How Dr. Schenkman Completed her First Spartan Race

Lately everywhere I turn, I hear of people doing obstacle course races. It seems to have been the fad for this decade. So, I finally jumped on the bandwagon and signed up for my first race – the “Spartan Sprint” – which is between 3-5 miles containing 20-23 obstacles. The obstacles include rope climbs, spear throws, wall climbs, heavy bucket carries, monkey bars and more!  Even though the sprint is the shortest of the Spartan races, there is still a lot of endurance and strength required to finish.

First step: Preparation

For my regular workout routine, I do CrossFit about 4 days/week. I was a sprinter when I ran track, so running any distance greater than 400 meters is not extremely appealing to me! I decided to incorporate more running and grip strength work into my workouts so that I wouldn’t exhaust my grip during the race. I did this about 1 1/2 months prior to the race to prepare.

Here are a few of the workouts I did during the week between my CrossFit workouts to prepare – luckily my gym (Legacy Athletic Club) does obstacle course training as well, and had all the equipment I needed to practice!

DAY 1:

DAY 2:


DAY 3:


My only concern about the race was how my Achilles tendinitis would hold up. The day prior to, Dr. Wortman taped up my Achilles with our RockTape, and I made sure to do my home exercises every day!

The Big Day

The course ended up being 4.1 miles and consisted of 20 obstacles. I left unscathed, except for a few bruises and scratches! My achilles did not bother me at all during the race, but they were very tight the next day.The hardest part: After mile 3, hiking uphill became difficult. My lower legs, especially my calves were very tired.

The hardest obstacle: The Twister! The only one I didn’t complete. It consisted of about 30 feet of handles that you had to swing across, but the handles spun as you grabbed them! I made it halfway across and then my grip failed me. Don’t believe me? Here’s a video.

What I missed in my training: Hill running and hiking 

(for speed). I usually hike for leisure, and my legs weren’t ready to run up a ski mountain!

The goal for next time: To not do any burpees!

Dr. Hanna Shenkman

DPT & Spartan Runner