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Spartan Race Michigan 2024

Spartan Race Michigan 2024
Spartan Race Michigan 2024

Spartan Race Michigan Part 2

With all my focus on training and surviving The Ironman Michigan 70.3 in September, I sometimes overlook that I'm also registered to compete in the Spartan Sprint Race in Michigan in July. Last October I ran this race in Grand Rapids, Mi in 39 degree weather with mud that was as slick as pig shit and I thought lets do that again! I trained hard for it and enjoyed the run and tackling the obstacles. I'm putting most of my eggs in the training for an Ironman basket but I'm saving a couple for the Spartan Race!


What is the Spartan Sprint

The Dunk Wall is Ice Cold!
The Dunk Wall is Ice Cold!

Spartan is an event company that holds races all over the world. You could run an Ultra which is a 50k race where you tackle 60 obstacles. Or you could do a Stadion race where you can run an obstacle course race in a famous stadium (like Citi Field in New York this year!). They even have races for kids and my son will also be running his 2nd Spartan race this year. The Spartan race I signed up for is the Spartan Sprint Race which is a 5k that has 20 obstacles. It's a great race for beginners but if you want to compete you can also focus on speed. My son is going to compete in the kid's 1-mile run with obstacles which is twice as far as he did last year.


Spartan Obstacles I Struggled With

I Failed the Multi-Rig!
I Failed the Multi-Rig!

Out of the 20 obstacles last year I was able to complete 15 of them. The obstacles I failed at all have a common theme:

  1. Monkey Bars- Pretty self-explanatory. A giant set of adult monkey bars that you have to cross. When I was a kid I crossed the monkey bars with ease, as an adult not so much. Grip strength, back and biceps need to improve.

  2. Multi--Rig- Like the monkey bars but there are bars, balls on ropes, and rings to swing on. Grip strength, back, and biceps need to improve.

  3. Hercules Hoist- You got a heavy sandbag attached to a rope on a pulley. You have to pull that rope and hoist that sandbag 24 feet up in the air and then slowly lower to the ground. This is the one that frustrated me the most. I had the strength but my hands were muddy and the ropes were wet. Every time I tried to pull it up the rope slipped through my hand. The conditions are never going to be perfect so I have to improve the odds. Grip strength, back and biceps need to improve.

  4. Rope Climb- Per a Spartan poll the roper climb is the most dreaded obstacle in the race. Its just like gym class. Its a rope and you gotta climb to the top. I failed just like in gym class. Grip strength, back, and biceps need to improve.

  5. Spear Throw- You get a spear with a wooden handle attached to a rope. All you have to do is throw it and hit a target. I missed. Now this is more of a fun one and short of throwing spears in my backyard not much I can train for. Maybe my second time around I'll have more confidence.

And I failed the Rope Climb!
And I failed the Rope Climb!

Weaknesses that needs to be addressed- Obviously the first 4 obstacles I failed have a common theme of weakness. I have to improve my grip strength, back strength, and bicep strength. When I was climbing the monkey bars I had multiple body parts failing me. I would have never made it across for a couple reasons. First I wouldn't have been able to hold on to the bars to get all the way to the end. I wasn't even halfway and I was letting go. Second, I didn't have the strength to pull and swing across to each bar. If I want to succeed I have 5 months to get these body parts stronger.


My Spartan Race Training Plan

80 percent of my training will not change. I have a training plan in place to complete the Ironman 70.3. My endurance has slowly been getting better through out the winter. At the beginning of December my long run for the week was 6.14 miles. On February 4th I hit 13.10 miles so I'm not going to have any problem with the running portion of the Spartan Sprint (3.1 miles). I also won't have to change the weight lifting portion of my program that focuses on my push days (chest, shoulders tri's), or leg day. What I am going to focus on is specifically the workout I would categorize as my "pull day".


  • Back- For my back workout I am going to add an extra exercise and one more set on another exercise. I was doing 3 exercises- Trx Row, Dumbbell Row, and Reverse grip Trx row. I'm going to add an incline dumbbell row and add a 4th set to the Trx row keeping all the other exercises at 3 sets. I typically perform this workout Tuesdays and Fridays.

  • Biceps- I'm going to make the same adjustments with my biceps that I did with my back. Currently I am doing standing bicep curls, hammer curls and concentration curls. I am going to do 4 sets of standing bicep curls and I am going to add Trx curls.

  • Forearms- Currently I am doing wrist curls for 3 sets. I'm going to add another set and I am also going to include a Farmers Walk with my 80 pound rock weights. This should help my grip on those monkey bars!


My Spartan Race Goals

I have two goals when I race this year. Both are essentially using last years experience and improving upon that.

My Spartan Sprint 2023 Results
My Spartan Sprint 2023 Results

  1. Complete at least 3 more obstacles- If I put in 5 months of work to improve my back, biceps and forearms I'm expecting to make some improvements in the obstacles I struggled on. My grip and pull muscles are the only things that are holding me behind.

  2. Improve my time- When I completed my Spartan Sprint last year my time was 1 hour 24 minutes which was pretty slow. Two things really dragged me down. First about 3/4 of the way through the race I tweaked my calf and hobbled the rest of the way to the finish line. Second all that mud! It was 39 degrees and the day before it rained all day. When I raced that morning stretches that weren't supposed to be obstacles were treacherous because of all that rain. Even flat trails were like ice skating rinks. So this year without an injury and just a little better weather I should be able to make improvement. Couple that with the endurance improvement I have this year and I think it could be substantial!




2024 is going to be big!

Ironman 70.3 2024
Ironman 70.3 2024

Ironman 70.3 and a Spartan race is going to make this a big year for me. With my running at the distance I need it to be I'm going to focusing more on biking, swimming and my "pull day" workout. I am nervous because this Wednesday I'm meeting a swim coach to help me with the swim portion of the Ironman. I can swim to save my life but this is a 1.2 mile swim in open water. I gotta get some training by someone that swims more than jumping off the boat for a dip! By September I'm going to have to swim 1.2 miles, bike 56 miles and run 13.1 miles all in the same day. Before that in July hopefully I can cross the monkey bars and the Multi-rig! I'm excited to see what I look like when I'm able to do all that at the end of this summer!

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