Tips and Inspiration from the Spartan Race Community for First-Time Racers

Tips and Inspiration from the Spartan Race Community for First-Time Racers
Presented by Spartan Training®

Trying something new can be intimidating, especially when it's something physically demanding and you're worried about what others will think of you. The good news about signing up for your first Spartan race is that the racing community is willing and ready to support you. If you don't believe us, here's what the Spartan community had to say about whether fitness newbies are capable of completing an obstacle course race.

One of the most common questions that people newer to fitness ask us is, "Can I run a Spartan race?" For every person that signs up for a Spartan race, there are five who almost do. If you’re one of the millions of people out there thinking about it but unsure whether you'll fit in or be able to finish, this article is for you.

We asked the Spartan community whether someone “new to fitness” could complete a Spartan race.

Here’s what they said.

David Vandersmith

Yes, you can totally do a Spartan race.

For your first Spartan experience, I would recommend not really thinking of it as a “race," but rather a test. It’ll test you mentally and physically. Try every obstacle! Some of them can be a little scary, but you’ll be surprised at what you can accomplish if you’re determined. You may “fail” certain obstacles, and that’s fine. You just do your burpees and move on.

Race smart and take your time with the obstacles. If you’re not sure how to do an obstacle, watch a few people do it until you get the idea. If you still don’t understand, ask a volunteer or fellow racer. Most are more than happy to help.

Your first race and probably the next few — if not every race you ever do — will show you some of the “weak spots” in your fitness/training. Use that to refine your training for the next race.

Have fun and just keep moving. The finish line will show up eventually.

Related: If You Can Do One of These 8 Things, You Can Do a Spartan Race

Ahren Strumpf

Virtually anyone with heart, determination, and a never-quit attitude can complete a Spartan race.

How easily the race is completed and the speed of recovery after the event is determined by the level of conditioning/training the individual partakes in.

Experienced racers and all athletes will agree that an experience like this is most enjoyable with preparation. No gym membership is required — just simple exercises like squats, crunches, sit-ups, leg lifts, calf raises, push-ups, pull-ups, bicep curls, and wrist curls.

And, of course, burpees! (The more the better…)

Additional important things are a healthy diet and proper hydration.

Ryan Boubelik

Anyone with some determination, heart, pride, desire, and a will to succeed can run a race. Sometimes for one person, it takes running the race with a team in order to pick them up when they feel defeated.

As a first-time racer, you probably won’t be the fastest and you may not even be the slowest. The only thing that matters is that you cross the finish line. The only person you are racing against is yourself, so don’t just sign up for one. Sign up for multiple races and compete against yourself, and strive to do better and better each time. After the first race, evaluate how it went, think about what you felt were your strong areas and also your weak points, and where you had to do burpees. Then work on those things.

If you want to do fewer burpees on the course, check out the workouts on the Spartan FIT app, or contact a local SGX coach and train with them.

Philomena Kiernan

Yes, you can. Don’t consider it a race. It will be an accomplishment to finish. Try to get a group together, especially for your first. And even if you can’t get a group, everyone in the race will help you. The fellowship is one of the best things about a Spartan race.

Everyone wants you to succeed, and you will! Crossing the first finish line is the best feeling in the world.

Related: Joining a Team Optimizes Performance, and There's Science to Prove It

Jamie Nair

Of course you can run a Spartan race.

It’s a great way to get you hooked on working out. After running my first race, I have started working out harder and smarter. The drive you get and the hunger for another race under your belt becomes so fierce that you will do anything to do better on your next one. You can think of your first race as a test of yourself, and use that as a way to start making progress.

Related: Spartan Race Training: How to Get Fit for Your First Spartan Race FAST

George Celaya

My comment is going to be a little different than the others I have read.

It is true: Anyone can do a race with enough determination. However, I do recommend that you don’t just do it straight off the coach, and I recommend starting with a Sprint.

I say that because if you do one and it just totally wipes you out — and you’re not accustomed to that — there is a good chance you will be miserable and you won’t want to do it again.

So, I recommend that you put some training into it. I started with a Sprint last year, went to a Super, and then a Beast. This year, I challenged myself to a Super/Sprint weekend. I run my third race this month, and another next month. I am totally hooked, and every race I get a little better and have to do less burpees.

Dan Stowe

Short answer: Yes.

Long(er) answer: My first SR was a Stadion race. There were so many different types and shapes of people running that course, yet they all had one common trait: perseverance.

