This post is sponsored by Life Time Fitness, however all opinions, workout suggestions, and enthusiasm are strictly my own.
In a perfect world, obstacle course racing training would happen in the great outdoors. What could be more magnificent (and challenging) than charging up a mountain, leaping across creeks and hauling around rocks and logs? But, let’s be real, for many of us, it’s hard to get to Mother Nature’s gym on a regular basis.
Between work schedules, kid’s activities, inclement weather (cold and hot), and too many accidents running in the dark, I’ve redirected about 75% of my obstacle course training to the gym. I’ve been a member of Life Time Fitness for several months now and have never been at a loss for equipment to get a fierce solo workout accomplished, for a fun and motivating group fitness class to join, or for other amenities to keep me strong, adaptable and resilient for my upcoming Spartan World Championship in Lake Tahoe on Sept 30. Read on to get my Peak Week Spartan Training Gym Workout and also find out about some ways that Life Time Fitness is helping me reach my athletic goals – and can you too!
Ahhh peak weak, as a lifelong distance runner I have a love-hate relationship with this strategy of piling on the miles and speed, before ratcheting everything down for a week or two of taper. As awful and tiring as it can be, I know I’ve pushed my body to the limit in training, and will hopefully see the reward of my efforts on race day – that I love! For obstacle course racing, I still put the pedal to the metal in my final stages of training, but instead of just miles and speed, I’m also upping the weights, heavy stuff that I carry around, and overall workload intensity.
Today, I’m sharing the Spartan Peak Week Gym Workout I have planned for later this week. Ideally, I would suggest doing this type of workout once or twice, up to two weeks out from the event. Everything can be done with equipment found inside your basic gym (or a premier health club like Life Time Fitness) and is easily scalable to the distance of obstacle course race being done. For example, in Spartan races, there are several race lengths including Sprint (3+ miles/20+ obstacles), Super (8+ miles/25+ obstacles) and Beast (12+ miles/20+ obstacles) – if peaking for a Spartan Sprint, do 1 full round of the workout, for a Spartan Super, do 2 full rounds and for the Spartan Beast, do 3 full rounds.
Workout Notes: This is not a jog or a workout to be done at your leisure. For all intensive purposes think of this as a race simulation and complete each 800m at a brisk but manageable pace as if you were racing from one obstacle to the next. You don’t want to be so gassed after each interval that time is wasted catching your breath before you can tackle the exercise, but you also need to be working at pretty decent clip. I aim for about 80 to 85 percent of my maximum pace for that half-mile distance. For weighted exercises, go as heavy as you can with good form (and keeping with your goal of doing 1, 2 or 3 sets depending on race distance)– this is peak week, after all! Remember, obstacle course races aren’t necessarily about being able to run the fastest or having the most brute strength, it’s about being able to manage overall workload and demonstrate the skills and smart thinking to get the finish line to the best of your optimal ability.
Leading up to a workout like this, I’ve spent a few months upping my overall strength and ability to do high-intensity bursts in the TEAM Alpha class at Life Time Fitness. Many of y’all know I have fit CrossFit on a limited basis into my schedule for the last 7 or 8 years – and then my dear friend (and her CrossFit box) up and moved to Dallas. TEAM Alpha has been a seamless way for me to step back into some Olympic lifting improve my form and skills – plus, I LOVE the high-intensity workouts that focus on strength and athletic movement at the highest, most physical level. Groups are pretty small (I’ve never had more that 4 to 6 people in one session), which allows for plenty of personal instruction time . . . and also chance to really get to know the people your workout out with! Are you ready to learn more about TEAM Alpha?
On my #RoadToTahoe to compete in the 2017 Spartan World Championships, I’ve also been improving my flexibility and posture with yoga class once or twice a week and have even tried Pilates for the first time! This not-so-great swimmer has also been taking a few laps in the pool in anticipation of one of my biggest concerns, jumping in the freezing cold Lake Tahoe. I’ve noticed though that serious stroke practice with turns really silly after about 2 or 3 laps!
Finally, today, I indulged in a 90-minute sports massage in the Life Spa. Really, I shouldn’t look at this sort of service as a splurge, but rather essential care for body maintenance and recovery – she worked on myofascial release and trigger point therapy. I pretty much walked in there hunched over with an angry trapezius, stiff neck and tight back . . .not to mention an IT Band that was acting up, and walked out feeling great (although sleepy). I’m going to start making this sort of (assisted) self-care a priority in my workout routine – even more important as I’m getting older to keep all systems in working order!
Other exciting news for those considering or already into obstacle course racing – Life Time Fitness and Spartan have come together to create Spartan Strong, a new, intense group fitness class is debuting exclusively at Life Time destinations. Focusing on studio-based exercises that challenge the body and mind, this class can help individuals conquer life’s everyday challenges off the race course! More than 100 of Life Time’s premium athletic resort destinations across the country will offer the class, rolling out now throughout 2018.
Also, check out this other great OCR Workout of mine designed for the gym, 30-Minute Spartan Treadmill Chipper
What is the next obstacle course race you are taking on? Have you even been to a Life Time Fitness location before? What is your biggest challenge in training? Please share in the comments, I’d love to chat – XOXO, Jennifer