This year is going to be extra special for Spartans the world over. Not only is the calendar filled with world-class events all across the globe, but the Spartan World Championship — set for Dec. 3-5 in Abu Dhabi — will be hosted outside the United States for the first time in the company's illustrious history. After a mostly postponed 2020 season, racing is finally back, and competitors of all levels will be throwing down at a venue near you.
In the lead-up to race season and the World Championship, Spartan reached out to iconic Spartan racer Lindsay Webster. One of the most accomplished OCR racers of all time, Webster is a two-time Spartan World Champion, two-time Spartan North American Champion, and a four-time United States National Series champion. Her tremendous insight encompasses not only the new season, but also what it will take to compete her best in Abu Dhabi, considering the lengthy travel time and challenging desert conditions.
'The Structure Remains the Same'
“Each year I try out a few new things during my prep for the season, to see how my body responds, but for the most part the structure remains the same,” Webster says. “The preseason (winter) includes base building and lots of strength work, physio, and injury prevention.”
Notable for this phase is the fact that when the weather is poor, there's a greater motivation to get stronger indoors. This is when the time spent improving the body’s capacity to sustain its peak over the later part of the season comes into play.
“In the early season, we start to incorporate more speed work, lots of tempo runs, and a little more structure,” she says.
Structure comes in the form of developing goal thresholds for workouts. These intense training bouts begin to acclimate the body to what it will experience during a race, and the structure in the routine allows for a bit more specialization prior to the season really getting underway.
Recovery Becomes the Focus As the Championship Nears
“During race season, there's a huge focus on recovery," she says, "since training becomes pretty structured and there is a lot of racing with less time to recover in between them."
When it comes to the season’s final event in Abu Dhabi — with its undulations, sand, salt flat sections, and exposure — the opportunity to race this new terrain will be a unique factor for Spartans of all experience levels. In Webster's case, it means trying to offset the pressure of a championship race with sound and informed preparation.
“I'm excited for this opportunity to race on terrain and conditions that will be completely new to me," she said. "I'm also really excited to explore the culture of Abu Dhabi. When championship season arrives, the races become really competitive, and it's what we've built towards with our training all year long.
"These are the races that can be pretty stressful, since there's a big emotional importance for us to perform. When I'm really nervous in the few days leading up to the race, I just remind myself that my job isn't to win. My job is to do the best I can on the day, and to trust the training process that's led me here.”
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These many factors affect all Spartans, regardless of skill level. Elites and pros battle the same roadblocks and concerns — including jitters related to new venues and global travel — as the rest of us, but the right preparation can help you overcome all of it. In Webster's case, her sentiments echo our own.
“I think in 2021, I'm just excited for the opportunity to race again," she beams.
We couldn't agree more.