4 Tips to Train for Your First Spartan Sprint 5K Race

4 Tips to Train for Your First Spartan Sprint 5K Race
Presented by Spartan Training®

The Spartan Sprint is a 5K, or 3.1-mile, obstacle course race featuring 20 signature Spartan obstacles. It's also the first Spartan race that most beginners or first-time races complete. If you're ready to start your fitness journey and join a 10 million+ strong community, here's everything you need to get you to the start line feeling race ready. 

Your first step is complete — you’ve signed up and committed to your first Spartan Sprint. Now you need a Spartan Sprint training plan to prepare for the 5K, 20-obstacle race. (And if you haven’t committed yet, what are you waiting for? Find a race already!)

When you have a decent base of strength and endurance, you should be well-equipped to persevere to the finish line (except for some of the upper-body obstacles). But if you’re looking to really push your limits and see what you can do, use the following tips below. 

Related: These Are the Best Spartan Races for Beginners

The 4 Basics of a Spartan Sprint Training Plan

1. Build a Solid Running Base

spartan sprint training plan

Since a Sprint is the shortest of Spartan races, you won’t need to log loads of miles, but you don’t want to go in without having a base of running endurance, says Spartan Master Coach Trevor Franklin. He suggests working three runs into your Spartan Sprint training plan per week (depending on your fitness level), consisting of anywhere between 2 to 3 miles.

Two of those runs should be focused on running itself and controlling your heart rate – don't worry about your speed. The third run of the week could include intervals of running broken up by a mix of exercises like pull-ups, push-ups, and burpees to better simulate the actual race, he adds.

Related: Can Running Slow Most of the Time Actually Make You Faster?

2. Improve Your Grip Strength

spartan sprint training plan

There is a lot of pulling in a Spartan race, regardless of the distance. That means your forearms, biceps, and back need strength and endurance. Coach Trevor recommends strength training two to three days per week.

Related: The 6-Move Workout to Build Greater Grip Strength

“A sample schedule could be upper pull, upper push, and lower, and on the upper pull and lower days you should work in pull-ups, dead hangs, and farmer carries,” he says.

Do you have trouble with pull-ups? Check out these three ways to get better at pull-ups now, or try this Spartan-approved 4-week pull-up workout plan.

3. Practice Other Full-Body Functional Movements

spartan sprint training plan

Aside from needing a lot of grip and pulling strength, you’ll be doing a lot of crawling and climbing under, over, and around awkward and challenging obstacles. Coach Trevor’s recommendation is to also practice things like bear crawls for obstacles like the Barbed Wire Crawl and dips for getting over walls.

“Don’t forget to add things like t-spine rotations to your Spartan Sprint training plan to improve your thoracic mobility and prevent injury,” he adds.

Need more ideas? Check out our 30 best exercises for functional strength and mobility.

4. Set Your Goal Before Race Day

Group Photo Finish Line Arizona Sprint Race

Because many Spartan races take place on uneven terrain – which is often rocky, grassy, hilly and interspersed with water crossings and obstacles – when Coach Trevor was training for his first Spartan race, he added 10 minutes to his overall 5K time as a gold medal, then went down from there.

“Think of your best 5K time you’ve ran, then get a bronze, silver, and gold medal goal for yourself time-wise with which you'd be happy,” he says.

Finishing alone is a huge accomplishment, but also pushing yourself to achieve goals that you personally set can be HUGE. Ready to sign up for your first Spartan Sprint race?

SIGN UP FOR A 2024 SPARTAN RACE NOW: The 2024 Spartan Race Schedule: Dates, Details, Venues, and More

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