Spartan Challenge

So somewhere along the line I stopped playing competitive sport, eased off gym work and found myself merely commuting to work on bike as my only form of exercise.  To put how dismal and pathetic this is I need to tell you my commute to work is only 15 minutes each way! In an average week I wasn’t even doing the minimum amount recommended by the NHS and I am a health professional!


Whilst researching what is the minimum I was interested and surpried to see that the old 5 x 30 minutes of moderate intensity exericse has been replaced with:


a) 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise AND resistance training at least two times per week


b) 75 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise AND resistance training twice per week


MASSIVE reality check!


So the question was “what am I going to do to get fit?”.  So I started playing some 5-a-side football on Monday nights at 2100-2200 with some English friends at the Westway Sports Centre ( which was great.

This really worked the groin for at least five days in a row initially and now everything seems to have settled. The lungs were burning for the first few weeks and like any exercise, once familiarization occurred it all became a lot easier. First bout of vigorous  exercise for 60 minutes complete at start of the week – TICK.


What next I asked myself? The familiar email had been circulating about touch football in Regents Park – always a good hit out for at least 75 minutes with a great bunch of guys. Wednesday nights 1845 – 2000.  Another 75 minutes of vigorous exercise taking my total to 135 minutes. TICK.


What next? The gym had got a bit stale and I was looking for a new challenge.  Out of the blue a friend sent me an email titled “Challenge”. I open the email and inserted is a link to a “Spartan Beast”

Sounded cool, sounded slightly scary. I clicked on the link and checked it out as I would recommend everyone to do.


This is what I found:

Spartan Beast correlates to 12 miles with 25+ obstacles ranging from a fire jump, wall climb, electric fence crawl, barbed wire fence crawl, rope climb to running through a gladiator style gauntlet. PERFECT!


The email banter carried on for several days and along the way four friends have signed up.  I am hoping a few more will follow.  I am actually very excited about this and have something in the diary to work towards.  I have a goal – to complete.  According to wikipedia the Spartan Death Race has a “10% completion rate”! The Death Race is double the Beast – my maths is not great these days but that roughly equates to a 20% completion rate for the race I have entered.  Reality check firmly in place. Time to start training.


The plan is now to keep the football game on Monday night going – some variety essential while the touch football is about to finish due to Winter fast approaching. I have put together a track session for Tuesday nights.  The scientific basis for the program is very low – my train of thought was fartlek interval training should be key for this race as the obstacles are going to be occurring every kilometer. We need to ease into it initially and by one week out from the race we need to be covering at least 60% of the distance in fartlek intervals .  It all sounds good in theory and this is the resulted plan.


Week 1
4 x 200m (800m)
2 min splits  (8mins)

4 x 400m  (1600m)
3 min splits (12 mins)

4 x 800m (3200m)
5 min splits (18 mins)

Total time
38mins (5600m)

Week 2
4 x 400m (1600m)
3 min splits  (12 mins)

6 x 800m (4800m)
5 min splits (30 mins)

Total time
42 mins (6400m)

Week 3
4 x 400m (1600m)
3 min splits  (12 mins)

7 x 800m (5600m)
5 min splits (35 mins)

Total time
47mins (7200m)

Week 4
3 x 400m (1200m)
3 min splits  (9 mins)

9 x 800m (7200m)
5 min splits (45 mins)

Total time
54 mins (8400m)

Week 5
3 x 200m (600m)
2 min splits  (6 mins)

11 x 800m (8800m)
5 min splits (55 mins)

Total time
61 mins (9400m)

Week 6
2 x 200m (400m)
2 min splits  (4 mins)

13 x 800m (10400m)
5 min splits (65 mins)

Total time
69 mins (10800m)

Week 7
14 x 800m (11200m)
5 min splits (70 mins)

Total time
70 mins (11200m)

Week 8
16 x 800m (12800m)
5 min splits (80 mins)

Total timely
80 mins (12800m)


Each run will be completed within the allocated time slot.  Once completed I/we are expected to do continuous exercise e.g. burpees, push ups, sit ups, fence jumps, chin ups until the split time is complete. Three of us met up at Paddington running track last night and completed week 1 training. I can assure you that we did not do continuous exercise in the period after running the required distance finished. We did some exercise but it definitely was not for the entire “rest” period. Once again, the three of us looked at each other and had a MASSIVE REALITY CHECK.


The rest of the program consists of a fast 5-7km run on Thursdays and a long run on the weekend.  We will start this weekends run at 11-12km and build to 17km by week 7.  The run will be around Hyde Park – if anyone would like to join in then please let me know on


The seed has been sown and the count down is on.  I am yet to start something I have not finished.  I do not plan on starting a new tradition just yet.  More to come with updates on progress and how we are tracking it.




posted by Scott Tindal Clinical Director KPSM



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