So…. Spartan Time trials! What is it? How does it work?
OH…. videos & pics way below….
You can CLICK HERE and read about it on Spartan which pretty much explains it.
I posted my review and videos of the Men & Women’s Finals below. Pretty awesome!
Overview of the Time Trial Race
So basically it was a .6 mile run with 9 obstacles.
Top 15 Men & Top 15 Women will compete in a separate heat
It was really cool! Really fast… in fact the top time was 5:39 by Matthew Kempson!
There was not much room for error. There was just a 10 burpee penalty or a sand bag carry.
I was hoping to place a little bit better, but I ended up finishing 11:34 and 43rd out of 95 for men.
What killed me was missing the bell on Mt Olympus by a hair!! I jumped a little early like I normally do, but missed. So it was 10 burpees then up the hill to the wall.
The rig I got to the last ring and was dead hanging lol! That was an exhausting 30 seconds of trying to get momentum! Energy draining to say the least, then onto the bucket carry, the inverted wall, then to the twister where I left some skin on the course, but I made it! I was in Heat 15 and was literally the last person to come down, so it felt good to have people cheering me on at the TWISTER! No way I was gonna fail that!
It was run well and was realy fun! Got to meet a bunch of new people and of course learn a few things.
I was able to get the full women’s final, but for some reason… “I am an idiot” as I was recording the mens final at the Twister, my phone was not recording! So man because it was a pretty awesome finish!! Sorry guys!
There was also the open house that allows you to walk the course and practice obstacles. If you ever get a chance to do that you definitely should!
That is really awesome because, lets face it…. it is tough to practice certain obstacles because where else are you gonna find them!
And… the OPEN HOUSE is free which is pretty sweet and the time trial is like $49…
Got a nice little swag bag from the open house as well. The water bottle is pretty sweet!
Well another race weekend has come and gone! It was awesome. Got to run the elite heat at 7:30AM and then the open at 11:45AM with my wife!
I ran into a few people I met via FB groups and picked up a few new friends on the trails. It is always great to meet new people on the trail! Breathing hard…. wanting to stop at times, but then conversation with a random person starts up and bamm you are back in the swing of things. Crazy to think of how many people I have met over the years at races and still keep in touch with!
It was also a pleasure to run with my wife again. We did the same thing last year. I know the course was a bit shorter, but we both improved our times and I know she felt better prepared for it!
Lots of Pictures & Videos of the race below…. maybe I caught you on some of them? If so let me know with a comment below.
I finished the Elite Heat in 1:15:36 and the Open in 2:32:14 as you can see below. I told myself going into this I wanted to finish top 5 in my age group “35-39”, but that didn’t happen! I think there are a few reasons why and I’ll list that below in my Takeaways from the race.
I don’t know about you, but every race I always feel like there was more that I could have done. I know I am never going to win a race, that is just the truth of it, but I want to always be learning and getting better which I think I do most of the time. In the end it is all about getting out there and having fun right? I love doing these races and will continue until I can’t.
Obstacles: My first round I passed everything except the TWISTER! I think I made it to about the 4th handle and dropped…. BUT on the 2nd heat with my wife I nailed it! I was actually surprised. That was the 4th time total I attempted the twister and I had always tried to keep my arms bent. This time I just had my arms extend and just went side to side and it was surprising easier! GRRRR….. I did miss the SPEAR on the 2nd heat… of course trying to show my wife how to do it 😉
It really is crazy the difference in the two heats. Pacing with my wife I felt like I could constantly blast up the mountain where running myself I was hurting pretty bad LOL.
WARMING UP: I am a bigger guy…. 6’3″ 225ish and in most races it usually takes a good 20-30 minutes into the race to really feel loose. The first run up the mountain is always bad for me! I start thinking… why am I doing this… why are my legs so tired already… why didn’t I WARMUP more!!!
I feel this year I am in the best shape for hills, but on Saturday I just needed more of a warm up!
I have read pros will warmup for 30-40 minutes. My goal is always to get a solid warmup in, but you know how it is… you get there… do your thing.. warm up a bit, but so excited to get started and by the time you line up you end up standing for 10 minutes.
My next race at Palmerton I really want to put in a solid 30 minute warmup at least! I want to feel good going into the first mile, not waiting for my legs to wake up!
How about you… what does your warmup ritual consist of?
Venue: I thought the race was ran great! Volunteers were awesome as usual! The course was fast, quick and fun! They switched up the place where they had the Bucket Brigrade last year and I think that was a good idea because I saw a lot of people slipping on the giant slab of rock!
It was also a lot less dusty. Glad there was a bit of rain the day before. I remember running with my shirt over my face last year!
Some Other TIPS:
Sometimes during a race you forget the basics. Running with my wife helps me remember a lot because this was only her second time and I needed to help her out with basic tips as we went along.
Some parts of the course were really technical! Very rocky… not to mention there was a lot of leaves still covering the rocks. I saw a lot of people turning ankles and slipping.
