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How should I prepare for my first Spartan Race? – N&P


It’s Spartan week here at Barbell Shrugged.

The entire crew will be running the 2015 SoCal Spartan Sprint in Temecula, CA on January 25th. Come out and run with us if you’re in Southern California this weekend. It’s sure to be an intense, startling and inspiring race.

There will be plenty of media to capture the madness, which is good news if you’d rather skip-out on the muddy fire pits, precarious monkey bars, and chafed thighs. Also, you’ll certainly see some awesome new DAILY posts and podcast episodes recounting each moment of the experience.

Stay tuned, you’re going to love it.

This week on the show we chat with Hunter McIntyre, Professional Spartan-Racer, expert party animal, and bearer of a pretty sick Macho Man Randy Savage tattoo. Yes, as you might imagine, we had a blast shooting Barbell Shrugged, but we also made time for some Nuggets & Pearls.

This week, we’re talking obstacle course training.

Epic podcast and trail run w/ @spartanrace champion @huntthesheriff today.

A photo posted by BarbellShrugged.com (@barbellshruggedpodcast) on


How should I prepare for my first Spartan Race?

There are a few things to keep in mind. First, you really should consider doing some running, particularly if you plan on surviving the longer events. But not just any running will do.

Make sure you get out and find some hills. Run them hard. Get used to churning your feet and pushing through that initial, vicious quadriceps burn on the steep climbs. Get comfortable on your descents as well, this is a skill like anything else. Practice counts. Make it specific and intense.

There’s really no way to replace hill work, but you can get pretty close with hard cycle sprints and heavy sled pushes.

The running part is pretty intimidating, especially for a former powerlifter/football player meathead like myself (judgement day on the 25th will be here before I know it!). But it would be a mistake to only run in preparation for a Spartan event.

You won’t have much of an idea of the obstacles you’ll face on race day, but you can be sure that strength will play a big role. Heavy rope pulls. Awkward stones. The hill climb itself…Your ability to exert high force under fatigue is critical.

In addition to the hills, make sure that you are still devoting plenty of time to traditional barbell training. Push the classical lifts, just like you would for Crossfit. A better squat, pull and press can only help you perform better. And just like any weightlifter, you really should be targeting weaknesses with special exercises. Bring up your muscular endurance and work capacity with tons of pull-ups with multiple grips and loads. Play with rocks and timber, the more variety, the better.

You don’t have to squat 250 kilos or snatch double bodyweight, but working the lifts will help you be more powerful, mobile, and athletic out on the course, which is certainly a great thing. The higher you can get your relative strength, the better off you’ll be.

Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 12.19.03 PMDon’t miss the Barbell Shrugged guys on the Spartan Up! podcast

Make sure to tune into the full N&P episode for some more strategies on gear and nutrition come race day, you can’t skip that part. The race really is tough. You will need protection on your limbs. You will need to be rested and well-fueled going into the event.

But don’t let all this preparation talk make you too tense. These races aren’t designed to simply crush and expose you, not the Sprint courses at least. No, if anything, the purpose is just to show you what you’re capable of. Coming off the mountain – the backside of that obstacle you swore you couldn’t clear – I think you’ll be smiling. Muddy and chafed, sure, but smiling.

Have fun,



For more

  • Don’t miss the premiere of episode 160 of Barbell Shrugged with Hunter McIntyre this Wednesday, January 22nd. You can also learn more about Spartan Race HERE.
  • Become a successful Weightlifter – Learn to take FLIGHT.


Chris Moore is a writer, recovering meathead, fledgling raconteur and rabid imbiber. He's also cohost and resident potty mouth on Barbell Shrugged, a weekly podcast devoted to Crossfit, strength, fitness and all things brash. His experience is drawn from over twenty-years spent training for and competing in American Football, Powerlifting, a bit of strongman and a dash of mixed martial arts. Also, it's possible that he's had one too many cups of coffee. A caffeine fever is a hell of a thing, you know?


  • Finally! Spartan race advice with running. I could only find obstacle type training for runners. Is there any more advice or a plan for the running portion? Like you said it’s not your standard running course. I would love to find a specific plan to help with the running. Non of the standard 10k type plans seem to fit the bill. Thanks

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