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Top Ten Tips for taking on your first Spartan Race

Marc Trussell is the country’s highest-qualified Spartan Race SGX Coach and the first and only Spartan Delta holder in the UK, one of only 10 in the world. Now specialising in Obstacle Course Race coaching, Marc is also a Personal Trainer qualified in CrossFit and MovNat. He has a background in Double Iron distance Triathlon and 100-mile Ultrarunning. Find out more at and

With less than two weeks to go until the launch of the 2018 Spartan Season, I asked Marc to give me his top ten tips for taking on your first Spartan Race... Take it away Marc!

#1 Join the Spartan Race UK mailing list.

Click here and check out our Facebook page . There’s a wealth of information available for those taking on their first Spartan Race and for seasoned racers alike - tips from coaches, interviews with elite athletes and discount codes too.

#2 Make sure your kit is on point.

You are going to need some quite rugged off-road running footwear, so invest in some trail shoes. This isn't a road race. Avoid wearing cotton at all costs. At some point in the race, you are going to get wet and it will drag you down.

#3 Start running.

You’re going to need a decent base of fitness, so get out there and run. Venture off-road and find trails, working up to covering your chosen race distance, initially without the obstacles.

#4 Become used to being comfortable with being uncomfortable.

When running, train in all weathers. Get muddy, get wet, get uncomfortable! Include some bodyweight exercise in your run. For example, 10m bear crawl, 15 x press-ups, 20 x squats every 5 minutes. Mix it up. Become creative.

#5 Master that burpee.

Regardless of tip 4, whether you’re at the spear throw or on Mount Olympus, those burpees may well make an appearance on race day. Embrace them! Get working on some Tabata burpee training (4 mins - 20 seconds work / 10 seconds rest x 8 rounds), shoot for 5 burpees per 20 second interval. That’s 40 burpees done, and at Spartan Race we ask you for just 30 if you fail an obstacle. That’s a win, right?

#6 Carry awkward stuff.

Whether it’s a bucket, a sandbag pancake or a chunk of wood, at various points in your Spartan Race you will be carrying something. Incorporate this into your training, carrying natural materials such as rocks and logs, especially up and down hills.

#7 Nothing new on the day.

It’s a week before your race, you’ve just bought a new compression top, so now test it out before race day to ensure it’s comfortable. This rule applies to everything: shoes, shorts, socks and nutrition as well. Nobody wants gut problems before a rope climb.

#8 Compose yourself.

When you approach an obstacle on race day, walk to it rather than run, especially in the latter half of the race. This will be give you time to compose yourself, make a judgement and watch how best (or not!) to get over it, through it, carry or throw it. The right mindset and game plan may well save you that 30 burpee penalty (see above).

#9 Enjoy the experience and smile at the marshals.

Running a Spartan Race is an awesome experience, so take time out to enjoy every mile and obstacle. Engage with the marshals. They love a ‘high-five’ and a muddy hug. Share a smile. Some marshals even give out jelly babies.

#10 Help your fellow Spartan.

You’re in this together, so if a fellow Spartan needs a hand over a wall, or some encouragement over the cargo, then help them out and don’t feel afraid to ask for help yourself if you need it. As you conquer your first Spartan Race, remember to live by the Spartan warrior ethos: Never leave a fallen comrade behind.

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