From the person who couldn’t do the box jump and had to step up, to the person who couldn’t get over the wall and needed assistance from a couple of people, even to the person who took almost 10 minutes to get 30 burpees done — I was there and, not joking, I waited until that person was done. It was awesome. — they all persevered and got that finisher’s shirt and medal at the end. They had huge smiles on their faces, too.

If you’ve got drive, determination and perseverance, it won’t matter your shape or “type.” You’ll get it done.

Alex Catherine

Absolutely. A huge part of Spartan racing is going into it with the right attitude. If you believe you can finish, then you’re already three-fourths of the way there. Never stop moving, and always believe that you CAN. You just have to put that thought into action.

Teri Lynn


As long as you have the motivation and perseverance, anyone can do a SR. That’s part of what makes it so great.

I ran my first Super and Sprint completely solo. I wouldn’t have mentally made it without the people I encountered during the race.

Running these changed me and gave me a new hobby and passion for fitness. Just be warned: They are addicting.

Kevin Hoover

Do it! While it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a solid fitness foundation built on cardio and functional strength training, don’t put off participating because you don’t think you’re “there yet.” You already have friends on the course that you didn’t even know existed, and everybody works together to make sure that no Spartan is left behind.

Sarah Vecchione Forliano


Spartan is for nearly everyone! You are racing against yourself. Get stronger than you’ve been before, and get better than you’ve been before. You can do it!

Jody Brown

Absolutely you can, and if you do … it will be amazing. Camaraderie amongst your fellow Spartans is fantastic.

I definitely recommend going at your own pace, but with determination and grit you can finish.

Cardio is for sure a must, with some weights if possible. And, of course … burpees.


Benjamin Bass

Yes! Because that was me last year. I was 260 pounds when I started working out in February. I did my first Spartan race in May, weighing in at 226 pounds.

Danielle Santapaola

Yes! I ran my first Spartan after just starting to begin to exercise regularly. I don’t have much upper-body strength, but I was shocked at what my body could accomplish when I pushed it. For what I couldn’t handle, my friends — new and old — were there to give me a hand over a wall or in any other way they could.

Everyone is super supportive and everyone is on your team. It is hard, but it’s beyond fun, and everyone is physically capable as long as their hearts are set on completing it.

Related: 10 Best Exercises to Train for Your First Spartan Race

Erik Johnson

Yes. Start with a Sprint. You can opt out of obstacles and do burpees instead if you find something too challenging. You even can go at your own pace, so don’t worry about time.

Phil Griffin

Yes, you can, although I would not just jump into the Super as your first race, like I did. I made it because I was determined and had the help and support of others around me. I watched several competitors quit who were obviously in better shape than me. Mentally strong is more important than physically strong. (Though physical strength will help you immensely.)

Cody Allen

I’ve run into people with this issue. They seem intimidated by it. Some have doubts about whether they can do it. Others just say that they can’t.

Yes, you can. I drove a couple to their first Spartan race, in Miami, and they were worried about how hard it would be. I told them that you get out what you put in. You can go out there and take a long time if you need to.

The level of reward you receive will reflect on the amount of effort you put into it.
No one needs to go out there and be an all-star athlete to run a Spartan race. Just get out there and give it your all. Then you’ll understand the phrase, “You’ll know at the finish line.”

Jessica Calhoun

Yes, you can. Keep a good pace, and just focus on finishing. Going with a team helps, but everyone out there will help you. It is an incredible community, and you won’t be alone, no matter what.

It's one of the best things I have ever done in my whole life. Don’t overthink it. Just sign up, and create a plan to train for it.

Noelle Jahnke Dellwo

Yes! I was amazed at the camaraderie among the contestants. I highly recommend doing it with a team. I had only been working out for three months beforehand, and my asthma was bad due to high heat and humidity. I could not have done it without their support.

Mitch Mod

I smoked a pack a day for 20 years and ran the Vermont Beast, Your mind can make your body go until it fails. Strengthen your mind, and only death can stop you.

Robert Moffitt

Yes, but do so at a moderate pace, have lots of water and food on hand, and be ready to take as many breaks as you need.

Misty Diaz

If I can run it on crutches, you've so got this.

Angela McMahon

YES! Absolutely. Set your own pace and let people support you along the way. Better yet, take a friend who’s new.

I did my first Spartan in 2013 with my daughter, who did her first the year before. Since then I’ve brought lots of people into the fold.

Clint Maloy

If you choose to begin, then you choose to endure. You will finish. Only then will you know at the finish line.

Carl Courtemanche

Yes, you can. You should train, and start with the Sprint. It helps if you can have a friend or get on a team. Practice burpees.

These quotes were curated from our Facebook page, and have been edited slightly for length and clarity.

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