By: David DeLuca
We’ve all been there—standing at the precipice, not sure whether we should jump. Hundreds of questions are rushing through our minds:
What’s at the bottom?
How far down?
Will I make it out alive?
Is it worth it?
Am I ready?
If you’re standing before a Spartan Race, you might be nervous. We polled tens of thousands of veteran Spartans for the advice they would impart to people who may just be starting out in the Spartan world.
No surprise, the Spartan Community was eager to help. Here’s what veteran Spartans want you to know about your first Spartan Race.
Unsure about signing up?
Listen to what these Spartans have to say.
“When I crossed the finish line at my first race I wondered why the hell I haven’t been doing this all along.” — Phil S., Midwest Spartan
“The comradeship and care for each other on the course is something you only find in a common ground… Now I’m hooked, competing in the Ultra Beast in April at Tri-State.” — Austin T., Spartan of the Northeast
“I signed up for three more OCRs the next day.” — Chris C., Spartan of the Northeast
“I bought a LivingSocial deal, and with no training, no preparation, and an old pair shoes, I went out and did my first…Now, I can’t seem to get enough.” — Brian D., Southern Spartan
“Three words. Just. Be. Brave.” — Mitch K., West Coast Spartan
“Do not be afraid to sign up all by yourself. By the end of the race, you will forget you started alone.” — Shawn B., West Coast Spartan
“Your fellow Spartans will support you every step of the way.” — Jodie B., West Coast Spartan
You are capable.
“You are capable of more than you know.” — Van A., West Coast Spartan
“You are capable, you can do this. You’ll love it by the end.” — Rena P., West Coast Spartan
“Don’t be afraid to try something you’re uncomfortable with. You’re more capable than you think.” — Ryan B., Southern Spartan
Don’t overthink it.
“Don’t overthink it. Just move it and go! There will be plenty of Spartans out there to help you out.” — Abigail C-H., West Coast Spartan
“Relax, do your best, and just have fun. Enjoy the moment.” — Sarah S-T. West Coast Spartan
“Don’t get wrapped up about burpees. Push yourself beyond your current limits.” — Peter K., Spartan of the Northeast
How Should I Train?
These Spartans can tell you.
Train your upper body.
“Work your upper body. In my first race, I struggled with that, and the more I trained the easier the obstacles became.” — Kelly G., Southern Spartan
“The upper body strength training I did prior to these races helped me tremendously—more so than the leg work/running.” — Jim Q., Spartan of the Northeast
“Pull-ups, pull-ups, pull-ups and burpees.” — Ryan B., Southern Spartan
“Upper body strength is key.” — Chris S., West Coast Spartan
Train your grip strength.
“Grip strength and grip endurance will take you far.” — Richard O., West Coast Spartan
“Definitely work on your grip ability.” — Jeff F., Southern Spartan
“Train to be able to run 1.5 times the distance of the race.” — Jason P., Spartan of the Northeast
“Don’t slack on your cardio.” — Bryon L., Southern Spartan
“Be in 5K shape at least. 2. Hike/run hills.” — Saul G., West Coast Spartan
Train for burpees.
“Just make sure you can bang out 30 burpees and not be winded.” — Jesse A., Southern Spartan
“Prepare to do burpees, especially if you’ve never done something like this before.” — Liz M., Spartan of the Northeast
Train your mind.
“Mental toughness is just as important as the physical. Remember to do some mental training as well (yoga,meditation etc.)” — Judith L., West Coast Spartan
Train with Spartan SGX.
“I started running more and [doing] #SpartanSGX training to make myself a better racer next time I face that mountain in 2016.” — Crystal L., Spartan of the Northeast
Which Race Should I Try First?
Many say Sprint, but some beg to differ.
“It really depends on your fitness level.” — Brian D., Southern Spartan
“My first Spartan Race was the 2014 Ultra Beast, so it was trial by fire.” — Kevin A. H., Midwest Spartan
What’s the hardest part?
There are many.
“Gripping the water jugs up and down the stadiums.” — Areeba Q., Southern Spartan
“The obstacles were hard, the hills were harder.” — Rena P., West Coast Spartan
“Ice cold water.” — Mike M., Spartan of the Northeast
“I suffered most on the obstacles that required me to lift myself.” — Jessica A. B., West Coast Spartan
“The bucket brigade (or as I call it, the f***-it brigade).” — Sarah M., Spartan of the Northeast
Any Tips for Race Day?
“Enjoy yourself as you struggle, help others, and have fun.” — Richard O., West Coast Spartan
Ask for help.
“If you need help on the course, don’t be afraid to ask.” — Mitch J., Southern Spartan
Lose the ego.
“Don’t worry about the clock…it doesn’t matter. One obstacle at a time.” — Tim F., West Coast Spartan
“Be humble.” — Jio M., West Coast Spartan
“Don’t overextend yourself early. Hold energy in reserve.” — Ryan B., Southern Spartan
“Look over an obstacle before attempting it.” — Beth E., West Coast Spartan
“Hydrate.” — Robert R., West Coast Spartan
“Your mind will tell your body to quit a thousand times before it’s ready to.” Anthony C., Southern Spartan
“Never give up.” — Kyle N. C., West Coast Spartan
Did we miss something?
We did our best to include the most helpful responses in this guide, but chances are we didn’t answer every question on your mind. If that’s the case, check out one of our Facebook community pages and post a question to the wall. The Spartan Community is always happy to help.
Learn more about:
- Signing Up
- Our three race types
- Spartan endurance events
- The Agoge
- Our free Spartan WOD
- Finding a Spartan SGX Coach