If you're new to racing or coming back from a long break, forget trying to compete with the Elites and the other Age Groupers for a minute. Maybe you can take them on down the line, but for now, focus on your next-door neighbor, your colleague at work, your training partner, your best friend from back in the day, or even your mailman. Get ‘em on the horn and challenge them to beat you in a race in the next 30 days. The loser buys rematch tickets, while the winner — a good sport — buys lunch.
Let's be honest: Spartans are competitive. So, if you're itching to take on some friends, here are four areas where — if you prepare correctly — you can easily edge them out on the course, according to Age Group rising star, Brian Beal.
Tips to Win Spartan Races Against Your Friends
1. Run Uphill More Often
Obviously, not all races are long, flat, and fast. While your competitor might think a bunch of road runs will prepare them for a Spartan race, they’re wrong. Beal’s rule for taking the win on a course with ample elevation gain is climbing around 5,000-6,000 feet uphill each week.
“I think right around 40 miles a week over four to five days seems to be the perfect amount if you're dedicated,” he says.
Try doing one long run at a slow pace, one day of hill repeats, one short run at a quicker pace, and rest somewhere in between. And if you're running a shorter race, cut the total mileage in half.
2. Do 1-Mile Carries
Carrying a bucket or a sandbag for a mile sounds like hell, but it’s one simple concept that can quickly get you back into race shape in no time, according to Beal.
“You can make up a lot of time getting good at carrying the bucket," he says. "If you train with it now, you won’t come on race day surprised that the bucket weighs nearly half as much as you do."
3. Improve on the Monkey Bars
Pull-ups and dead hangs are great. (In fact, they're essential for the upper-body strength you need on race day.) But while your competitor is pumping out reps, you should sharpen or re-sharpen your abilities to leverage your momentum.
“If you've got the grip strength to hold yourself on obstacles, add a little bit of technique,” he says.
This means getting on those monkey bars regularly.
4. Get Better at Burpees
“I don't train burpees because I refuse to say that I'm going to fail anything ahead of time, ever,” Beal says.
But regardless, Beal is borderline Elite, and there’s no room for error for him. If you haven’t been out on the course in months or years, you might benefit from doing burpees in training to tighten them and shave off time wherever you can. Beal’s daily bodyweight routine is 75 pull-ups and 100 push-ups a day. To get your burpee fix, add 30 burpees to this routine.