Confessions of a Spartan Race rookie
Digital editor Bec Chambers took on the Spartan Race sprint and came away feeling way more badass.
My hands were slipping on the grime-covered blocks as I gripped for my life on the side of a vertical traverse wall. My tights had holes in them from barbed wire, I was covered in mud and specks of blood had now dried on my elbow. I heaved myself upwards and onto mud-caked rope netting. Below me, a 10m drop taunted.
I was having the time of my life.
If all of this sounds a little scary then you’re feeling what I was feeling mere minutes before my first ever Spartan Race. Once I started though, surrounded by hundreds of competitors hollering “AROO!”, I put my game face on.
Over eight kilometres of mixed-terrain running, myself and my team of two conquered 25 of Spartan’s signature obstacles. From carrying a 10kg sandbag up a vertical incline to jumping a fire (yeah, seriously) we took on some Zombie Apocalypse-style challenges and I loved every minute of it.
If you’re thinking of taking on your first obstacle race then I’ve got some tips for you. Here are a few things I learnt during my very first Spartan Race.
It’s not actually a race
Well, for some it is. But for your average punter, Spartan Race isn’t about elbowing your competitors in the face to get ahead (that would be really rude). It’s about community, having a laugh and overcoming challenges through teamwork. When I made it to the high walls (literally, 6m high walls that we had to climb over) there was no way I could have climbed over by myself. Luckily, my fellow competitors were more than willing to give me a leg up and over, how’s that for teamwork?
There will be mud
And you should accept from the outset that you are going to be covered in it. While the Spartan Race I attended was probably a little muddier than most, thanks to rain and cold temps, every Spartan Race involves some. Get covered in it, you’ll feel more hardcore.
There’s no harm in failing
Ok so some of the obstacles are a little intimidating and the fear of grazing a knee or taking a tumble can certainly play on your mind. However, failing an obstacle really isn’t a big deal. I got to the rope climb (a 1om high rope with a bell at the top meant for climbing) I gave it a good shot but my cold, mud covered hands just weren’t up to the task. Spartan Race isn’t about failure, it’s about trying everything and giving your best. Besides, if you can’t conquer an obstacle it’s no big deal– you’ll just have to do 30 burpees.
Wear the right gear
You’re going to be crawling underneath barbed wire for a couple of hundred metres, exposed knees are asking for trouble. I also noticed other, well-seasoned competitors sporting gripped gloves, this would have been a good idea.
Find a crew
Doing your first Spartan Race with a team makes you feel a lot like you’re in an episode of The Walking Dead. I felt like we were the alpha team and pretty much indestructible with my team by my side. Rope in mates, a partner or work colleagues to join you and you’ll face the challenge together.
Your squats and lunges are no good here. I realised that my lack of rope climbing in my training program and poor crawling technique was soon to be my downfall. Preparing for a Spartan Race should involve upper body strength training, a lot of running, a good amount of burpees and practicing jumping, pulling, pushing and crawling. In fact, to make things easier, we’ve put together a Spartan-specific training program for you.
Sign up to a Spartan Race event now and unleash your inner warrior.