Well if you have every done a Spartan Race then you know all about the Spear Throw. Something that seems so simple can be such a make or break obstacle even at the elite level. It has been the game changer in my final races.
Just like any obstacle the issue is practice. How can you get better at a specific obstacle if you don’t have access to one. With the spear throw all you need is a spear and a bale of hay. Or you can improvise. If you look here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SBtI7C7RN0 you can see I set up a blanket over my kids playground and the spear is an old closet rod with a vacuum attached stuck to it! Funny, but it works!
Here is a quick video I made today over at Legacy Athletic Club in Cedar Knolls, NJ. I don’t go into super details, but I think if you give these few tips a try it will help you with the spear throw at your next race. I know there are many ways to do it and I would love to hear comments below.
Also please don’t pick apart the video etc…. again just basic tips to give you some ideas and change the way you might have been doing it. In the end practice and repetition is going to be the key to passing the Spartan spear throw obstacle!
Turn throw it like a football or baseball…. don’t turn your wrist
Turn your wrist to the outside of your body.
Balance the spear
Focus on ONE spot to throw. Not the whole bail of hay… one central spot..
Take a breath… do a few practice movements… and let it rip
Straight to the point… if you want to get better at Obstacle Racing then Yancy Camp is gonna help you with that! Simple as that!
I just wanted to get that out of the way. I am sure you have searched online for training and workouts specific to obstacle races and sure there is a lot of good stuff out there, but it can be hard to understand some of it and you might get bored of it.
That is why I want to break down why Yancy Camp is so awesome!
Basically the originally I would say is for more experienced or elite athletes, but to be honest anyone can do them. You would just need to scale down some of the exercises. Heck I still scale down a lot.
The Yancy Campy Superheroes is a more scaled down version and like they say on the site….. “if you can walk and breathe, you can do this program!”
So… What Is Yancy Camp?
Basically it is programmed workouts by Yancy Culp himself that these OCR athletes are doing. This is not just some templated workout that you follow over and over again.
These are strategically created workouts that if you follow are sure to get you results on and off the race course!
The other thing that I love is the support. You can actually get in touch with Yancy if there is something you need to know! That is pretty awesome and he is a super cool dude and loves to help!
What Do You Get?
Before I go into more below let me say this… Yancy is accessible! I had asked him for quick upper body grip workout to help me with the RIG and he whipped together something for me on the fly! Now, this is not something I plan to do, but the fact is I was in a rush and needed somethign short and sweet and he delivered via Facebook messenger! The results of that workout are in this picture here! As Yancy would say… “somebody turned on the Sweat Faucet!” LOL!
OK so here is what you get with Yancy Camp!
Getting 3 updated workouts a week design by Yancy Culp himself. AS of now there are 335 workouts in the system.
Access to private Facebook group. Talk about motivation!!
Challenge testing program! How do you know if you are getting better if you don’t test!
An awesome video library showing you how to do certain exercises and obstacle help.
Access to Yancy to get any answers you might need
Yancy always tosses in a few bonus workouts as well…. if you have anything left in the tank to do them 😉
How I Do The Workouts
I have to be honest… I am signed up under Glenn Racz and the workouts are great, but they are tough and they can be longer. It all depends on the day.
Depending on the workouts I usually have to break them up just for the fact I don’t have the time.
I also try to get at least 1 workout in a week, but I tell ya any Yancy workout I get in really pushes me to the next level. The fact that I know others in the group are pushing to finish the same workout really motivates me.
I mentioned above that these workouts are strategically created and they are. These are not just about putting a whooping on you, they are about creating a well rounded athlete that can attack any obstacle race.
When I am consistent with the workouts I can see huge improvements especially on the uphill climbs! You will learn a lot about lactic threshold training and how to push yourself past that pain point to get stronger and faster!
If you want a PLAN
If you want to be part of a TEAM
If you want SUPPORT & MOTIVATION then Yancy Camp is for you!
Did you know you can win a Spartan Coin? If you want to run in the World Championship Heat at Lake Tahoe then you have to win a coin!
Up until a year ago I had no clue there was such a thing until my buddy told me he thinks he might get a coin today! I was like ,”a coin”? What’s that?
Sure enough my good friend Mike Bartoszek who I met at the 2015 NJ Beast ended up winning his coin and it was pretty awesome to be there for that. He won his 2017 coin last weekend at Tuxedo as well! Congrats man! In fact I am using his pictures in this post because a coin is something I have not won… not yet at least 😉 Shout out to K Shan Performance where he trains! Awesome place http://www.kshantraining.com/
Also a shout out to Cali Schweikhart who I met at the Tuxedo Sprint a few weeks back. She won her coin that day too! Great work!
You can always click here to read what Spartan has to say, but who knows if their page will work…
Basically There Are 4 Ways To Earn A Spartan Coin In 2017
The Top 5 racers in the Men’s and the Top 5 in the Women’s Elite Heat at any Spartan event in the US and Canada, who do not already have a coin, will earn a coin.
The Top 10 racers in the Men’s and the Top 10 in the Women’s Elite Heat at any Spartan event outside the US and Canada, will earn a coin.
The Top 50 racers in both the US Elite Point Series standings and the World Elite Point series (the main standings not the Stadium series) after the last event before the World Championship event will earn a coin.
Top Athletes from across the world will be invited by Spartan. We are talking Olympic gold medalists…winning your local 5K will not count.
Some Tips To Getting A Coin
You also have to remember that if someone has already earned a coin then they do not get another one. So let’s say the Top 5 Elite male finishers in a race already have a coin then the 6th, 7th – 10th will get coins.
So the point is don’t feel like you won’t ever earn one. You can also be strategic about it as well. If you know there is going to be a big race with a lot of pros, then most of them will have coins and you have a better chance at getting one even if you finished 20th. Make sense?
Now if you get your coin then you will be moved into a Coin Holder World Championship Heat prior to race day. If you are signed up for Elite heat at World Championships and do not have a coin you will be placed in a second elite wave. The non-coin holder wave will NOT be eligible for cashe prizes, but will get overall points towards their rankings.
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!