As you are reading this, we are getting busy to do a back to back Spartan Race Weekend in Cambridegshire UK. I expect this to be a blast – it’s the perfect venue for a muddy obstacle race.
We’ve have also worked relentlessly to improve our running game, thus it will also be a competitive test. Both Helena and I are participating in the elite heat and will not give up easily. To prepare for this race we have slowly tapering off the volume and intensity of the training too.
For the past 2 weeks I personally reduced running load by half, same included for strength training. For example heavy squats and deadlifts now are much lighter single leg variants. As for running: no more steep hill work, much shorter tempo runs and less of long slow distance running.
Primarily we focused on maintaining aerobic capacity that we worked hard to attain in the past 6 months, while allowing limbs and overworked biomechanics to recover. In the end last thing we want is to head to race having a pair of stone tight and fatigued legs, right?
To maintain the aerobic capacity without compromising recovery we added more cross-training into the mix.
Overall, this is how I train in the two weeks leading up to a race:
- Cross-training: To replace recovery runs, which would typically be 20-40mins of easy jog at <75% HRM effort. We replaced these runs with indoor cycle rides, of the same length.
- Strength training: Shifted focus to pulling and grip, rather than raw stretch and pull power. This means tapering down on deadlifts, pull-ups and monkey bar work. Instead, we’re double downing on dead hangs and technical movements, such as rope pulling.
- Running: Volume reduced by 1/3 or 1/2. You shouldn’t maintain your running regime up to the race day so that your legs can naturally rest and recover. Again adding cross-training and easing your training will help heaps. Remember, it’s the months before a race, not the week before, that decide your performance on the day.