Spartan Race Recap & Tips For A First Spartan Sprint

I hope you all had a great weekend.  Well….we did it! We conquered the Spartan Boise Sprint Race.  We kicked butt!  For rookie Spartan Racers we feel very accomplished.  I got 4th place in my age group and my hubby got 1st in his age group and we have never done it before.  I am so proud of both of us.  I will say that it may be the hardest race I have ever done. It was a very hilly 5 mile course with rough terrain.  We  ran in the competitive group which I was nervous about but I am glad we did.  We started at 8:00 AM and it was hot!   IMG_1161

Going into this race I was nervous.  I had nightmares the week before.  I do tend to worry and fear the unknown.  That is just my personality type.  This race put me totally out of my comfort zone. Climbing a rope and dragging myself through muddy goat head water under barb wire is not something I usually do!  I had to face my fear and I did!  

Since this was our first Spartan I decided to put together a list of tips and suggestions for any of you crazy people out there who want a challenge and want to try a Spartan Sprint.  

First off the training.  I will admit that I did not really train for the Spartan specifically.  I did run a lot of hills and hill repeats.  That definitely helped.  It was steep and a lot of the time I was walking up the steep hills.  My glutes and hamstrings were on fire!  I did get a chance to try out a few of the obstacles at Camp Rhino Boise, which really helped with safety and techniques as well as to ease my fears.  I think a lot of my daily training helped in many ways.  What I like about how I train is that it is for functional fitness, which allows me to enter different types of races or try different activities without having to specifically train for them.  

If I were to do another Spartan I would definitely incorporate the following into my current training:

  • Hike up steep hills (maybe with a weighted vest)
  • Hit the playground and swing on the monkey bars!  I failed these obstacles and ended up doing burpees.  Monkey bars aren’t just for the kids!
  • Army Crawls and Bear Crawls!  You will do a lot of these in the mud and water under the barbed wire.  This was the scariest part of the course for me.  
  • Find a gym that does obstacle course race training and take a class on safety and techniques.  Practicing at the gym helped me to master the rope climb and helped with my confidence.  
  • Watch videos.  If you don’t have a chance to practice at a gym you can get tips and suggestions from all the videos on the web.  
  • If you have the opportunity to train and race with friends do it!  My friends Matt and Amy really coached me a long since they had previous Spartan experience.  

What To Wear:

  • Spandex and wicking materials.  Do not wear cotton it will get wet and weigh you down.  Wear tight fitting clothing.  I saw a lot of women in spandex shorts and sports bra’s but I chose to wear a tank.  For the guys, my hubby says go with no shirt (first time racing without a shirt but with water obstacles it was a good choice). He was fine wearing athletic shorts with compression shorts underneath.
  • Old shoes you are willing to donate.  My friend tried to wear her new shoes and was very nervous about it so I told her if she was nervous she should not wear new shoes.  You can donate your old muddy shoes at the end of the race and they will clean them.  
  • Sunscreen if you are in hot sunny weather like we were.  
  • I did not wear gloves because I didn’t train with them, I but saw a lot of people wearing them.
  • Compression socks or long tight fitting socks to protect your legs.  
  • Bring a set of extra clothes and extra shoes for the end of the race.  I took a pair of flip flops to wear around.  
  • Do not wear your garmin/watch or sunglasses

What did I eat for pre-race nutrition?  

I would eat and drink whatever you normally do before a long run.  Do not eat anything new.  You may be rolling down a hill and this is not the time to have new foods in your stomach.  I had some coffee and toast with peanut butter and banana about 2 hours before the start.  I drank sips of water at each of the water stations, but didn’t need any fuel during the race.  I would do whatever you normally do for runs or workouts longer than one hour.  

Lastly, these are just a few things I thought about during the race and after.  You have to pace yourself especially if this is your first Spartan.  At first I tried to keep up with my more experienced friend and then I realized that I needed to slow down and run my own race.  Don’t go crazy, be safe and be realistic.  If something goes wrong during an obstacle, pause and don’t freak out, then try to complete it.  One thing that really helped me was to watch other people in front of me complete the obstacles, especially the ones I had not tried before.  I can’t say that I will do another Spartan anytime soon, but I did have fun and I did surprise myself at how well I did without a specific training plan.  If you plan to do your first Spartan go into it with an open mind, have fun and just have a goal to finish.  Someone once said, “Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable,” I love this saying especially for me and this race.  

Spartan Hill

Have you done a Spartan or another obstacle race?  Comment with any tips or suggestions you may have.  Have a great week!