Training and racing the spartan way – quarantine virtual style!

Training and racing the spartan way – quarantine virtual style!

With this adventure many of us have had to alter routines and are spending a heap of time at home.  Not only that, we are seeing the great sacrifices made by our healthcare heroes as well as many other people … THANK YOU. 

We reached out to our partners at Spartan UK to see if we could get their help in our quest to raise awareness of donating SOS to hospitals in UK.  They did more than that, they offered to host their first virtual race in support of the hero’s.

As such I needed to step up to the plate and become a Spartan (virtually at least). As a veteran and runner, I am used to obstacle courses and circuits but had never done a Spartan.  That still holds true today as this was just a virtual one but it’s one step on the path to making that reality.

Here is a brief diary of the week leading up to the race.

Monday morning I was invited to #linkedinlive with Spartan Founder Joe De Sena. It was a cracking chat and truly inspirational, complete with some simple tips like stretching, pullups and a kettlebell called Leo.

It was a perfect set up for the week which began with me gawping at the list of obstacles I had to tackle.  I was sweating reading them and needed a translator! Thank heavens for You Tube and the Spartan virtual race coaching videos. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CPlOJ3lTkUM&list=PLZKI-V4L4XF7gnbWOkqekFMEusxPVpyWm

 

  • 5km run or equivalent
  • 10 push-ups
  • 10 burpees
  • 10 mountain climbers (per side)
  • 10 jumping jacks
  • 10 air squats
  • 10 forward lunges (per side)
  • 10 hand-release push-ups
  • 10 tuck jumps
  • 10 plank up-downs
  • 10 plank shoulder taps (per side)
  • 10 knee slap mountain climbers (per side)
  • 10 backward lunges (per side)
  • 10 glute bridge raises 
  • 10 dips
  • 10 decline push-ups
  • 10 single-leg squats (per side)
  • 10 double leg calf raises
  • 10-second plank
  • 10-second 6-inch leg hold
  • 10-second iso-squat

Wednesday, I decided that I needed to get some training in, so I did a quick run through of the exercises. My best time was 8.51.  The style was a way off, but I have to say it was fun.  I was sweating a heap and looking forward to adding a 5km to the adventure at the weekend.

Next on a quick week’s preparation plan was to expand my stretching / yoga routine to ensure that I was warming up and flexing those muscles I haven’t used for a few years. I certainly felt them Thursday.  SOS certainly helped here as it keeps the joints supple.

 

Best part of the week on Friday when the Spartan Headband arrived in the post … I was now all set! 

 

The weekend:

The plan wasn’t to complete two races in the weekend, but after Saturday’s effort I knew even though I maxed out there was more in the tank.  It was only fair then that I put myself to the test

Saturday saw me having breakfast with the little ones as normal and slipping into my triathlon prerace routine - hydration, protein and carb shake, kit preparation, active stretching and finally chilling) Not knowing what to expect there were certainly some nerves but like with anything once I began it was all about the race.

I went out on the 5km like a startled hare and came back like a turtle, straight into the office / gym to begin the obstacles.

I’m sure you would all have one exercise that would be your nemesis on that list.  Mine was the single leg squats.  Luckily, these came towards the end of the routine. They weren’t pretty and required extra focus when already drained.

Elated I finished a respectable 28:55. 19:31 for the 5km, 1.09 transition and 8:15 for the obstacles.

I posted my time and uploaded everything to Instagram tagging @spartanraceuk @soshydration #spartanvirtualsprint and #hydrateourheroes as well as logging my time online.

Race 1 done ... protein shake, hydrate, play with the little ones, then carb load that evening (few glasses of wine) with the race already spinning through my head as to how I could improve.  A cold bath helped sort out the muscles that were saying “Oi, what you doing to me” and a bottle of SOS before bed

 

Sunday, I woke at the usual 5am feeling great and raring to go.  I was super pleased my body was holding up. I followed the same routine as the day before and set about Race 2.  This time I completed it like a true Spartan race, with the exercises mid run.  3 stations with @7 obstacles each time and a final sprint to the finish.  This time round actually felt a little easier, though still max effort, because my body and I knew what was coming. 

Finished in a whopping 3 minute PB (PR) of 24.59.  

 

I have to say that I used to love the obstacle courses in the military and it brought back fond memories and was a heap of fun.  It was tough, and I would certainly like to do a real one, if not another virtual one in the not too distant.  My learn from the experience is that it reaffirmed two things. 

  • Practice and preparation are vital.
  • If you put your mind to something you can do it.

That said and the fun aside.  The seriousness of the event was to show, in a push yourself to the max way, that we are all truly grateful for everyone that is playing their part in getting rid of this virus. From our healthcare heroes to all of us listening to the advice to stay home and social distance when out. 

For all of you who took part … Go Spartan … and to those who didn’t, but are intrigued by my adventure, then go check em out.

Please continue to stay safe and look after yourselves

Yours a hydrated and now pretty sore

James

Co-Founder

 

Spartans check out the Spartan UK site for a discount code

 

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