When the course gets like that especially in the open when it is crowded you have to give yourself some space in front of you because you cannot see what is coming up next. If you are right on somebodies heels you are gonna get hurt!
Plate Drag: This goes for the plate drag anywhere, but especially if it is rockier you gotta really look at which plate you choose. I saw a few that the path was so rocky and the plate got stuck so many times. People could not even budge it… they would have to run to the plate get it loose etc… No thanks! Another tip is if you can try and stand up to get a little lift on the front of the plate, so it does not dig into the dirt or rocks. Being tall helps with that 😉
Walls, hurdles, cargo etc….. anything where you have to climb over it you need to make sure when you are going over you put your chest to the top of it. I saw a lot of people in the open get to top then have no clue how to transition… “what do I do…. what do I do…” put that chest to the top of the wall, hurdle etc… and lower your center of gravity, then transition down.
Here are some pictures & videos I took from the race below. If you hear a crazy lady screaming things at me… that is my wife 😉 I took some pics and videos with my phone before the race and during the heat with my wife I used my old school Kodak 1080P Playsport camera. It held up great and took a pretty nice video. Sound got lower towards the end… maybe mud in the mic lol. Anyways enjoy and maybe I caught a shot of you somewhere in there! Let me know if I did!
You can see there is a hole cut that is a bit lower which helps you get your bearings. I am tall so I have an advantage, but you definable want to do a few slow practice runs to get the hang of it. Then once you feel ready you have to COMMIT to get the top. Once you grab it you realize it is a lot easier than it looks!
Hey so if you wanna get better at the spear throw you gotta do it more! It will get pretty tough if the only time you do it is at races. Here is a slow motion video of me tossing a home made spear at a blanket hung over my kids swingset! Bamm!
Agh… the dreaded burpee! Yeah most people hate to do them, especially if they fail an obstacle at a Spartan Race and have to bang out 30!
Sucking aside burpees are a great exercise. You essentially work everything, but like anything else they are not fun to do and can be tough if you never really do them.
So you wanna get better at them? DO MORE!! Seriously though do more, I mean everyone is always looking for tips on how get better at pull ups, squats, burpees etc…. and the best way is to really just do them!
Now as simple as that sounds it is not that simple right? In the back of my mind when I am training I am always saying….. ok I need to do more burpees, but I never do them! LOL!
2 Ways To Get Better At Burpees
Incorporate them into your workout and/or warmup. What I mean by this is just start off adding 10 burpees into your daily warmup. I add them at the end because I don’t like to go into burpees cold. You can also break them up during your warm up… 5 here, then few other moves, then 5 more etc….. During your workout you can let’s say…. do 5 in between sets or however else you want to fit them in. This way you are not tasked with doing 50 burpees in a row and you still get them in….. “although there is a place for doing 50 burpees in a row and if you feel up for it then do it!”
Set a DAILY GOAL! So say 50 burpees…. Now throughout the day you bust sets of 5 or more burpees until you reach that goal. Now I know doing burpees at work in work clothes is not fun, but get it done. You can also just stop and bang out 5 around the house. Again the idea being you are breaking these up and getting them in!
I am a huge fan of the Green Arrow and Stephen Amell. Guy is just a hard worker! Would love to see him do some obstacle racing! He has constantly been asked about doing Ninja Warrior and always wanted to! Last few months it told everyone it was on! Here he goes! He did great. Congrats Stephen!
First off I know you love that professional image to the right! Ha I thought I took a better one of the bucket brigade are at MT Creek, but obviously not!
Anyways you know what the bucket brigade is because you are here looking for tips, but if you don’t basically you carry a 5 gallon bucket full of rocks up and down a hill!
You cannot carry it on your shoulder.
If you spill rocks you need to put them back in the bucket.
You can set the bucket down take breaks etc….
There is no burpee penalty for this obstacle you have to finish it!
With that said, I normally do OK with this obstacle, but not sure what was different this last time, but it killed me. Seemed to really be tough for a lot of others as well.
Here are some tips I have picked up along the way that make it a bit easier, but in the end you really have to practice and see what kind of grips/strategies work for you. I have really long arms so I can hold it a lot different than some!
Unless you are totally losing your grip never put the bucket down. Just think about how bad it will suck picking it back up!
Instead… do this lunge trick. What I like to do is almost get in a lunge position and hold the bucket on my one leg. Give a 10 second rest then start up again. I just do that until I make it. BONUS TIP! On the downhill part you can do the same thing just make sure you turn around and face up hill doing it.
That is really it! Again best way to get better is to get a bucket and fill it with rocks and carry it around. Your neighbors will think you are completely sane!! 😉
If you are into Obstacle Racing then pull ups should be a regular exercise in your routine, if not daily! I know it can be frustrating when you can barely do one pull up, so I wrote this to help you get there and beyond!
