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Ready to test your fitness? Looking for motivation to hit the gym hard? Nothing will whip you into shape and hold you accountable quicker than signing up for an obstacle course race like the Spartan. This race is built to unleash your inner beast by testing your limits through long, grueling obstacles like jumping over fire, crawling under barbed wire, and carrying heavy things — all throughout miles of rugged terrain.
In September of 2017, I completed my first Spartan Beast Race at Killington Mountain in Vermont. Here are a few tips for preparing for your first Spartan race.
Beast mode: ON.
Find a team.
Recruit your friends, work out buddies, or like-minded individuals who aren’t afraid to get a little dirty. This is a long, challenging course to do alone. You certainly can, but having team members available to lend you a hand as you climb walls is a valuable asset. These races are designed not only to test you physically but mentally as well. Strength comes in numbers, and having someone to run alongside you is a great way to keep your motivation moving throughout the race.
Train.
One thing that sets obstacles course races apart from others are the creative challenges you’ll face throughout the race.  Although it will help, you’ll need to train for more than just endurance and running. Expect to be climbing, lifting, crawling, swinging and jumping your way throughout your trek. To prepare for this, Mark Barroso, contributing author for Men’s Health, suggests incorporating specific strength, agility, and grip exercises into your workout routine.
Hydrate.
Hydration is key during, throughout, and after you complete your first race. Before your race, consider starting a hydration plan to keep you on track. Make it a habit to carry your water bottle around with you everywhere you go and set goals for yourself to drink the correct amount of water for your body each day. Water is essential for keeping you energized and replacing the fluids that are being lost when you sweat. Therefore, it’s crucial to stay hydrated throughout your race.
When all is said and done, remember to enjoy your time. Celebrate your wins and losses, and bond with your teammates over an unforgettable memory.
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The photo above shows me crossing the finish line along with two of my teammates, Molly “Black Soul” Lister and Steve “The Hamburger” Anderson. The 8-hour race was one of the hardest physical challenges I’ve experienced in life. I was pushed to physical and mental limits I didn’t know I could reach. Team Beantown Bootcamp came in 8th place with an average time of 5:42:07. Bruised, battered and bleeding, I crossed the finish line at 7:38:02.