Spartans are NOT Quitters

So you’re not the epitome of fitness…Who gives a rip?!?

Spartans are a unique breed of athletes.  We come on all shapes, sizes and colors.  Some are faster, granted.  Some are better at climbing ropes, or running hills, or doing burpees.  However, the course itself bears no prejudice.  Whether you’re 8 or 68, crossing that line is amazing feeling and should not ever be discounted.  True Spartans are humble and accepting despite being resilient and highly competitive.

The Spartan Race motto itself is simple.  To get you off the couch and to challenge you physically and mentally.  We can become complacent and satisfied in our lives to the point that many of us lose that inner desire to challenge ourselves.  We need to be challenged in order to grow.  Sometimes we just need a little nudge and unfortunately at times it can take a full intervention.   No matter which category you find yourself in, Spartan Race is merely a tool to help motivate you to improve who you are as a person.  When you cross that finish line it is a HUGE victory!  You will have proven to yourself that you can overcome obstacles (as in life) that will challenge you physically AND mentally.  You’ll have proven that you are NOT a quitter.  You’ll have proven that you are a WINNER!

Yes, this is a chip-timed event so at the end of the day, technically your time will be listed on a website alongside all of the other Spartans.  That is the part that makes this event so different from the rest.  There will be a small percentage or racers truly trying to ‘win’ and beat all other Spartan Racers.  There are some elite level athletes that thrive on this competition and the Spartan Race course is an ideal platform to trully test them.  Otherwise, that chip-time is a fantastic way for you to measure yourself against yourself!  Again, it adds that extra nudge we need to continue to push ourselves and to see how much we can improve over time.  It gets in your head when you feel you can’t push on and drives you to get across that finish line.  Without it, less drive, less push, less intensity.  The proof you ask?  Just listen to the battle cries of the Spartans as they break through the gladiator pit and cross the finish line!  AROO! AROO! AROO!

So let’s say you don’t exactly come in first place at your next Spartan Race.  Let’s say you totally ‘fail’ and finish near the back of the pack.  However in doing so, you’ve pushed as hard as you can, overcome every obstacle set out to break you.  You did ALL of your burpees.  You clawed and scratched your way through the muck covered in sweat, exhausted and finally cross the finish line to a screaming crowd, a medal around your neck (and a cold beer)…You’ve made it!  You’ve WON!  And only YOU’LL know how awesome you feel about yourself and your accomplishment…trust me, ‘you’ll know at the finish line’  AROOOOOO!

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Training tips

It started with a few generic trail races or “mud-runs”, then a few real leaders began to build up the sport. We saw Tough Mudder start up and Spartan Race and a few other well named runs start to follow suit and try to claim their peice of the (mud) pie.  It’s not merely one of them but rather all of them I believe that really contribute to the overwhelming growth in the sport of OCR (obstacle course racing).  And rightfully so, they all deserve their relative participation levels for attempting to get the Jo-Public off the couch and active!  It’s all good!

The business of OCR is growing but so too is the business of OCR training.  It is rare these days to pass a gym or X-Fit club that is not holding their own “mudder” training classes.  Again, if it get’s people healthy and active it is fantastic!  After reviewing several “preparedness” classes it’s unfortunate to see the training some of these gyms are doing all held inside the box.  It’s kinda like training for a Marathon all from a treadmill.  At some point you really do need to get out in the fresh air and the elements and feel the earth under your feet.

Not to say indoor training is all bad because there are a ton of great exercise routines you can do inside to help in preparation for a Spartan Race but some things simply cannot be prepared for in a gym.  And some gyms are even starting to build OCR training facilities indoors which is incredible!  They have to adapt to the needs of their paying members and offer something unique but for King Leonidas’ sake, take your training outside at leeast 25-50% of the time!

Here’s an example of a nice little outdoor training run even if you live in the city:

Map yourself out a nice little 5-8K run and plan to be out for about an hour.  Make sure you include a school and/or park along the route (ideally both).  A good set of 20-50 stairs are also great.  Start your run with a relatively slow pace for about 10 minutes and then get a nice little stretch in.  Calves, hammy’s, quads, back, shoulders etc. then pick up the pace on your run to a comfortable stride.  Along your path at the playground or school find a place where you can do a small circuit of something like 25 burpees, 25 push ups, and 5-15 pull ups (all depending on your own level).  If you need 30 seconds rest, take it, but eventually use your run to recover your heart rate.  Stairs are great as you can set up intervals.  Run up the stairs, do 10 burpees, 10 push ups and then run back down.  Rest and repeat a few times.  If you can find a ledge (picnic table bench for example) you can throw in a few sets of box jumps or step ups.  Then get back to your run right away.  A hill or incline is a great place to sprint up, then coast down and you can repeat that as well.  Incorporate as many different exercises into this one hour run as you can and you’ll be getting closer to what you may experience on a Spartan Race.  Continue on your run and really pick up the pace to finish strong.  Have a cool off and don’t forget to stretch and hydrate when you’re done.

