Training For A Spartan Race: What I Did And What I Wish I Did

When Josiah and I were dating, he asked if I would ever do a Spartan Race with him. At the time I had no idea what that even was. He explained that it is an outdoor obstacle course race, and boy, did it sound intense. He promised that we could do the shortest version first, which is called a Sprint. Somehow, he convinced me and as I trained for it,  I came to love the idea of challenging myself, of seeing what my body can really do.

So for the first half of 2018, I trained for my first ever Spartan Race in Boise, Idaho. I went with my husband and my hardcore sister in June. It was great, and not as hard as I expected! Still, there are some things I wish I had done to better prepare myself for it. Here are my thoughts on the experience as a whole.


My husband, Josiah, destroying the Sandbag Carry


I did 30 burpees twice a day, five days a week for several months. At first I had to take tiny breaks after doing 5 or 10 burpees until I finished the set of 30. Then after a while my body toughened up. While this helped a lot (I did about 120 burpees during the race itself), I think that next time I will do even more on a daily basis.


Any Spartan Sprint is a distance of 3+ miles broken up by frequent obstacles. Not much running is required but if you want to finish in a certain amount of time it would be wise to do some running as part of your training. 

Even a few one mile runs every week leading up to the race can have a big impact. I typically ran about 2 miles every other day around my neighborhood then finished with a set of 30 burpees in front of my house.

Simply running through the neighborhood wasn't enough to fully prepare me for running during the race but I will get to that later.

Weight Lifting

A lot of the obstacles require upper body strength. There are walls to climb over, sandbags and buckets to carry, and so on. An ideal training plan would involve all of these but that is not always possible.

In preparation for my first Spartan Race I got really into weight-lifting at my local fitness center. I simply went to a class two or three times a week that focused on improving overall muscle strength.

The first time I went to one of these classes I couldn't even finish and everything hurt for days afterward. It felt really good to see improvement as I kept going back. As far as conquering obstacles, I think weight-lifting made the biggest difference.

Fitness Classes in General

Going to actual fitness classes helped push me to work hard and build my strength. Exercising on my own was good but seeing that a Spartan Race is a big challenge, I needed tough instructors to challenge me well in advance. Obviously, you need to train hard so that you won't have to face any big surprises on race day.


Me about to attempt the Multi Rig

Monkey Bars

While lifting weights was helpful, it didn't do enough to strengthen my grip. The most difficult obstacles for me were the Twister (where you have to carry yourself along a handled bar that rotates as you move without falling to the ground), the Multi Rig, and the Monkey Bars.

The next time I train for a Spartan Race I plan on going to the park often to practice on the monkey bars over and over again. And if I fall, I will do burpees like I would have to in an actual race.

Rope Climb

Obviously, the hanging obstacles were my greatest weakness. This first time around, I didn't have a rope to practice climbing on. I know how to do it in theory but I regret that I didn't put forth the effort to find a gym with a climbing rope or rig up my own.

While I had no expectation that I could do this in my first race, I plan on doing a lot better the next time around.

Trail Running in the Heat

I honestly like running, though I rarely go on very long runs. I like the rush and the sense of accomplishment. But I cannot stand running in the heat. 

When I do it, I get a bad headache that lasts throughout the day and into the night. I also don't like running in the dirt, I guess some people really do.

While training, I mostly just ran in the cool of the morning on the asphalt which did very little for me when it came to the actual race. 

Between obstacles I ended up walking most of the time to stave off a potential headache. I did run in some parts which was fun, but taking it slow probably helped me have a more enjoyable experience. Next time, though I want to be able to book it between all or most of the obstacles.

You can sometimes pick a morning time slot for the race but these times are mainly reserved for elite Spartans and they cost more. Since running in the heat of the day is more likely, training in the heat, unfortunately, is the way to go.

Despite the possibility of headaches I want to do better on my next Spartan Race. So next time, I will make an extra effort to do some trail running at midday. 

The combination of the heat, dirt, and steep hills at my first Spartan was harder than I anticipated. Even if you don't plan on trail running on a regular basis, a handful of runs on a steep dirt path could help you to mentally prepare for your Spartan Race.


The 2018 Boise Spartan was actually a lot of fun! It wasn't as brutal as I thought it would be. I also think of it as a practice run that gave me an idea of how to better train for my next Spartan Race.

I honestly thought that this would be a one time thing, but I have grown to love the physical challenge and I want to do it again but better!

My only disappointments other than my own short comings were the lack of mud and the fact that there was no tire flip at this particular race. There was some mud, yes, but not enough for me. I can't explain why I like getting dirty; I just do. 

And then there's the fact that crawling through the cool mud is quite refreshing between obstacles. Next time, I want to somehow find a race that has a lot of mud through the course.

Unfortunately, the lack of a tire flip can't really be helped. There are many obstacles that may or may not be featured in any given race, and you have no way of knowing which ones they will have until you get there. Oh, well. At some point I will get to flip a huge tire for the fun of it.

Thanks for reading! If you want to know more about Spartan Races follow this link for some helpful tips to conquering the 7 toughest obstacles of a Spartan Race. I will definitely be using these tips in the future.

Hi! My name is Kait. Follow this link to learn more about me and my blog.


  1. Kait and I want to complete a trifecta in the near future


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