Should I Run A Spartan Race?

by | Dec 30, 2019 | Spartan Race Training

Should I run a Spartan Race

Obstacle Course racing started gaining traction over the past decade. It pretty much goes as it sounds: people run, do an obstacle or test of some sort, run again, rinsing and repeating over 5-26 kilometres (okay, maybe without the rinsing). It goes by different brand names and Singapore has seen a couple come and go, but the one that has stuck perennially goes by the fabled/dreaded name: The Spartan Race.

You’ve probably heard all about The Spartan Race by now. You’ve seen the pictures of mud and ropes and people too well-built traversing obstacles too impossible to cross.

“That sounds like fun/torture!” Is the most common sliding scale of emotion I’ve heard people say. Those on the “fun” end of the spectrum have probably run a few Trifectas by now (go on, ask them about it) and those on the “torture” end of the line won’t touch the race with a 10-foot pole, let alone pay to run it.

As someone who has run a Spartan Race before, helps people move better for a living and who isn’t getting paid by Spartan Race to write this (yes, I do have some free time), here’s what I think:

Firstly, if you’re one of those people who’ve thought about signing up but are too scared, you need to be first to the starting line. Chances are you’ve read all about the race, you’ve repeatedly searched “Spartan Race tips” on Google, you already have a gym membership, and you’re actively looking for ways to improve your fitness.

Spartan Race - John Cheah

“That was me in 2012.” –  John Cheah


That was me in 2012. As someone already generally fit and strong, I enjoyed the whole experience, and it was something I could work towards during my training sessions. If you can say with certainty that you’ve been doing your homework, then I’ll say go for it, and all the best for this exam.

But if you’re getting off your couch after 10 years of inactivity, I’m going to suggest that you give it at least a 5-6 month lead time where you accumulate aerobic capacity and specific skills for the race. No one wants to finish a Spartan Race without performing any obstacles and doing only burpees. The next Spartan Race in Singapore happens in January 2020, and now’s the best time to get started.

There’s something to be said about doing something well. Anyone can run a thing and get a participation medal at the end, but if you do the homework and devote some time to acquiring skills you didn’t have before, that medal will mean a lot more as you get hosed down by Rambo-with-the-water-cannon at the end of the race.

Finally, if you’ve already done a Trifecta or three, aim higher. The Spartan race is an excellent test of strength, skill and aerobic capacity, and you’ve proven you have all three! Push yourself in new ways, look at your fitness from another angle and set new goals for yourself. Try hand balancing, venture into olympic weightlifting, or maybe run another, more brutal adventure race like the Tuff Mudder. One of these things isn’t better than the others, but if you like pushing yourself, why not challenge yourself by becoming a beginner once again?

Perhaps the common thread in all these three avatars is this: no one likes to be The Beginner. Getting outside your comfort zone is tough, but charging straight into the unknown isn’t the best thing either. Be honest, do your homework, and then take that next step knowing you’ve done all you can to be where you are.

This article was written by John Cheah.

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