Why is preparation underrated? Don’t you just love it when someone says, “You’re lucky”? If you are anything like me, it’s like lighting the fuse to a 10-ton payload of dynamite in my mind. The natural response from any hard worker is, “Luck had nothing to do with it.”
It’s also hard to be lucky when you are getting ready for a race. This is why Spartan pushed forward their “couch to the course” campaign: to not only create enthusiasm about racing, but also get you ready for it before you do so. In a Spartan race, the only luck you may have is that you picked the winning numbers on a scratch-off you picked up while getting your post-race protein shake at a local stop. Everything else is achievable through effort. Luck has nothing to do with racing!
Since most Spartan racers are hardworking, motivated, dedicated, limit-pushing athletes, it would be likely that luck has nothing to do with racing or the preparation that goes into getting ready. Racing and racing preparation follow the same model: work hard, stay motivated, dedicate to your training, and push the limits.
Make no mistake, competing in any Spartan race and eventually completing a Trifecta is guaranteed to challenge you. It’s a lot of hard work, but it is absolutely doable. Once you have the correct mind-set and training plan and you spend the time implementing your plan, you will be well on your way from the couch to the course and entering the ranks of the Spartans.
Here are some tips to start your race prep:
- You can start to work out on your own, find a gym or trainer, or download many of the preparation guides on Spartan’s main website. There are also new videos, tips, and helpful suggestions every day, and there are other Spartans who will help you get ready. Working with a trainer or a group of people can be fun and helpful, so the more the merrier.
- The trick to getting ready is consistency. You can start your plan, but you need to continue to push the needle forward. If you slack, pick up the slack and get your plan moving again.
Start to focus on other aspects other than just physical preparation. Yes, you should get physically fit and work hard, but you also need to focus on other aspects of preparation. Your mental readiness is fed by knowledge and consistency. Once you start to get ready and learn more about racing, your self-confidence will rise. Not only are we telling you that you can get through a race, you are now starting to believe it.
Does any of this sound like luck? Exactly. It didn’t sound that way to me either.
Motivation is created by setting a goal, working toward that goal, and reaching milestones. Each time you hit a target, your motivation should increase. Having a hard time finding the motivation to start? Set smaller, more attainable goals. Continue to raise the bar. Sign up for a race (a sprint). Continue to prepare.
Here are a few tips to get you motivated:
- Start with attainable goals. For example, decide to join the couch to Spartan Sprint path. Start by assessing your current physical limitations and begin your plan. Start by taking short walks and extend them to longer ones. Start to jog once a week. Expand from there. Once you are able to jog three miles and do 15 burpees, assess how long it will take you to run four to five miles and do 30 burpees.
- Complete milestones and celebrate them. Once you are able to run three miles, you should celebrate that achievement. There are those who are looking to complete a half marathon distance run and then run a Spartan Beast. Once you have completed the 13-mile distance, mentally check off that you have made a major accomplishment. Doing this will help motivate you. You should also take time to reflect on where you started and how far you have come. This is also a motivation builder.
- Select a race to run and continue down your path. Sign up for the race and continue to train. Complete your first race, or next challenge, and this will propel you toward the next.
Motivation and luck are not synonymous. “AROO” is the motivating battle cry of the Spartan.
Dedication to Preparation
When you decide to do a Spartan race, you have already subscribed to the fact you will need to put the work in to stay motivated and continue to build motivation into the process. However, there is something to be said about being dedicated. Dedication requires effort. You need to make the time to train. You have to push through challenges. You need to stay on track and build on your efforts to improve. All of this requires dedication, not luck.
Here are a few tips to ensure you stay on track:
- Time management. In training you may find that adding training, nutrition, and so on may require extra time cycles. Realize that it is all to make you better—it is all for you—so make the time for it. There is no time like the present to prepare for the future. This is also a way to develop good habits for everything you do in life.
- Create good habits. Goals give you the ability to stay on track. As you progress and continue to smash goals, you will become more dedicated at working toward them. You will create good habits. This will reinforce dedication in your life to what you committed to.
- Sign up for a race. Once you find commitment, you will be able to push through hard days, hard work, and challenges. You have a goal, you’re working toward it, and you will remain dedicated and committed to completing the tasks at hand.
Lucky people feel they stumble into a good thing. Setting your goals to complete a race is a conscious decision, not a stumble.
Push the Limits
Now that you see all the hard work (ahem . . . not luck) you put into getting ready for a race and are doing it, push harder. We like to say “Spartan up!” As you prepare, dedicate, commit, and build your motivation, remember that it is important to push yourself. The fact you are racing is a huge push forward, so build on that and push on your training. Push on race day. Push the limits.
Here are a few tips to push yourself:
- As you train, start slow and to your level and picture your future state. Picture crossing the finish line of a Spartan race and completing that goal. Let that be your motivator to push harder in your training. If you are having a problem climbing a rope, push your limits. Start with pull-ups and build on those muscles. Then, when you are ready . . . push the limits. Get on a rope and do pull-ups on the rope. Learn the correct way to climb a rope. Keep pushing, and you will get better.
- On race day, you do not want to get hurt, but you do want to find comfort in discomfort. This means listen to your body. If you are broken, mend. If you are tired, push harder. There is a difference.
Those who find luck have looked for it. They don’t push themselves to be lucky.
There is no four-leaf clover that gets you past the finish line. The only green you’ll see is the coloring on the new Beast medal you may achieve to complete your coveted Trifecta, and for those conquering that goal this year, believe me—luck has nothing to do with it. Remember, racing and race preparation follow the same model: work hard, stay motivated, dedicate to your training, and push the limits. As you will find through this journey, effort is required, not luck.