Really is it possible? Sure it is I did it! Now before you get all excited I doubled my pull ups from 2 to 4 in less then a week, so if you can do 10 pull ups then getting to 20 in a week might be a bit harder, but I think it is attainable.
Pull Up Vs Chin Ups – What is the Difference?
First what is the difference between a Pull up & a Chin up? I am not going into some dissertation here etc.. it is pretty simple lol. A pull up is when your palms face away from you and a chin up is when your palms face you. Chin ups are typically easier since you are using more biceps muscle and pull ups you use more back muscle, but they are both great for getting stronger.
This is my doorway pull up bar I grabbed out walmart and it has sat in that door jam for 5 years now! You can grab one here on Amazon….>>> Go Here!
Also I am not talking about wide pull ups, narrow pull ups etc.. I am talking about grab that bar whatever way feels good and get up there. When you start getting stronger in the pull then you can start really tweaking grips, widths etc…
Here is what I have been doing. For the last week I basically try to do a few pull ups every time I walk by it. The first few days I was just getting 2 and would start for a 3rd and fade out. I started putting a line on my calendar so I know how many I did. Most days I have been getting at least 10 in total. Not a lot, but way more then I have ever done in the past. Again that is 10 throughout the whole day! After a few days I was able to bust out that 3rd pull up here and there, then finally last night after a long day… I had already run 2 1/2 miles and was out all day I figured let me hop up and see what happens and bamm… I busted out 4 pull ups. I was pumped! I told my wife and she said “were they full pull ups!” Ha of course they were give me some credit.
Simple Pull Up Plan:
It is easy to walk by that pull up bar and not do a pull up either so when you wan to just take time and focus here is an awesome plan to follow:
This can all scale on how many pull ups you can do.
20 Pull Ups & 20 Chin Ups
The goal here is to get 20 pulls up & 20 chin ups over time.
So start with pull ups… lets say you can do 3…. take a 30-60 second rest then do chin ups. Maybe you get 3 or 4 chin ups. take a 30-60 second rest.
Keep this up until you hit your # of 20 each. You might need to take a longer break, but get the full amount in.
Try this 2 -3 times a week and I guarantee you results!
Experiment: Don’t forget you can experiment a little. Try to hold at the bottom or pause at the top and/or middle. All of this will help get you past the sticking point of busting out 1 more pull up!
So is it really possible to double your pull up effort in a week?
So will you be able to turn the 10 pull ups you can do already into 20 within a week? I think it comes down to how hard you work, but I will bet if you were to start doing 10 pull ups 3 to 4 times a day you are going to increase for sure. All you can do is try it. Lets see if I can get 8 pulls ups a week from today
My Future Pull Up Plan
Going further here is what I am planning to do as well. I want to switch it up each day. So today is Pull Ups and tomorrow will be Chin Ups. I figured that is a nice way to mix it up and work the muscles differently and get stronger overall.
So… what do you think? Would love to hear some responses.
From The ARCHIVES 8/2012: This is an old post from the very early days of when I started! I use it for reference of what I was doing right and more so WRONG, but also as motivation to see how far I have come. I will try to add in updates as I go over these, but I hope you might get something out of them!
I know I need to be more consistent with the running. Also the race is going to be at a ski resort so I am assuming it is going to be up hill here and there so I need to really train hills. My run yesterday was basically around my block and it was a good run, just about 2 1/2 miles and it had very long grades of up hills and down hills. I am really feeling it today as my quads are real sore. I would really like to be able to get at least 2 laps of that in before the race and feel good about it. My goal is to run at least 3 times a week until the race. I am still not sure how to taper off the last week, but will figure it out soon enough.
Since my legs were sore and I wanted to start getting some weights in the mix I did P90X Shoulders & Arms today. I forgot what an awesome workout it is! I basically did the 9 minute Insanity Warmup then jumped right into P90X. I missed Tony! Was good to get a little taste of Tony Horton. He cracks me up!
So looking at the calendar I really only have 4 weeks left before the race and like I said that last week I am still not sure how to taper off training so my body is ready to go. I am going to try and add in at least 2 days of P90X in the mix with the other 3 of Insanity. I will try to run on the P90X days at night if possible and definitely get a good weekend run in. Next week the 22 – 26 we are heading out for a little vacation so that will be a real test of staying in line. I am actually looking forward to it since 1 I will have more time to train and I will have access to a full gym and the beach for running. I want to try and lift a bit heavy and do some squats since I really do not have access to that right now. Also I think some beach running will really help.
I am feeling good! Diet has been pretty good during the week and the weekends are better then normal ones. To be honest I am not looking to get ripped or ready for some photo shoot. I am training hard for a race and want my body to have what it needs so yeah I am eating %75 clean and I can feel it. It also shows. I have been getting some compliments… oh you look like you lost weight… have you been working out etc… Well that is where I am at. If you have any tips on tapering off training or prepping for a race like this please let me know below.