How To Prepare A Spartan Race
04 Jan

This post tells the story of how Tomas used his grinta and Zestful attitude to run his first Spartan obstacles race, and finish in the first three hundred. BEAST!

If you haven’t heard of the Spartan Races, then you probably have ignored that Facebook post from a friend who ran one recently. Or, you just don’t give a darn, because you don’t understand why anyone would get muddy, risk breaking their neck and…have to pay for it, as well!

That’s fair. I get it, too.

You might CHANGE your mind, though. 

Read on and see for yourself.


The Obstacle Races Trend


The obstacle race concept has conquered the mind and hearts of American runners, cross fitters and thrill-seekers. It is slowly setting into Europe’s running landscape. In Europe, the races are currently divided between the Spartan Races (France, Spain, Germany, UK, Eastern Europe) and the Nordic Races (Scandinavian countries).


Spartan Obstacles Races Europe Location

Spartan Races Locations in Europe


Following the commoditization of Marathons, running is evolving. It is no longer all about your legs and feet. You’ve got to use your body, as a whole. The current trend of obstacle races is based on a cross fit “slash” race hybrid concept, somewhere in between an endurance event and the extreme military obstacle training grounds (without the Full Metal Jacket guy shouting at you).


As a Spartan runner, you’ll crawl under barbwire, jump over fire, drag tires, navigate through mud, or carry heavy loads of dirt. You’ll run distances ranging from a few miles to marathon distances. Races length range from small distances with a few obstacles (Spartan Sprint) to marathon type distances with +60 obstacles (Spartan Ultra Beast).

Running is evolving into something more entertaining. The Millennials have taken over!

Sure! You’ve got to sweat. But, you should have fun, too. It’s almost as if running a marathon was too dull an activity nowadays. It’s much better to run twenty-six miles, and add some tire dragging, barbwire crawling and wall climbing on the way. 

The concept is new, and, with all change, there’s division.

Some say it’s utter madness (Those who have seen the Spartan movie know how cheap this pun is). 

Others see the trend as an innovative and entertaining running challenge.

I’m with the latter group! I find it wacky, but it definitely brings some sparkle to running long distances. Men can let out their buried wild side, and women can let out their <fill in the blank> (‘cause I’m not quite sure) and have fun, too.


Tomas’ Story


When Tomas chose to run Le Castellet’s Spartan Beast race (Le Castellet is in the South of France) last November with our black Zestful compression socks, the Zestful compression team was thrilled. It was our chance, as an emerging compression-clothing brand, to test the quality of our gear. Despite its sixteen miles, packed with all sorts of enduring obstacles, Tomas performed wonderfully on the race. 

After more than four hours, he finished in the first quarter of the race (he ranked 329th out of roughly 1,622 Spartan runners).


Tomas at the finish of Spartan obstacles race

A Happy Man At The Finish Line!

Tomas is a regular runner and likes to throw a few kicks in a bag at his local Muay Thai Gym. However, he was lacking an exciting challenge, an objective that didn’t involve getting into a ring and punching a human being. 

He first came across the obstacle race concept last year, when he ran at the Mud Day event in France.



His Preparation For The Spartan Obstacles Race


Based on my conversations with him, he wanted to focus mainly on the endurance side of things. 

“It was going to come down to just that, running. If I can train hard enough and make sure I can run sixteen miles, then I’ll finish the race, whatever happens,” he said. 


He ran several times a week, and changed his food diet (low alcohol/sugar diet).

Of course, it wasn’t as simple as that.

Tomas also hired a cross fit trainer twice a week. For his lunch break, he drove to the gym and performed several series of squats, burpee push ups and pull ups, two to three times a week.

He won’t admit it, but that helped him get through most of the obstacles, such as carrying sixty-five pounds for half a mile, or climb up a six-foot wall.


Running Up And Down The Hill With 65 Lbs On His Shoulders


The Million-Dollar Question


Why Does Anyone Want To Go Through Such An Endeavor?


For the same reason that people run marathons.

I think people sign up for Spartan (type) races to i) prepare for a seemingly insurmountable challenge and to ii) stay in shape.

That comes down to personal pride and health.

It gives you something to aim for; something you don’t believe you can reach. Initially. And then, when you actually finish the race, you wonder what all the fuss was about.

It’s part of the dream big concept. Aim for something crazy, something that belongs to the world of dreams, that far away place you so eagerly and easily travelled to as a little boy or girl, but that has become such a queer place to us adults.

Aim for that big objective, and see how stubbornly you stick to a routine of work out; how diligent you become with your foot diet. 

Everything Comes Into Place


Zestful Compression Spartan Race

Jumping Over Hot Charcoal

As a spectator of Tomas’ preparation, I couldn’t help but admire the effortless discipline he demonstrated daily. The cause he was preparing for was bigger than him and he surrendered his will to it. I’ll state the secondary, almost unnoticed benefits of surrendering to his big objective: mental health, incredible fitness, and tremendous pride. 

The race was hard, exhausting, filthy but it was worth the struggle, he told me.

It was so worth it, he signed up, with his brother, to run the Barcelona Spartan Beast Race on May 27th.


And he’ll be running with our compression gear, again.

“Zestful compression socks helped me get through the race. They kept my muscles and shins stable, kept the blood flowing, and added an extra layer of protection against stone and branch scratches. I felt really confident with them on.”


On behalf of the Zestful Compression team, I’d like to thank Tomas for taking our gear with him and wish him all the best for his next Spartan obstacle race.

If you usually run marathons, work out at the cross fit gym, or run for fun, why not try a race?

I’ve listed below a few resources for you to get started on your journey:

Spartan Races website

Nordic Races website

5 Beginner Cross Fit exercises

Upcoming Spartan Races in Europe


Let me know your thoughts on Tomas’ story and obstacle races (or just <fill in the blank> mentioned above) in the comment below.


Has it inspired you to try an obstacle race?


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Stay Happy, Stay Zestful!

Your friend,