Preparing for a Spartan Beast
I had to defer my Spartan Beast last year. My training plan actually included training for — and running — the Raccoon Mountain Marathon in Chattanooga. This would have been my first marathon, but I’ve done a lot of runs in the mid-teen range so it did not seem like too much of a stretch goal. I expected to get the marathon under my belt and then shift to free weights and body-weight training before hitting the Spartan Beast east of Columbus, Ohio (visiting some friends and my alma mater along the way).
I was doing long runs on the weekend but neglecting to build a base during the week. I had previously pulled a calf pretty severely when using Hal Higdon’s novice marathon training plan in the early 2000s. Older, I expected fewer miles would be better. The Raccoon Mountain team had a training plan that looked do-able and I was following it (closely enough). I completed a 19-mile training run successfully (yes I modified their plan upward to make up a lost mile during week 12). I really didn’t hurt nearly as much as the 16-mile training run where my nutrition was off and my legs were telling me I had hit the wall (a kind of odd pain that wasn’t quite a cramp and was more like a dull roar telling me my reserves were shot).
After a great 19-mile run, I was fully expecting the 20-mile to be smooth sailing. I was wrong. Somewhere around 4.5 miles into it, I was running downhill through the grass on a route I was very familiar with. I felt tension in my right calf and then something inside snapped. It felt very much like a tangled cord being pulled straight and taut. Painful. I had to limp home and ended the day with 6 miles under my belt. It took weeks to recover and be able to run at my previous pace. I deferred the marathon and Beast and will tackle them this year.
Lately my nutrition and exercise plan has been lagging as well. No more. I’m starting the stronglifts 5x5 plan again. This will be my third time through. Previous PRs were 135lb overhead / military press. 205lb bench. 225lb squat. 210lb bent over row. 345lb deadlift. Mehdi does a great job putting out a spreadsheet and instructional videos. Here’s Elliot Hulse breaking it down for you.