How a Spartan Trifecta Will Improve Your Running Time
Regardless of where you are in your running (beginner, 5Ks, 10Ks, half Marathons or full blown Marathons), completing a Spartan Trifecta may be one of the most enjoyable and effective ways to beat your Personal Best. Now before you start getting nervous, and start questioning your ability to complete a Spartan, let alone, a Spartan Trifecta, let me explain.
How would you typically try and shave time off your PB? You could focus on your breathing or learn better posture. You could run for longer periods of time. You could eat better. Now think, what do all of these things have in common? They all involve evolving as a runner.
Evolving does not happen overnight. It happens over time with lots of concentrated work. Notice I used the word “concentrated” and not “hard”. The actual definition of concentrated is “applied with all one’s attention, energy”. Concentrated work should not bring about immediate emotions of negativity and fear. It should instead evoke a sense of determination and purpose. Concentrated work to evolve as a runner can be tons of fun and super rewarding. However, don’t just take my word for it. Follow the steps below, and see how much time you take off your personal best.
Set a Goal and then Forget About Your Personal Best. “I want to take 10 minutes off my half Marathon PB”. The entire point of this Spartan Trifecta challenge is to improve your running personal best; however, in-order to accomplish that, you need to NOT focus on how fast you’re running.
Find a Partner. Whether this be a significant other, family member, friend, or co-worker, find someone who is interested in running too. Evolving is always more enjoyable with a partner. Success is hard to achieve alone. Plus, your partner will be there for you when you’re down and out and in the mud (literally).
Organize a Timeframe to Complete the Trifecta. Make sure to give yourself enough time to properly prepare for each race. If you’re starting this challenge on a beginner or 5K running level, you’ll want to do the Sprint 1st, Super 2nd, and Beast 3rd. Give yourself 1- 1 ½ months to train before completing the Sprint, 2-3 months between the Sprint and Super, and an additional 1 ½ – 2 months between the Super and Beast. If you’re starting this challenge at an intermediate or advanced running level, you’ll want to do it in the reverse order (Beast, Super, Sprint). Give yourself 2 months before the Beast, 1-1 ½ months before the Super, and 1 month before the Sprint.
Sign-Up for Each of the Spartan Races (In One Calendar Year) to Qualify for the Spartan Trifecta. Spartan Sprint (3-5 Miles with 20-23 Obstacles), Spartan Super (8-10 Miles with 24-29 Obstacles), Spartan Beast (12-14 Miles with 30-35 Obstacles). The Spartan Super and Beast may seem scary and unachievable but, trust me you will be able to conquer them both! It’s a proven fact that commitment holds us accountable. Commit to concentrated work throughout the Trifecta process and you will receive awesome results.
Schedule Weekly Trainings. You need to prepare mentally and physically for these races. Do not, I repeat, do not set-up you weekly training schedule like you would preparing for a normal race. Your schedule should look something like this:
W1D1: A slow paced run. If your tackling the Sprint first this should be 2-3 miles. If your tackling the Beast first, this should be 6-8 miles. If you need to rotate between jogging and walking that’s perfectly fine. The important factor is to keep moving for the length of time. Each week increase the number of miles (even by .25 or .50 until you’re able to run 5 miles for the Sprint, 9 miles for the Super, and 12 miles for the Beast).
W1D2: Resistance training. Utilizing barbells, medicine balls, kettlebells, and dumbbells is crucial for preparing for your Spartan races. The 20-35 obstacles you will face range from jumping over and climbing walls, picking up and carrying Atlas balls and bags of sand, to hoisting yourself through logs and across boards on just fingers and tippy toes. If you do not include resistance training, you will not make it through the obstacles. Start with 20-30 minutes of resistance training and increase the amount weekly until you’re able to complete one full hour.
W1D3: Head to the hills. Running hills brings increased intensity to your workouts and develops muscle fibers. The key here is to gradually increase the length and steepness of hills. Start running or walking up and down a low inclined high for 20 minutes. The goal is to be able to run up and down hills continuously for 45 minutes- 1 hour. Once you’re able to do that, increase the incline and start again. If you’re able to locate runnable hills outside, most treadmills have a hill setting that allows you to input the incline, speed, and duration.
W1D4: Day 2 of resistance training. Switch up the equipment so your body gets to utilize different muscles.
W1D5: Interval training- This I’m sure every runner is used to. Start off at your base pace for 1 minute. Kick yourself into high gear for 1 minute. Go back and forth like this for a total of 15 minutes to start. Increase time each week until you reach 30 minutes. Once you’re able to complete 30 full minutes of back and forth, you’re going to increase your faster speed to 2 minutes. It will look like this: 1 minute base pace- 2 minutes high speed- 1 minute base pace- 2 minutes high speed. For more advanced runners, you will want to do base pace for 2 minutes and increase your high speed to 3 minutes.
You want to improve your personal best in running. With running, and other areas in life, we unintentionally put blinders on while we zoom in on one goal. We spend all our efforts trying to beat that goal and we get frustrated and confused when we fall flat. This happens because we lose sight of the bigger picture. To achieve a goal, we need to work on various parts of the bigger picture that relate to the individual goal.
So how will the challenge of completing a Spartan Trifecta help you beat your personal best in running.? Instead of focusing on the actual time, do something else to ease the strain on your mind (Step 1). Find someone to help you beat your goal (Step 2). Allow yourself the proper amount of time to beat your PB (Step 3). Hold yourself accountable (Step 4). Change up your training schedule (Step 5).
Along with automatically shaving off time on your PB, completing a Spartan Trifecta is a fun way for runners of all levels to boost their confidence in all aspects of running.