Delusion often follows every Spartan Race training session – “It wasn’t that bad,” I think, “I’m quite fit actually.”
But revisiting the movements has a habit of reminding us we are not blessed with a natural level of fitness, or in some cases, even coordination.
With less than two weeks until the Spartan Race on April 14, the group of Post reporters completed their penultimate training session with personal trainer Andrew Power, as they count down to tackling the challenge.
The Spartan Race is a 6 kilometre obstacle course involving monkey bars, crawls, weights, and electric shocks – with a set of 30 burpees the punishment for failing any section.
We have been training with Power for six weeks now, and on Wednesday we covered burpees and bear crawls to make sure we had not forgotten the technique.
“It is vital to ensure all team members are competent in their mastery of each technique,” Power said. “Secondly, once I had established confidence in their handling of each exercise, the plan was to push team members close to the point of exhaustion to mimic the race.”
And push us he did.
The full-body nature of the movement quickly brings you close to exhaustion . We did 30 non-stop, and were blowing like whales, which does not bode well for the race.
The burpee can be broken into phases. A press up, then bring your feet to your hands in one swift jump and finally a squat jump.
From there, we dropped to the floor and went straight into 50 metres of bear crawls.
With your weight on your hands and your toes, your knees bent and your hips low so your back is straight, you basically begin to lumber forward like … well, a bear.
It works your core, along with most muscles in your body. But what’s more, it requires a degree of coordination that proved beyond some of us.
Once we reached the 50 metre mark, we turned and crawled on our bellies in preparation for the barbed wire obstacle that will see us pass under the spikes, which are just a foot off the ground.
We finished with monkey bars and dead hangs, where we simply hung for an extended period of time.
The few seconds we managed to stay suspended highlighted our need to practise burpees – I suspect we’ll all be doing plenty of them for any hanging obstacle, having witnessed each of us flounder supporting our own weight.
Power was less pessimistic: “I am witnessing the boys make great strides with both technique and fitness as each session passes.”
But it’s not over yet.
“It is essential that the next seven to eights days is utilised as the final hard core training week,” he said, “before two or three days of rest and recovery before the race to ensure adequate preparation.”