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How to Train for a Spartan Race : Quality Over Quantity

by Marissa on June 5, 2013


No, this is not a fitness blog, I promise. But when you’re passionate about fitness, it seems to find its way into many facets of life. Hence, the fitness focus recently. And yes, there will probably be more as I train for a triathlon this summer. More to come on that!

I mentioned in a previous post that I’m taking on a Spartan Challenge, The Reebok Spartan Race. When I decided to do the race, I was lost about how I would train. I figured it out along the way and found workouts that were fun and effective. I even kept up with training during two weeks of crazy travel.

Until last week training was going spectacular aside from the fact I’ve been nursing a knee injury in physical therapy and under strict orders not to run. It was ok because I was doing other forms of cardio, strength and interval training.

I was focusing on my core and arms because I knew I would need that strength for the climbing, crawling and balancing obstacles.

Then I got run down and got sick. I talk about illness and injury and what it means as a message from your body in this post. Bottom line: get rest. I didn’t do it enough which is probably why I got sick.

With the Spartan Race on the horizon, I didn’t feel like I could compete last Saturday. The kind people at Reebok were all too accommodating and let me postpone my race entry to this weekend.

I’m making a slow comeback to exercise so I won’t bore you with the details of that.

Let’s talk about what things were like when I was in my training zone and feeling like a superstar.

The key to my training has been quality over quantity. I learned this concept working with my personal trainer last year, but it’s taken a while for it to sink in. Staying focused and eating for energy have also been important to me.

Burpees. I did them all the time. On strength days, interval days and cardio days. Burpees were the exercise I loved to hate because I knew that if I couldn’t complete an obstacle, 30 burpees would get me past it and onto the next.

IMG_1132I was especially fond of the Spartan Meet-ups held at Reebok CrossFit Fifth Avenue every Tuesday at Noon. These workouts were no longer than 30 minutes and really helped with some of the strength training I’ll need for the race besides being a great introduction to CrossFit. David came with me for one and was also pleased with the quality over quantity aspect. We were in and out in a lunch hour.

One sample WOD (workout of the day) looked like this:

15 minute AMRAP (As Many Reps as Possible)

.25 mile run

5 push ups

10 burpees

15 sit-ups

10 medicine ball squats

I mixed up my own workouts with daily WOD emails I receive from the Spartan Race. They look like this and I adapt them to my own fitness level.

Spartan WOD

Now that the race is a few days away, I’m trying to build some strength back, my knee is on the mend and I’m running a little again so we’ll see where it takes me.

Wish me luck! I’ll be back with a race re-cap next week.


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Oh man I didn't realize that the tuesday workouts were only 30 minutes...I work around the corner from there!


  1. […] road to the Spartan finish was peppered with some really strong training days followed by a knee injury and topped off with a terrible cold/flu. Hardly ideal for training but I […]

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