Over the weekend – We (Pete and Wayne) participated in our first Spartan Race. For those that don’t know:
Spartan Race is the world’s biggest obstacle race series, designed to get regular people motivated, active, and training for a life changing challenge!
There are three primary course distances from 7km, 14km and 21km, and three wave types to cater for various levels of competition – Elite (pro competition), Age Category (still race format) and Open Wave (for fun completion).
Now both Pete and Wayne have done numerous obstacle type events before, but this is the first competitive version that we’ve done. Being fit lads, and having undertaken a solid dose of HIIT workout training as well as long distance running from myself (Pete), we entered into the competitive 7km age group race with the intention of cruising along with the pack and getting an idea of how it all works.
Obstacles and Abilities:
So the question on everyone’s minds – how hard is it? Well firstly, the 7km is NOT flat. Its on sloped and rocky terrain, you frequently run up and down hills and through creeks. So in order to actually run the whole distance, you will need to have trained running LONGER than 7km and also with varying speeds. The obstacles, much to our delight, were actually physically challenging. They range from:
- Crawling through tunnels
- Under barbed-wire
- Climbing a rope to touch a cowbell
- Ring swinging
- Climbing over a wall that is leaning towards you (no feet available)
- Throwing a spear at a target to make it stick
In our 7km race, we had around 20 obstacles and all of them require a degree of skill and physical exhertion that needs to be balanced against how fast you’ve been running and how breathless you are. The reason this is a factor – if you fail an obstacle, you are required to do 30 burpees – chest to touch the ground, and a jump clap for every rep.
Let’s answer the question straight up – can anyone do this? Absolutely. Provided you don’t mind walking, or doing a stack of burpees for missed obstacles, absolutely anyone can finish the SPARTAN RACE.
So if you want to actually try and finish the event without doing a single burpee, in our opinion, you will need to be able to physically complete the following:
- Be able to complete at least 3 strict pullups
- Balance on a 30mm strip for 10m
- Be able to hold your body weight via your grip strength for about 5-10 seconds before replacing your feet
- Understand how to climb a rope (its all in the legs – seriously)
There will always be the aspect of being tired and a bit out of breath to make things more complicated, and you’ll most likely be sweaty and/or wet which also makes things challenging. Also – practice throwing a spear. Seriously, get a broom handle or something similar and understand how to throw it straight – its the easier obstacle that MOST people stuff up.
If you want to be competitive – then you’re going to have to be able to comfortably be able to run 10km. But wait – Pete, didn’t you say it’s 7km? Yep, but with the changing terrain, the constant stop and start, as well as changing energy systems required to undertake obstacles, you’re going to want to have a long distance endurance to continually run the whole way. And that’s if you’re undertaking the 7km Sprint. This obviously scales up for the longer distances. Strength-wise, you will want to be able to do 10 pullups easily (being able to do a muscle up doesnt go astray), able to hang from your fingertips, run uphill and climb a rope at speed without thinking about it.
So how did we do?
Well, actually better than we intended! Over the last 2 months, I (Pete) have been pushing my squads through workouts designed to target the skillsets as outlined above, including longer distance endurance. Both Wayne and myself started easy and just running with the pack. About 1km in, we realised we were actually in the front groups and decided that we should have a go of it. I can’t speak for Wayne, but I upped my run pace to about 70% of max (not knowing what was coming meant saving some juice) – and found that people start too hard and run out of steam at the 5km mark. Long story short – Wayne (mid Forties), finished 61st overall and 7th in his age group (40-49)
– Pete (early 30’s), finished 14th overall and 3rd in his age group (30-39)
So we’re absolutely stoked with this effort and the next race is Spartan Gold Coast, and you can bet that we’re targetting the next race up (14km) and this time…..we’re in it to win it!
Let us know – we’d love to have a massive squad all coming together to achieve personal goals. The power to achieve your personal targets, is made easier with the support of a great team – and the community around A.I.P has some truly incredible people.