Keep in mind that there are 3 distances in a Spartan Race.  3 miles, 8 miles and 12 miles.  All will have some hills and some with extreme hills.  You will need to adjust your training runs to more closely match the distance you plan on running.  Obstacle training is important and you’ll need to have some good body strength and core conditioning.  But also remember that you will not know what obstacles to train for specifically.  What you can train for and the piece we’re seeing missing from many OCR training programs is the running!

Do not forget to get outside and RUN!!!

Hope this helps!

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The Burpee

“Drop and give me 20!” is a phrase you’re likely familiar with.  Particularly if you have a military background but this is also the stereotypical “punishment” for bad behaviour often shouted by someone is command of a group and refers to doing 20 push-ups.  If you ever thought having to do push-ups like this was torture, you’re glad you’ve never met the push-ups cruel stepmother…The Burpee!

Now, although the burpee could be used as a from of capital punishment, (and may actually be very effective as such;) under it’s distasteful name you’ll actually find one of the best strength building, cardio conditioning, fat burning exercises in the world!  Think about it, the burpee is a total body workout.  It engages your chest, biceps, triceps, front deltoids, thighs, hamstrings and abs!

And because you’re using your whole body to do burpees and because they are so physically intense, they are also one of the best ways to burn fat!  Some studies show that intense exercises like the burpee will burn 50% more fat than conventional strength building exercises.  Plus, they are also known to help speed up your metabolism which means your body will continue to burn more calories throughout the day.

So to boil it all down for you, the creators of Spartan Race are actually looking out for your best interests by incorporating so many (effn) burpees into the Race.   Those in the know will incorporate burpees into their Spartan Race training regimens, and lots of them!  So by the time you’re done your training and completed your Spartan Race, you will be a fitness machine!  It’s all part of the master plan and the Spartan Race mission to drag you off the couch and get you active and fit.  And by forcing you to do high volumes of the best exercise in the world simply to survive a Spartan Race, they are making sure you will be in far superior shape when you cross the finish line!  As the saying goes… “You’ll know at the finish line”

Here’s a lesson on the burpee by one of the best…

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CitiField

Citifield

Hey New York!  Are you ready for Citi Field, home of the NEW YORK Mets to be transformed into the ultimate Obstacle Course Race on April 13th?

This Spartan Race is going to be a Sprint, meaning it’ll be about a 3 mile course with about 15 or so obstacles.  The fastest time could be in the neighborhood of 40 minutes and the longest around 2 hours.  This is a chip-timed event so be prepared to push yourselves!

Starting times begin at 8am and will run in heats of 200.  Heats will continue every 15 minutes.

Do not miss out on this first Stadium Series Spartan Race of 2013!

Bring your game face and your swagger and challenge your friends to see who can get the best time!  Click the picture above to reveal your unique 15% discount code off your registration price!

So sign up now, train hard and prepare to meet the Gladiators at Citi Field in NEW YORK CITY!!!! AROOOO!

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Spartans are coming…to Arizona!

Hey Arizona!  Are you ready for a challenge?  Spartan Race is coming to the desert and will be ready to test your grit!

Choose Your Distance! Spartan Race - Arizona 2013 February 9th & 10th, Sign Up Now!

Spartan Race is coming to Arizona

 When: Saturday February 9th & 10th, 2013
Distance: It’s a 5km race, fastest time should be around 30 minutes. Longest times will be over 1 hour. We use Timing Chips for accuracy.
Start Times: Heats start at 8am with up to 250 racers and continue every 30 minutes throughout the day. Enter the 8am “Elite” heat if you want to be as competitive as possible and race against the best.
Aid Stations: Expect 2.
All Racers Receive:

  • Finishers Medal
  • T-Shirt
  • Free Beer ticket for anyone 21 and over
  • A chance to play on some really unique terrain
  • Bragging Rights
  • Free race photos
  • Free Mud – A scrape (or two)
  • More stories to tell

Spectators:Want a front row seat to all the Spartan action? Spectator tickets are available for $20 online (click the yellow register button above like your registering for the race, and you choose the spectator option), or purchase them onsite for $25 (please bring cash). As a Spartan Race spectator, you’ll receive $5 Spartan bucks redeemable at the merchandise tent, entry to the rocking festival area, a festival grounds map, access to some of the obstacles on course, not to mention the epic Gladiator pit and finish line. Enjoy the music and watch your friends and loved ones slip and slide through the Spartan course in the relative safety and comfort of the Spartan Race festival grounds! You can also test your fitness in our festival challenges including the Pull-Up Challenge, Slosh Pipe Challenge, Kaiser Challenge and Traverse Wall Challenge. Beware, the next ticket you’ll want to buy might have you standing on the Spartan starting line!

Click here to enter right now before it fills up!

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