The pre training motivational talk..
Meet your new friend for the day
After some various introductions we got underway but before we did we were introduced to our new friend for the day – a 5 foot log. In true Spartan spirit our task was to carry this log on our shoulder for the rest of the morning from start to finish! Let alone 4 hours I was knackered after 4 minutes however I found that you actually get used to the extra weight fairly quickly and it becomes the norm whilst running. We were told the reason for these logs was to improve our balance whilst on the twisting terrains and make us more adaptable on race day.
Off into the woods
Using the muddy hill to practice our crab crawls
Off we went carrying the logs on our shoulder and into the woods for a km or so before stopping for some technique classes. First crawling was on the agenda – bear crawls and crab crawls. If you though there’s no technique to getting down a muddy hill you would be wrong as the most efficient way is the crab crawl (see below). Get into a crab position with your bum facing the floor, keep your hips up, palms on the ground and fingers pointing your feet ,making sure you’re using your toes and not heels to grip.
This way you can easily and safely get down a hill when it’s too steep. Don’t forget the bear crawls though and we were luckily (or unlucky?) to have some muddy bogs to get through. Technique here is to alternate arms and legs when crawling and digging your toes into the ground to keep grip. After practicing these for a while we were let loose on some muddy hills by a stream to get up and down.
Crab crawl in action
Obstacle set up for chin ups and body hangs
With crawls completed it was back off into the woods to our next challenge and to work on our upper body strength. Body hangs and leg raises were on the agenda here with some obstacles set up for this. Quite simple hang like a monkey for as long as you can – sounds simple? Well try it for more than 60 seconds… Once we were all warmed up we introduced some leg raises into our body hangs but the aim was to get your legs above your head! 10 reps was the target. Easy…What’s next? Over to the water.
Finally time to get wet
Next up was practicing some traversing across the stream. Two lines were set across a running stream with various options of getting across; the standing approach with a line for the feet and hands or just one line (see above!). We were giving some tips here to avoid the rope burn on the legs (if you’ve done Tough Mudder you might have experienced the rope burn) – the technique here is to rather than drag the legs over the line but to place them in tandem with the arms. I found here also to have quite a large reach so you’ve got space for the legs on the rope which stops you’re feet getting caught up.
After we got a bit wet it was time for some strength training which involved throwing our log for 100m up hill. Then followed by some jumping practice. After this it was time to head back and carry the log home. On route back we had some more water to cross and navigated done stream for 30m keeping our log dry of course!
I will be following up the training session with the Spartan 5k sprint this year so wait for the review! Head to Spartan Race Training to have a go on the advanced or beginners course. I had a great time and enjoyed the morning training with likeminded people and picking up some tips for racing. They are also running a competition to win free places here . Thanks to Epic Action Imagery for the images.