase 2 which continues to build on the foundations of strength even more, coupled with hitting muscle groups more often.  I then will fall into phase 3 which is where my conditioning will really begin by breaking down muscle with tailored, intense full body workouts, hitting each muscle group more frequently, and allowing me to focus one day per week on my greatest weaknesses that may cause me the most grief in my next Spartan Race.

It is extremely important to have a great foundation of strength in preparation of any obstacle course race.  The physical strength and abilities will be called upon just as much as your cardiovascular abilities.

For more information on this program you can click here>> 12 Week Fitness Plan

At the end of this plan, I will have approximately 10 weeks until the Indy Spartan Race.

Spartan Race Banner

(10 Weeks Out)

Cardiovascular Endurance: 

This brings me to the interval training portions which will be my focus for four weeks, in preparation of getting outdoors.  I have provided a few free resources of quality interval/HIIT cardio plans.

These include:

  • The Elliptical Climb Challenge (which is a 25 minute HIIT workout on the elliptical).
  • If you head over to my Free Resources Page, there is an additional HIIT cardio workout which is available for free in a pdf download.  This plan is good for any type of cardio equipment, i.e. treadmill, elliptical, or spin bike.
  • I’ve also become fond of the Concept2 rower and will create an interval rowing plan in the near future.  (I’ll update this page once it becomes available)

I will add these interval workouts either in the mornings, or at the end of my weight training workouts.

During this same period of time, I will be incorporating Super Set Training to help shock muscles and keep my body guessing.  My program will evolve, but you can find a few of my superset plans below:

Super Set Chest and Biceps

Super Set Back and Triceps

Super Set Shoulders

(6 Weeks Out)

Becoming One With Nature:

trail running photo

This is the stage where I will get outdoors and build functional strength.

This will include:

  • Functional Kettlebell Training: (The best full body conditioning you can perform)
    • For everything you need to know on getting your first kettlebell, you can check my Beginner Guide to Kettlebells out.
    • I will mainly be focusing on Kettlebell Swings, Turkish Get-Ups, and Goblet Squats
  • Rope Climbs
    • I intend to purchase a climbing rope, getting outside, and practicing my skills using multiple climbing methods.
  • Pull-ups and Dead Lift
    • Since I will already be doing Goblet Squats, I want to focus my efforts on a couple areas which could cause trouble during the Spartan Race, which would be pull ups and dead lifting.
      • I have seen lately that the bucket brigade obstacle is becoming more popular.  Most people say that your lower back will begin to give out quickest during this obstacle.
  • On/Off Trail Running and Hikes
    • I will be focusing on two techniques here.
      • The first will be weighted hikes.  I recently purchased a GoRuck GR1 which I will load up with around 35 pounds of additional weight and go for 3-5 mile hikes.
      • The second will be trail running.  Not just normal trail running, I want to also get off trail during these runs.  That would include jumping over downed trees, climbing over/under other downed trees, stopping to do pull ups on tree limbs, you name it, I will end up using it as an obstacle.
  • Grip Strength
    • The Spartan Race demands a lot of grip strength.  The best way to train your grip strength is by performing “Farmer Carries”
      • You will go for long walks with weighted dumbbells.  They don’t have to be extremely heavy dumbbells, but the lighter they are, the longer your walk should be.

Spartan Race Time!

Well, there you have it.  You can modify this plan to however much time you have until your next Spartan Race, but hopefully some of these tips will help you out in your own preparation of your Spartan Race.

As a REMINDER, you can get more info on my 12 Week Training Program by clicking the link below:

Trip Fitness 12 Week Training Program

You can also view the Spartan Race Calendar and sign up for a race by clicking my affiliate link below:  Use Code FINISH10 for 10% off, or code SPEAR10 for $10 off!

View the Reebok Spartan Race calendar, Register for a Race Today!

Until next time…

Stay fit, my friends!

-Zach

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