Training to Race: Why Physical Preparedness is the Name the Game

Training to Race: Why Physical Preparedness is the Name the Game

Currently, we have a group of athletes training for a Spartan Race in June.  They have combined their CrossFit training with specific skill and endurance work to prepare for their upcoming race.  They are focused, dedicated and doing a fabulous job of preparing for their event. 


Working with this group, highlights the importance of the concept of training to compete versus showing up at the starting line without putting the work in, which by the way, is a terrific recipe for getting injured and for having a bad experience.  

When we undertake something like training for a Spartan race, it’s important to look at the two main components of your overall effort - the training and the race itself. I have always considered that having a successful training season as more important and notable as the actual race itself. 

Having run 25 marathons, I have had two different races over the years that I trained for and never raced due to injury right before the event.  Can you imagine training for months and never actually racing in the event??  Ouch!!  I didn’t get a medal or t-shirt that year, but I did experience the satisfaction of knowing that I trained properly and was prepared to race. Putting together and executing on a training plan will not only provide you the physical preparedness, but also the confidence you need on race day.  


It’s important that you have a successful training season. You might not nail every run or obstacle in your preparation – we account for that.  The race itself is the finale of your training season, it’s the sum total of everything you have done to prepare for that day. 

Race day might be good or it may be bad. The weather might be awful, you might be sick that day, it might be 95 degrees, you might lose a shoe in the first mile. There are so many things outside of your control that can throw you off, but you can control how you prepare for the event.  You can do the miles, you can climb the walls, throw the tires and climb the rope to prepare. There is great satisfaction in the training itself. 

Finally, notice that I’ve been talking about racing. An event like the Spartan is just that, a race! It’s not a Spartan Run, it’s a race because you train for it and you compete on that day. One coach used to tell me: it’s called a race for a reason- it’s a race! 

I’ve always believed that being able to train successfully, avoiding injury and actually just getting in the starting line is 80% of your overall effort. The race itself is the icing on top of the cake- it’s the culmination of your effort to get there. Through your training, you should feel like you have earned a spot at the starting line.  Look around at the other faces in the race corral just before the start and know that you have trained better than anyone else there. 

Do the miles. Do the training. Be ready for anything that race day may throw at you and most importantly, be ready to do your best.   

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