Hey Spartans! It’s me Marron talking about fitness. Something new yeah?
So with my great spontaneity after seeing this specific ad as I was browsing my timeline on Facebook, I got curious about Spartan Race. They say, when you want to go somewhere you like and no one else wants to go, go by yourself. You’ll meet people with similar interests as you. And I think that’s perfectly true. I can’t think of the countless times I’ve asked people from my contact list to join me just to get a ‘no’ as an answer.
Damn. So the first thing I did?
Go. Just go. Without starting any endurance training yet, without having a complete idea of what this race is all about, I signed myself up. Ibang klase, diba! Because you’ll never get that kind of adrenaline rushing through your veins not until you get your lazy ass off the couch and finally commit to joining the race. I swear I’m telling you, just sign up! Trust me. Signing up for the race 1 month away has kept me all pumped up! It pressured me to workout because I felt that I was “required” to do training. It held me accountable and kept me motivated to train harder and eat healthier. Literally #NoExcuses
2. Educate yourself about Spartan Race
It is important to pre-fame your mind about Spartan. And also, to learn everything about the signature obstacles. A little idea is better than not knowing anything at all, remember? So what the hell is Spartan Race anyway?
Spartan Race is more than just a race; it’s a way of life. (wow!) It’s pretty much a combination of crossfit and running. They said we cannot have strong bodies without strong minds. Spartan’s 3 main races are Sprint, Super, and Beast.
In my part, I read a lot of training tips and watched plenty of documented Spartan Races just to be sure I’m on the right track towards race day. I swear, it helps a lot! Conditioning the mind is vital.
3. START TRAINING
I signed up 25 days before the Trifecta weekend. So immediately right after my shift that day, I went to the gym and did what they call “300 workout” to introduce my body to the upcoming workouts. 300 workout involves a lot of running, jumping and carrying a lot of heavyweights which is pretty similar to Spartan. Idk why the hell I did that but based on my poor research at that time, it was applicable. But on my further research, they said your training should involve a lot of running, carrying heavy weights and pulling yourself up. So maybe the 300 workout was right, too.
Right now, to add more tip: enhance your endurance and stamina, your balance, and your grip strength.
By the way, in times that you cannot or fail to do a specific obstacle during the race, the penalty is 30 burpees. So another perfect tip, perfect your burpees. Start by doing 5. And then 10. Then 15. Until your body can take 30. I swear It’ll save you a hell lot! 10 days before my race, I do 30 burpees in the morning and 30 burpees in the evening.
It also helps to at least (but not required) try the signature Spartan obstacles inside the gym. Yes! And I know 2 places in the metro that can cater to it:
4. Eat Healthily
I wasn’t the healthiest person in the room when it comes to food intake but, at least I try. I asked friends, watched fitness vloggers, researched on what meal plan do I need for Spartan Race. Please be reminded that a diet that worked for me might or might not work for you.
But it is highly advisable to drink plenty of water especially if your race day is one week away! A high-carb diet is a prerequisite thing to do at least one week prior to the event. Skip the alcohol and save it to reward yourself after.
5. Gear up!
Your race includes a lot of running, mud, walls, barbed wire, fire, and everything you can imagine depending on the venue. As per the experts, wearing cotton is the last thing you will do because well, it holds a lot of water when it became wet that leads to heavier gear and we don’t want that when we are running, right? Compression gears are better I suggest. Less is best and find the perfect shoes for trail running.
Also, you need to have extra gear just in case. In my time, for example, I planned to wear a sleeveless compression shirt but I should have just wore the one with long sleeves. It was raining during my race but the sun went out in the middle of my race so my shoulders got sunburned! Lesson learned. But an instant tan fix was a reward.
Also important: sunscreen!
Grip gloves are okay but most of them are useless when wet. But bringing them with you wouldn’t hurt much too.
6. Be curious but be ready
I have no idea what it’s like to do Spartan. But I was hella excited. And most likely, Spartan Races will never reveal the trail not until it’s race day. So you need to be ready for the signature obstacles and ‘surprise’ obstacles. It fecking pays to be prepared.
7. Enjoy every moment.
I cannot stress this enough. Rain or shine, you will enter a combat zone that no other Spartan has experienced. You need to be ready. Physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Leave your doubts and your doubts will also leave you alone.
MY PRE-RACE DAY:
A group of friends adopted me and 2 other people during the Trifecta Weekend. They are sooo nice to offer 3 vacant car seats for us! Bless them. That was the best carpool moment with strangers SO FAR.
So we reached Subic around 4 or 5 Saturday afternoon. And we had to meet again around 6 pm for dinner. They call it “carbo-loading” and it means eating a high-carbohydrate meal the evening (at least 12-hour) before participating in a sports event in order to have lots of energy on the day.
