One of my more popular posts to date has been an article that I wrote on what I called "cross-obstacle races." Since I wrote that post, a number of similar events that combine running with strength and balance challenging obstacles have cropped up. One such event is the Reebok Spartan Race.
The Spartan Race is offered in a variety of different distances, including the Spartan Sprint (3+ miles, 15+ obstacles), Super Spartan (8+ miles, 20+ obstacles), Spartan Beast (12+ miles, 25+ obstacles), and Death Race. The exact distance and number of obstacles (along with the price) varies from venue to venue. Obstacles may include hazards such as fire, mud, water, and barbed wire, but the actual obstacles aren't revealed until race day. A list of available races can be found here. You can also enter as a team, in case you and a group of your friends are all looking for an obstacle race (because let's face it, races like this are, at their core, social events).
|Spartan Race Events. Click to enlarge.|
As you all know, everyone has different motivation for running and working out, as well as different ways of challenging themselves. Functional fitness type exercises like Crossfit and Beachbody programs (think P90X and Insanity) have gotten big lately. While many bodybuilders and powerlifters who live by the "lift heavy" mantra roll their eyes at such programs, the fact is that these programs have gotten countless people moving and changed a ton of lives for the better. (Not to mention, I've seen some Crossfitters who are absolute BEASTS). I feel like Spartan Race and other similar obstacle races are to running the way Crossfit is to weight lifting. There will always be "serious runners" who don't take obstacle races seriously, but if people are getting fit and having fun, that's really what's important. Plus the (well-deserved) feeling of accomplishment is addictive, and will likely encourage people to continue to be active. And really, if you have the energy to jump over fire after racing, all the more power to you, that's freaking awesome. There were plenty of steeplechases in college where I didn't have the energy to make it over water, and water is at least, you know, refreshing. So for anyone who doesn't take obstacle races seriously, but somehow got this far in this post...maybe a Spartan Sprint is what it would take to get your sedentary buddy to be active, or maybe convince your friend to transform himself from weekend warrior to athlete. Additionally, an obstacle race might be a fun option for the runner taking a season off from "serious" racing, and looking to mix it up a little. Working on all-around fitness may possibly even help them improve their running by helping to address muscle imbalances.
|Reebok All-Terrain Super|
Interestingly, Reebok has introduced a line of shoes, called the Reebok All-Terrain, that go hand-in-hand with Spartan Race. I've never even seen these shoes in person, so I can't comment much on them, other than the fact that while Reebok seems to have pulled out of the running market (they haven't made running shoes for a while, and I know that more recently, they've dropped many, if not all, of their sponsored track and field athletes), it has become a fairly prominent Crossfit company. The soles look fairly aggressive, with big lugs for mud traction and smaller lugs along the arch (presumably for rope climbing or lateral movement in the mud?), so I'd assume they're intended to be a mud and loose trail conditions shoe, and would probably not be a good choice for roads or indoor training. I suspect that most trail shoes with deep lugs and a durable upper would work well for Spartan Race training, but if anyone has worn these, please leave a comment, because I'd be curious to hear your opinion on them!
Now, I do want to make something clear. I haven't done a Spartan Race, and at this particular moment in time, I have my fall goal races lined up, so the Spartan Race doesn't fit into my 2014 schedule. However, when Dan from Spartan Race contacted me about it, I felt like it was something that many of my readers might be interested in, particularly those of you who are into plyometrics, Pilates, Crossfit, Beachbody videos, or other functional fitness forms of exercise, so I wanted to give you guys the chance to hear about the events (if you haven't already), as well as give you the opportunity to potentially win a free Spartan Race entry. I've seen a lot of my friends posting pictures on Facebook from Spartan Race and other similar obstacle races, and it looks like a great way to get moving, have fun, and give yourself an excuse to build some upper body muscle!
And now what you've all been waiting for, I have a code for a free entry into a 2014 Spartan Race of your choice! Entry is good for any open heat in a 2014 Spartan Race in the continental United States. Contest ends Friday, 6/13/14 at midnight Eastern time. All you have to do is enter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Full disclosure: I am not affiliated with Reebok or Spartan Race, and all opinions expressed in this review are mine and based on my experience, and do not reflect the opinions of Reebok, Spartan Race, or anyone else.