Over 40s Spartan race

Over 40s spartan race preparations for seasoned runners

It was on the eve of my next spartan race typically feeling anxious about the next day’s event. This time we were tackling the spartan beast race. A well-designed challenge that entails the half marathon distance of 21klm of mostly trail running. It includes over 20+ obstacles spread out over the field that need to be negotiated and completed.  Failing an attempt, 30 burpees are the penalty. All this with no map supplied or marked distance markers available. Now well over 40s the spartan race need to be tackled smarter. Race organisers are notorious in not providing specific race detail so be prepared. It’s part of the appeal.

Consistency pays

Age should not be a barrier, it’s just a matter of continuing to do the basics over the long term and staying on track. Consistency is the key. I’ve prepared myself with lots of trail running supported by a full body strength training program. Complimented with regular mobility and stretch drills.

It pays to get the body resilient enough to endure the longer courses.  For us older runners we need to take into account the additional recovery cost when planning for these types of events. We need more time resting, not smashing ourselves with the typical go hard or go home mentality. Take this approach and you will definitely be staying home. Possibly injured.

It’s been a steady process along the way with plenty of running and general physical conditioning in prepping for this unique event. We have tackled the shorter sprint event of 7klm in the past. Now progressing onto the super which is their 14lklm version. One thing is for sure, they both challenge you in different ways. The 7 is seen a sprint. Obviously, the longer version one required more cardio endurance.

Sleep/recovery is important for the 40s future spartan

I’ve made this point first as this is a critical part of the plan for everyone so I cannot stress it enough when it come to the older individual. I manage to get the standard 8 hours and take a nap whenever possible (mostly weekend on the sofa while the kids are watching telly) Sleep is one of the best forms of recovery and allows the body to repair itself from the toll it took over the day. So, get some sleep, plenty of it.

Apologies to those with newborns, great sleep is not an option at the moment. Another great benefit of sleeping is that with a solid night uninterrupted sleep your hunger cues are better managed. Poor sleeps been linked to questionable food choices.

General physical preparation

As with most things in life preparation is the key to achieving results. You either plan to achieve or plan to fail. The running and resistance training was kept rather basis in its approach. Helps to be consistent when applying it during the week.  The template is as follows.

  • Monday – Light Kettlebell work focusing on mostly mobility.
  • Tuesday -5klm Road run – light
  • Wednesday 10-15 klm Road – medium
  • Thursday – Pulls, press, chins, squats & core
  • Friday – 10klm road – medium pace
  • Saturday – Rest Day (mobility)
  • Sunday – Long run 20klm road/trial

Over 40s Spartan race needs specific training

Over the last 3 months I’ve averaged 200klm per month of running both road and trail and kept the resistance training moderate depending on how I pulled up post runs. Unfortunately, I’m not able replicate the 12 Ft wall climbing challenge, crawling over mud under barb wire, or climbing the new tower obstacle that spartan rolls out on the day.

Overall, my approach is to get the body resilient enough to cop whatever spartan threw at us and come out of it unscathed. Having an over 40s spartan race plan was a matter of getting the body resilient, develop solid grip strength, be able to move well and turn up fit enough. A plan to suit the older participant. Glad to report our goal was achieved.

With some consistency the spartan part of the program was getting some playtime with crawling, rope climbing and bodyweight training. Basically, to complete a spartan you need to run, carry your bodyweight over obstacle and be flexible enough to not pull any muscles when negotiation the various tasks. The rest of any specific training is the icing on the cake. For those of you who have the time to build you own obstacle course, go for it and enjoy.

Race day

Once you arrive at the venue there are a few items that you should have packed for the event. A quick mention here as it will ensure post event you are well organised, not suffer due to a lack of adequate nutrition and have dry clothing for comfort. Your race day bag/kit should have:  A large towel, spare socks, jocks and shoes, warm clothing, water, muddy clothing bag, cash for food and merchandise.

Don’t forget a dry beanie and a proper post event meal prepared. You be ravenous post run. Yes, I’m pedantic so don’t mind me if you wish to walk around in muddy, wet and uncomfortable clothing after you have run the course. You might as well be comfortable and not get sick standing around cold muddy and wet.

Stretching/mobility

My go to movement here has been a staple for several month. I’ve pinched these straight out of Kelly Starrett’s book Ready to Run. I’ve built up to 2 minutes each side with the following. Hip flexion, hip extension, and squat hold. in addition, for my shoulder blades, I just hang of the chin up bar. Have also added leg swings as my go to movement pre-running.

It has all added up well for me as my body while still fatigued from my running no longer feels painfully stiff around the hip and legs. The ability to move well post any event is a result of good conditioning.

I apply the several stretches pre and post training runs. During the days off I increase the holding times. A simple rule is to do Dynamic stretched before any activity. Static stretched are best for post activity. It all adds up folks so make this a part of the program. It won’t feel like much when you are supple and mobile. Neglecting stretches invites discomfort.

Nutrition for the over 40s would be spartan

Just as important as rest. let’s go over some basic nutrition.

Keep-it-simple! No fancy, expensive, special eating going on here. Keep the following in mind when preparing your meals for all your nutritional requirements. It’s just matter of balancing out the energy requirement when you exercise and not overdoing it when you are not active. Only eat what you need and eat well. Post event yes. Reward yourself with pizza or burger if you wish.

Firstly, keep it simple. Ensure that most of your nutrition leading up to the event was wholesome, good quality and eliminated the junk. It’s even more important as we age the calories are a little harder to burn off. Stay away from heavily processed food. Clean complex carbohydrates are your fuel.

Secondly, drink Water, consume protein with every meal, monitor carbohydrates, eliminate sugar, no alcohol, more vegetables, some fruit and consume only good fats. Stay away from sugary drinks. Even for general health these are solid tips.

Lastly, you need to have a sound cardiovascular base, solid all over strength and be flexible. Enough condition to manoeuvre your seasoned body through the course. It takes a well-planned program to achieve a good balance in getting these 3 elements to work together. As an older athlete, I’m sure your experience allows you to take a common-sense approach.

 

I’m an active personal trainer who enjoys trail running and the fun of participating in various running events for fitness and general health.

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