By the way, The Saturday event where Beast elite and Beast open category are scheduled got canceled because of the Super Typhoon Ompong. Oh, the odds. So all three races will proceed to happen on Sunday. Surprise, trifecta racers! Your first obstacle is a super typhoon. Can I get an #aroo?
So since the team was expecting a lot of racers to mob the parking lot where shuttles going to the venue are located, they decided to go early. And fuck my fucked up sleeping pattern, I pulled out because I want a complete hour of sleep. Because 1.) they were all doing Super and 2.) I was the only one from our team to do Sprint and my heat time is not until 12nn
I met a girl who also went there solo and who happen to be staying at the same hostel as mine and decided to go together to the shuttle venue. Yes hahaha we gotta be super friendly to share the taxi fare.
When my heat time was 5 minutes away, standing before the start line was momentous. I felt so good and energized that I want to sprint so fast but I remembered to start my pace relaxed to conserve energy because I did know that sprint was 6+km but I didn’t know what kind of trail there was to see, what kind of challenges there was to meet.
To be running at a latter heat time, was for me, a little bit sad. Honestly. Because the trail was muddy as ever. I heard two Spartans who happen to ran during the first heats said that the trail during the morning wasn’t like that! But that’s alright, both feet hurt a little bit because I was trying to run on the slope side of the trail because it was the part that was dry.
The heartbreaking part for Sprints was the first 3 water stations that ran out of water to drink, and we were running for like 3km+ of jungle trail already. Please be reminded that the majority of the racers from the Sprint category were first-timers, so running a spartan race was a new activity that requires the body plenty of water to energize.
But the scene during my time I was in the jungle with all these racers was heroic. I love the fact that the Spartan community stayed helpful inside the Subic jungle. Random racers were always there to help struggling racers with cramps, giving out energy gels and salt sticks. I remember in the middle of the muddy trail, I was super exhausted. I cannot run because dehydration might happen and I have no idea how near or far the next water station is going to be. Then along the way, there were these 2 ladies asking a Spartan volunteer if it’s okay to ask for a drink from his half-full water bottle. The volunteer smiled and offered the water. The other lady saw me looking at them and immediately handed me the water smiling! Man, she did not even ask if I wanted some, she offered it without any second thought! I remember giving my most genuine thank you at that time. That, my dear, gave me a lot of smiles not just in my face, but also inside my heart.
And omg the moral support of everyone cheering each other! While racing, you will hear:
“Go! go! go!”
“Kaya mo yan!” (You can do it!)
“Malapit na tayo!” (The finish line is near!)
“Oh eto energy gel.” (Here, take this energy gel.)
“Excuse me are you alone? do you mind if we can do the obstacle together?”
Rope Climb – hell yeah! This obstacle was an instant favorite. Probably because I didn’t do it during training, and the one from race day was the first time that I encountered it and I did it! Guys, by simply watching techniques from youtube videos can save you a whole awful lot.
8 Foot Wall – Okay hahaha I am not tall. And even before I started training, I already doubted myself because I thought crossing these high walls are a pain in the ass. But guess what! Thank goodness I trained my upper body strength during my preparation. It helped me big time!
The Rigs – I trained hard with monkey bars. But I wasn’t sure with the rigs because they score at a different level of difficulty. But yup! I felt like an awesome ninja swinging my body from one rig to the other. I swear I wanted to do it again.
Some obstacles that I need to work on the next race:
The Monkey Bar – Of all the obstacles, this is the only one I thought I’ll go easy with. Because, fuck, I looove training for it back in the gym. But I guess the spaces between the bars were too far from each other for a tiny little me! But at least I was halfway before the cowbell when I failed.
Bucket Brigade – This obstacle is probably the most underrated one. Everyone thought it was easy. But as you trek the prescribed route with a bucket full of rocks, you’ll know that bucket brigade is no joke. It was so tiring! I had so many stops to sit down, compose myself, and recharge energy.
Atlas Carry and Hercules Hoist, I did both with help from other racers. I wasn’t sure if I really could not do it or if I didn’t try hard enough. But the thick mud didn’t help with the atlas carry and the rain also did not help with the hercules hoist. We’ll see the next race.
Oh by the way, here’s the result of my first race:
I finished Spartan Sprint in 2 hours and 19 minutes. I guess that’s not bad?
Oh and I got 12th in the age group category, and 186th overall. Something to beat next time!
Lessons from the first race?
Just freaking do it.
It was addictive. Next thing I know I am already signed up to do Super and Sprint in January 2019. Same day! Sounds scary but I will never gonna be doubting myself again. Because I’m more than that.
Do I hear an Aroo?
Yes, sir. Aroo!!!
By the way, as I write this blog post, I am already training for the next race. So if you want to add your own training tips, please comment below. I would be happy to know!
See you at the next finish line,
PS all rad photos are from Spartan Philippines! Thank you for all the hard work every day, guys!