Running is one of the most popular forms of exercise but it can also be monotonous. That is, unless it’s the course in a Spartan-style race that includes climbing walls up to eight feet tall, crawling under barbed wire, leaping over flames or hurling a spear at a target during a three- to 26.2-mile run. And because nothing kick-starts a fitness routine like a goal, we asked Certified Spartan Group X Coach and Northport native Ethan Baum about training for the race scheduled for April 2014 at CitiField in Queens. “A Spartan Sprint is three-plus miles with up to 15 obstacles,” Baum explained. “Participants of all fitness levels will be competing, from novice to expert obstacle racers.” While preparing for such an event will vary from person to person, it’s crucial to incorporate both cardiovascular fitness and total body muscular strength.
Cardio Training: Baum advises running three times a week to build aerobic capacity. Combine all three of the following running styles into the training:
1) Long, Slow Distance (LSD): The practice of running longer distances at a lower intensity rather than shorter ones to the point of exhaustion. A slower pace allows the runner to go longer and therefore improve fitness levels. For a three-mile race the LSD should be 5- to 10-miles or up to 20-miles for a full marathon.
2) Tempo Runs: Sustained effort training runs, usually 20 to 30 minutes at 10 to 15 seconds per mile slower than 10K race pace.
3) High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): Performed at near-maximum intensities for brief 2-3 minute periods, followed by an equal amount of active recovery. Since Spartan Races are on trails, at least 50 percent of the training should be on a trail with some hills.
Strength Training: “Besides running, you’ll be climbing, crawling and jumping your way to the finish line,” Baum said. He suggested including push-ups, pull-ups, squats, lunges and burpees along with weight training, body-weight exercises and various bounding and jumping exercises to get ready for what the course will entail.
Do: Consume whole, unprocessed, clean foods.
Don’t: Consume processed foods, high glycemic carbs, sugary drinks or any refined sugar, sweets or salt.
Sign up for Spartan WODs (workouts of the day):
Final note: The advice presented above is not meant for anyone with contraindicated health problems. Please consult a medical or fitness professional.
Imagine: Soldiers in ancient Sparta were subject to military drills from infancy.