Spartan Dad

First of all, if you are still in need of a Father's Day gift, give the gift of experience. Head on over to to register him for a Spartan Race. They are also offering up to 50% off on Spartan Race gear.

Now, let me tell you about a Spartan Dad I know.

I first met Michael in the stands of a baseball game. We were both there cheering on our sons. Michael is a typical dad-- husband, father, and a hard-working attorney who puts his family first. Fast forward a handful of years, and I ran into him at a local 5k. He ran the race, pushing an adult with special needs in a wheelchair. Not long after, I found out he was training for his first Spartan Race.

I really love this. Too many of us graduate and leave behind not only our education, but also our athleticism. Even those of us who played sports in high school-- the organized sports end and what's left? Lamely sitting on machines, or maybe moving on a treadmill, working various parts of our bodies while watching tv, scrolling Instagram, and trying not to yawn. Maybe we keep running and do a few 5k's. I would say the majority (as indicated by America's growing waistlines and rising numbers on the scale) spend the majority of the time being inactive. At some point too many of us start believing that the best-- and certainly, the fittest-- days are behind us.

Michael never quit. He describes his level of fitness as fluctuating, but he never stopped being active. He just hasn't quit moving since his younger days. He says, "In middle and high school, I wrestled, played baseball and soccer, ran track and swam (through school, in town leagues, or the Y) and I did almost every other sport that someone would invite me to play as part of a pick-up game (e.g., basketball, tennis, street hockey, lacrosse, flag football). Since high school, I have had seasons of lifting weights, running, pick-up basketball and, my love, surfing. I also grew up in a time when I had to use my skateboard, bicycle or feet to get from place to place."

He had been already been training pretty intensely, working to bring down his time in the 400 meter to compete for track. He told me his training for the Spartan Race in Miami looked like this:

4-5 days of weights and 3-4 days of cardio (generally running, with alternating distance and speed work) and about the same amount of core. All of my workouts were/are staggered with three days on, one day off and two days on, one day off (depending on how my middle-aged body feels), and I mix in various exercises for various body parts. A typical week might be: 
Monday – Chest (e.g., press in various planes, flys, dips, etc.) and arms (curls, reverse curls – a wise person told me to watch my grip strength) with a run of 3,000 – 5,000 meters (15-25 minutes);
Tuesday – Back (e.g., pull-ups, deadlifts/roman chair, rings, rows, etc.) and core (hanging leg lifts, wheel, mountain-climbers, planks, etc.) with short sprints/strides (60m at 8-10 seconds with a jog in between);
Wednesday – Shoulders/Legs (e.g., shoulder press, cleans, lateral raises, front raises, squats, leg press, curls, box jumps, etc.) with a recover run of 15-25 minutes;
Thursday – Off or recovery run of 15-25 minutes;
Friday–Track w/ intervals/intense speed work! (my favorite);
Saturday – Circuit training with a recovery run or bike;
Sunday – Off. I also mixed in a healthy number of burpees… and stretch every time I work out.
Michael (left) with his law (and race) partner
His training routine is pretty intense if you're just moving off the couch. But let me remind you... he's a professional who travels for business, a husband, and a father. And he falls into the 45-54 age group category.

His favorite part of the Miami Sprint? "Everything – it plays to a generalist. The true distance runners have trouble climbing, and the true lifters have trouble running. If you like doing everything, the race is set up for you."

I asked his son, Jackson (who has learned his own drivenness from his father), what he thought about his dad completing a Spartan Race. He said,

"I'm incredibly proud of my dad. He's a very driven guy and so as soon as the idea of a Spartan Race popped into his mind, he worked tirelessly. He also began weightlifting with me to train for the event, and since that's such a big part of my life, it's really helped us to bond. I hope he continues to race and maybe I'll race with him in the near future."

This is why I love obstacle course races so much-- it's about developing overall fitness and having fun in the process. But most importantly, it gives an opportunity for people of any age to get out there and be an inspiration. Leave a legacy.


Popular Posts