This will be my third year of spartan. After talking to friends about it, they decided to join the fun but they started asking me questions, wanting to know where to train, what to wear and if there were any challenges in particular to prepare for. I worried – being their friend – that they may not take my advice seriously, so I thought I would talk to past runners to get their insight.
First stop Robert. He’s 58 years-old and has a few half marathons under his belt. He’s is running his second Spartan sprint this year. My questions were simple at first. I asked him why he decided to run Spartan. He said his daughter had encouraged him. He said he didn’t know much about the event until she talked about it and that intrigued him enough to try it out himself.
I then asked what his favourite part of the event was last year. Robert said that he’d come across the wall that you have to climb over and because he was running alone he had to combat this challenge solo. He remembers watching teams helping each other up and over the wall. He says he thought to himself, ‘Next year I will be on a team”. Just then Robert said a member of that team give him a leg up to get over the wall. He thought that was a great thing for the stranger to do. His advice for up-and-comers: do hill training, drink water, and pace yourself. August in Calgary is very hot. He warns that there was only one water station on the course. Be prepared!!
I then talked to Melissa a 29 Muay Thai fighter. A person that could kick my butt all over the city. She says she decided to run the event after talking to friends. She explained it added some diversity to the already intense training workouts that she already does.
Being an athlete, Melissa said she will push herself even more this year, with the hope of beating her time from last year. She said this year she wouldn’t walk past any of the many water pits and admitted she did try to complete them last year but after getting stuck and having someone pull her out, (again, a kind stranger) she walked the last pit.
Because Melissa doesn’t spend a lot of her training time running, she said she would kick that up a notch this year. Keeping in mind that each heat is very big and some spots of the event slow you down because there are so many runners and not a lot of space. She wants to make up her time in between the obstacles with a sprint.
Melissa’s words for future racers: Have as much fun as you want with this event. Be as serious or as laid back as you want. Just enjoy!! Hydrate and make sure you eat well the day before, wear sunscreen and the right clothes. Like Robert she ran early in the day and wondered how the later day runners coped.
My tip? Don’t wear any clothes that you truly love. All the pits of mud, burpees and pipes you have to crawl through will no doubt ruin your workout wear. Remember that many people have lost a shoe or two in the pits. So don’t go wearin’ your brand new favourite pair of shoes. Bring a change of clothes and shoes for after the race so you don’t mess up your car like I did last year. It took me 2 hours to clean all the mud out!