Sometimes all you need to tackle a workout or race is the motivation of a friend or partner. Research shows that tackling hard things with a partner, especially in a team format, can not only allow you to perform athletically for longer, but you're also more likely to experience a better overall performance. Here's how Spartan's most notorious couple has continued to crush the obstacle course racing game for years.
Spouses Lindsay Webster and Ryan Atkins have become well known and unbeatable in the Spartan world over the past decade. Between the two racers, they've earned gold in multiple Spartan North American and World Championships, Atkins is a two-time winner of the Spartan Ultra World Championships (now replaced by World's Toughest Mudder), and Webster has become widely regarded as the best Spartan racer of all time.
The Spartan couple loves to train together, and out of the 12-14 training sessions they both do every week, roughly five of them happen together, Atkins says.
“If I have a tempo run planned, I can do it with Ryan while he runs easy,” Webster explains. “Or if we both have a recovery day planned, we’ll just go on a long slow adventure together.”
Here's how this power couple continues to train and dominate across the world of endurance racing today.
Ryan Atkins and Lindsay Webster's Secrets to Endurance Training Success
SPARTAN RACE: How did you two meet?
LINDSAY WEBSTER: We met at a mountain bike race! Ryan was living with one of my good friends from high school at the time. When I went to say hi to my friend, he introduced Ryan and me. Our friend ended up being best man at our wedding.
SR: Lindsay, what do you love about Ryan?
LW: So many things! His endless joy for life and excitement for each day rub off on me and remind me daily how we should live our lives. There is a lot of singing and dancing in our house because of him. When it comes to racing, I admire how Ryan always finds new sports to try and incorporate into his training to keep it fresh and exciting. He never gets caught up in being too strategic with his training regimen, or other things that make athletes burn out. I’ve learned so much through his ability to analyze a race course and play to his strengths, which in turn has also made me a better racer.
SR: And Ryan? What’s it about Lindsay that you adore?
RYAN ATKINS: I love Lindsay’s ability to put up with me and my antics. I love her big heart and how she has so much love for her friends, family and fans. They’re truly the most important things in life to her. Experiences are awesome, but to Lindsay, they’re made that way because of the people you experience them with. I love that she opens my heart to more people, more experiences, and it makes me a better person every day.
SR: What do you two like to do together, aside from activity?
RA: We love traveling together, experiencing new cultures and hunting down the best local coffee and craft beer. We really enjoy cooking meals together and trying new healthy recipes. We love our life together on our little “farm” at home, where lots of wood chopping happens, taking care of the chickens or tapping trees for maple syrup. We both love “creating,” whether that’s woodworking, sewing projects or making beeswax wraps to force our friends and family into minimizing plastic waste.
SR: Do you train together?
LW: Yes, but not every day. Out of 12-14 training sessions in a week, we maybe do five of them together. For example, if we’re doing hill intervals that day, we’ll be in the same spot but doing them at different speeds. If I have a tempo run planned, I can do it with Ryan while he runs easy. Or if we both have a recovery day planned, we’ll just go on a long slow adventure together.
SR: Are you competitive against each other?
LW: I think in some aspects of life we are, but not really in racing. I am probably a better skier than Ryan, but he’s on a mission to catch up to me, and teases me each time we ski that he thinks he’s eclipsed me now. However, when it comes to obstacle racing, we’re just a support system and sounding board for each other.
The Ryan Atkins and Lindsay Webster Couples Workout
If you're interested in training like Spartan's power couple, start with trying the interval workout that they do on the regular. For the set-up, you’ll need something a little unconventional: A harness.
“One person runs, one person is on the bike,” Webster explains. “The person who’s running wears a harness, and is attached to the person on the bike with a bungee cord or rope. The runner pulls the person on the bike, while the person on the bike holds the brakes halfway to create resistance.”
- Run for two minutes at max effort
- Rest for one minute
- Repeat eight to 10 times
“If you’re up for a real challenge, we’ve even done as many as five minutes at max effort at one time, with two minutes of rest for six sets,” Webster says. “You can structure the intervals however you want, but it’s always a great workout! Then we swap, and the biker does the running intervals.”