The Spartan Race at AT&T: Talking obstacles

The Spartan Race at AT&T: Talking obstacles
August 7, 2014, 9:30 am
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There's still time to register for the Spartan Race at AT&T Park on Saturday, August 9.  

Cole Kuiper

Editor's note: Cole Kuiper is an obstacle race veteran and programming coordinator at CSN Bay Area. He'll be filing blogs right here as he continues his training for the August 9 Spartan Race at AT&T Park. 

Less than a week until Spartan Race, and I am ready for the run.

This week’s training certainly isn’t going to be as intense as the rest of my training has been, but fear of being sore for the race is definitely not an excuse to go easy on yourself this week.

[REWIND: Spartan Race training -- 10 days left]

I’m doing high-cardio workouts every day with two days of weight training to get ready. I’ve also been watching my fair share of YouTube videos of previous Stadium Sprint Spartan Races to get an idea of what obstacles I could be facing.

And since you should all have your workout plans pretty down pat by now, let’s talk about said obstacles.

Spartan Racers don’t get to find out the obstacles they’ll be facing until race day, so I’ll take this as an opportunity to break down some of the common obstacles and how I plan to attack them.

And remember, every failed obstacle is a penalty of 30 burpees.

Rope Wall: Spartans must scale a 10-foot wall with a knotted rope hanging down to climb up. This obstacle shouldn’t be too hard, especially if it comes earlier rather than later in the race. I have to focus on upper body strength and let my legs brace myself against the wall.

Horizontal Wall Traverse: Spartans must cross a rock wall over a gap. I dabbled in bouldering while at UCSB, so I know they key here is not to lose focus. Unless you’re running barefoot, be aware of your feet, as your shoes will keep you from really feeling your grips.

Barbed Wire Crawl: Spartans must crawl under strings of barbed wire. This obstacle exists to interrupt your rhythm. As you’ve been running and tearing through obstacles, all of a sudden you’re stuck in a slow, and scary, crawl. Just keep your head in the game and don’t go too slow and risk cramping.

Hawaiian Squats: Spartans must cross a full aisle of stadium seats and sit down and stand up in every seat, doing a squat.

This one could be rough, but it’s definitely doable. Squats without weights are usually a mind-over-matter thing in my experience.

Slippery Wall: Spartans must scale a greased inclined wall with a knotted rope hanging down to climb up.

It's pretty much the same thing as the rope wall. Obstacles like this are making me curious to see how much of a team race this becomes, as previous Obstacle Races I’ve done have had people boosting their friends form the bottom and grabbing their hand at the top.

[RELATED: Register here for The Spartan Race at AT&T Park]

Monkey Net: Spartan must traverse a gap while hanging above it, like Monkey Bars but a Cargo Net.

I’ve read that I need to focus on not swinging (unlike my usual monkey-bars technique) and use my arm strength to keep stable as I cross.

Water Jug Carry: Spartans must carry two 40 lb jugs of water up and down a staircase. I'm not looking forward to this. It would be one thing if it was across flat ground and I could shuffle like a zombie, but up the stairs could real real tough.

Spear Throw: Spartans must throw a javelin into a target from -- 20 feet away. I’ve never thrown a spear. But I’ve seen spears thrown in movies. I saw “300“ on opening night back in college. So that should help, right? Probably not. Even after researching spear-throwing techniques online, I’m fully expecting to do some burpees for this one.

[RELATED: The Spartan Race -- what you need to know

Hay Bale Jumps: Spartans must leap over rolled hay bales. I was a hurdler in high school, so I’m not too worried about leaping hay bales… that is, if my legs are still fully functional at this point.

Fire Jump: Spartans must leap over a small fire, usually as one of the final obstacles of the race.

No real strategy here. Just have to try to channel my inner action hero star, give it a good leap, and smile for the cameras.

So that’s a look at what we could be facing this Saturday. It will be interesting to see which obstacles end up at AT&T Park, but we won’t know until they’re right in our face!

Follow Cole Kuiper on Twitter as he prepares for The Spartan Race: @hellacmk

Watch the Spartan Race on NBCSN: Follow the journey of top athletes as they tackle the grueling challenges of Reebok Spartan Race, the global leader in obstacle racing. Don’t miss your front row seat to watch these fearless athletes showcase their abilities as they jump over fire, crawl under wires, and throw spears. Tune in beginning July 22nd at 11 p.m. ET on NBCSN to watch five races all leading up to the Spartan Race World Championship when the best and bravest compete for the title on November 16th at 3 p.m. ET on NBC. Follow @SpartanRace to learn more today.