What I Learned During and After the Spartan Race


About the Spartan Race: As ESPN labeled it, “A True Test of Will”, The Spartan race is a combination of an obstacle course and a trail run of various lengths (3 Miles+ Sprint, 8 Miles+ Super, and 12 Miles+Beast). Events are held all over the world. Finishing the race will provide you with a medal, a t-shirt, and the pride of knowing that you are a SPARTAN.

Spartan Race: Ohio… What Were We thinking?

Late in 2014, Christina and I decided that we were going to train for a Spartan Race. Both of us doing personal training and nutrition for clients. I am much more built around pure strength, while Christina is much better built for endurance. We decided to change our workout plans to incorporate more body weight training and compete in a few trail/street races to prepare for the Ohio Sprint.


What We Learned About Weight Training…

Upper body and grip strength is key! Christina and I knew that these were going to be contributing factors in how we performed during the race. We trained weekly with pull-ups, seated lat pull downs, rack pulls (Dustin Only), shoulder presses, lateral raises, frontal raises, rear delt training, bench press, inclined bench press, dips, and multiple bicep exercises.

We broke up our week as follows:

Monday- Legs

Tuesday- Chest

Wednesday- Back

Thursday- Arms

Friday- Shoulders/More Pull-ups

We changed up the workouts from time to time. Sometimes they were heavier weight with less reps, while others included super and giant sets. I think we trained correctly associated with strength training.


What We Learned About Cardio…

Christina is a full-time Zumba instructor and loves running street and trail races. I on the other hand did not do enough cardio. I did run a few 5k races (both street and trail) and did log some miles on the treadmill, but about 1 month before the Spartan Race, I lost all motivation to run. This is obviously a problem with you are are doing a nearly 5 mile race.

My suggestion:

Log 10 miles a week at a jogging pace. 

What We Learned About Clothing…

What you wear is almost as important to how much you trained before the event. The key is to wear little to no cotton clothing. Make sure to use waterproof sunblock!

Christina wore a Reebok fitted workout shirt with a polyester blend. She wore Reebok Spartan capri. She wore Flag Nor Fail underwear, and the 1st Phorm Never Settle sports bra. She wore Polyester socks and New Balance Minimus Trail Running shoes. She also wore training gloves.

Dustin wore no shirt, Oakley Board Shorts, athletic compression boxers, polyester socks, and New Balance Minimus Trail Running shoes. I wore no gloves.

So What Did We Learn About the Spartan?

We both completed the race around 2 hours (we stayed together). I finished all 23 obstacles without having to do any burpees. Christina did amazing and finished 18 of 23 obstacles (completing 150 burpees). The hardest obstacles for me was the rope climb out of the mud pit (approximately 20+ feet), rope climb up 45 degree slope covered in mud, 8 foot wall climb, and Z wall. Most of these were difficult because of the amount of upper body and grip strength needed. Christina excelled in all events other than the rope climbs towards the end. Women and men were both having a lot of trouble completing those sections. The Z wall was also nearly impossible for the participants.

Need assistance planning a workout around an upcoming event? Contact Team Nutrition Train! See you in Pittsburgh in October!

Lift Heavy My Friends,

Dustin Holston
1st Phorm
Personal Trainer/Nutritionist

Nutrition and Personal Training

Certified Personal Trainer, Nutritionist, MBA, and Firm Administrator of a Law Firm.

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