The Mountain Times

°F Sat, April 19, 2014

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Local veteran spartan racer and trainer shares experience

Training for the Vermont Spartan Beast is unique. I have competed in all three Spartan distances and I am very familiar with the Spartan style of race and the obstacles. The biggest obstacle in this particular race is the mountain itself. Each time you round a corner and the course swings uphill again, your mind attempts to take over and drain your energy. Endurance is the key to this race both physically and mentally.

I live and breathe fitness on a daily basis as a boot camp instructor and personal trainer. This puts me in a perpetual state of training but I step it up to a whole new intensity to prepare for this race.

My average week consists of 5-6 days of moderate to intense exercise for at least 2-3 hours. Boot camp is my base exercise routine. It consists of varied drills including sprints, hill crawls, lunges, plyometrics, sandbag tosses, burpees, and much more. I add hiking, cycling, TRX suspension training and yoga for my cross training.

About a month before the Beast I step it up considerably with 3-4 endurance days of 6-7 hours of intense activity. In boot camp classes I begin to add drills to train specifically for the obstacles. We practice low crawls and rolling to prepare for the barbed wire. Burpee sets increase in number. We use the heavy ropes to work on grip strength and pull ups. The sandbags are added to hill sprints and shuttle runs.

Breaks are shorter and intensity is elevated.

Since we are lucky enough to have the mountain in our backyard, this year's Killington Boot Camp Team has been subjected to extra training days on the slopes. We alternate carrying sandbags up and down Lower Superstar with a half mile of traveling lunges.

We hike uphill followed by a crabwalk downhill while stopping for uphill sprints and sets of burpees.

A TRX suspension session focusing on upper body strength, grip and core strength follows our day on the hill. At the end of a training day like this I push myself through a 90-minute Bikram Yoga class for both the physical and mental endurance.
Balancing the intense training with rest and recovery as well as proper hydration and diet makes all the difference in the world.
Knowing I am ready to conquer the Beast is the final component, giving me the extra mental edge I need to push through the hardest moments on the course.

Beth Roberts is a Certified Personal Trainer and the founder of Killington Boot Camp. For more info visit www.killingtonbootcamp.com.