Diary of a Spartan Warrior: Week 11
Switching it Up Again...
After a little over three weeks on their current workout, our team of Real Food Warriors are switching up their routine once again to prepare for the Super Spartan Race in February.
For the past few weeks, BistroMD’s team of Spartan warriors have been on a power and strength-training kick, mastering exercises like pull-ups, power squats and jumping rope. Now, their workout is about to get more intense by incorporating more intense bouts of cardio.
“In addition to adding cone weaves, high knees and shuttle runs, our warriors will also be adding intense bouts of cardio,” says Sean Wells, a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA and the fitness expert at BistroMD. “Instead of just doing their strength and power training on separate days, our warriors will still be doing this, but with the addition of extra cardio.”
Learn why our warriors are switching into this phase, and what type of cardio they are doing to ensure they succeed on race day.
Embracing Interval Cardio
In their third week of this second phase of their training, our Spartan warriors will be embracing more interval cardio than anything else.
“Interval cardio is when you break down your cardio into various time bouts of higher intensity and lower intensity,” says Sean. “This adjustment in speed and intensity prepares your body for changes in pace for races like The Super Spartan Race. You don’t know how intense the terrain or the pace will be until you get there the day of. This kind of cardio prepares your body to handle these type of changes, and improves endurance.”
You can perform interval cardio on a treadmill, or just by running outside on your own. To start off, warm up by jogging at a medium pace for about 4-6 minutes. Then crank up the speed to a higher intensity. (At this point, you should be running or sprinting, not jogging.) You goal is 1-2 miles at this higher intensity. Once you meet this goal, adjust the speed back down to a medium pace (jogging). Rotate between these speeds, until you reach the four mile mark, or for about 30 minutes.
Since our team of Spartan warriors will be doing a combination of cardio plus a number of different obstacles at the actual race, it’s important that they incorporate this type of cardio into their training.
“For two days every week, our warriors will be performing interval cardio. They will still perform their pace cardio also, but in combination with their strength training and power activities three days out of the week,” says Sean. “This type of intensity will be very similar to what our warriors will face on race day, so it’s important that they prepare their bodies physically for these dynamic shifts.”
Not Pushing too Much...
Even though this type of workout is very intense, it’s important not to push the boundaries too much when it comes to your weights.
“One of the most important facets of this workout is the lower reps,” says Sean. “Ideally, with these power exercises, you shouldn’t have to do more than 5 reps to feel the burn. If the activity gets too easy with a certain weight limit, then it’s wise to increase your weights to about 5-10 pounds.”
Why such lower reps? The most important reason is that it prevents injury. It’s also recommended that you take plenty of rest time between these power-training activities. This also prevents injury, but it also allows the muscles in your body enough recovery time between activities to adjust to the increased weight limit and intensity.
It's also important that you perform dynamic stretches before each power or strength-training workout.