In my last post, I outlined how my first Spartan Race went, and, as I often do in my posts, I discussed the areas where I fell short and how that affected me through the rest of the course. For this post, I decided to take things in a slightly different direction: I know where things went wrong for me; now I need to work on how to prepare for them so when I take on the Spartan Super (most likely in Fayetteville, North Carolina, in September), I will be ready for it.
This will also be a challenge on its own since I haven’t had time to work out much since I got back from Miami. Not to make excuses, but the month between then and now has been busy. The school year came to an end (for those who don’t know, I’m a teacher), which meant lots of grading, my girlfriend fought off mono, plus I’m preparing to teach a new level of my subject, which means I have lots of professional preparation to focus on this summer as well. But, as long as I create a good routine, I know I’ll be able to get back on that horse quite easily and somehow manage to accomplish everything I hope to.
So, there are two obstacles that essentially left me the most mentally bruised and physically worn out during the Spartan Sprint, so these are the areas where I will be focusing.
This was probably the most disappointing since I’d beaten rope climbs before when I took on Bonefrog Challenge. While I can’t explain why the rope climb in Spartan was different and thus more difficult, I can say I’ve done some reading and I believe I have some exercises that will help me master the rope climb for Spartan Race and other OCR’s that have the obstacle.
First, I’m going to get a set of tricep ropes so that I can do pull-ups with this. This will be key as my arms and grip gave out during my several attempts on the rope climb. Since I’ve been out of practice lately, I’ll probably start off doing hangs and half pull-ups at the beginning, then work my way up to the full pull-ups.
Next, practicing pull-ups with the dumbbell between my feet will be good to help develop my foot grip skills. (Is foot grip a real term? If it’s not, I claim it!) My foot technique was way off during the race, so this should help me improve on my technique.
Luckily, I already have dumbbells and a pull-up bar, so I can dive right into pull-ups with the dumbbell as well as hammer bicep curls as well. I have to order the tricep rope, but that’s obviously an easy fix. Plus, I’m hoping to get the official Spartan Race bucket, with the rope, for my birthday this summer, and with a big oak tree in the backyard, I’ll be able to practice my rope climb and master my technique as well as build the strength I need to beat this obstacle.
(I found these exercises through this video.)
This is where things metaphorically fell apart for me. My problem with the Atlas Carry wasn’t really the weight of the stone…I just couldn’t pick the damn thing up! I’d never lifted an Atlas Stone before, and the couple people whom I spoke to provided some advice, but it ultimately didn’t work for me. This was the first obstacle I failed, leading me to 30 burpees, and from there, I had a hard time getting my head back in the game.
Luckily, I found this video showing how to pick up the Atlas Stone. Now, this is more so for the individual trying to lift the stone for a Strongman competition, which is just lifting the stone on to a platform. However, the main technique is still good, and that is where I need the most help.
On top of that, he offers tips of how to work out without a stone and build strength to lift it, and he gives great tips comparing this to other exercises. That tells me how I can approach my workouts so I can build my strength for this obstacle.
The last hump to cover this summer is to finally get myself into a proper diet. While working out is key to building strength and endurance, I have to remind myself that this is only half of what it takes to be healthy.
For most of my life (including my adult life), I’ve been able to eat anything I want. I have a very fast metabolism, so this often frustrates my friends as to how I don’t gain weight. (It’s too bad I missed my 10-year high school reunion; being the one guy who hasn’t put on 10 pounds or more since graduation would’ve been fun!) However, now, I actually want to gain weight, more specifically muscle. The good news is I’m surprisingly strong for a guy my size; at least when it comes to lifting near my body weight. This is good for me because, as one trainer said, I will be able to have a better strength-to-weight ratio once I get to my desired weight.
So, I’m going to use my summer vacation to FINALLY get this meal prepping thing done right. I’ve tried it in the past with very little success as I’m awful at setting routines. And since it’s difficult to establish any routine when a million things happen during the school year, a potentially distraction-free summer may be just the push I need to get this right at last.
So what do you think of my plans for the summer? Can I make my Spartan Super experience better overall than Spartan Sprint? Make sure you keep in touch with me on Facebook and Twitter! And now, follow me on Instagram too!