Couch to Sprint Training Plan

Couch to Sprint Training Plan Week 3 Day 6--Featured: Standing Back Bends

Hey, everyone! After I finished REVOLUTION--31 Days of Yoga on January 31, 2017, I needed to find another workout regimen to fill up the next month or two. Though I loved Revolution and had a new-found appreciation for yoga, I wanted something more intense to build strength and endurance. That's when I got an e-mail in my inbox providing information about a Spartan Race taking place at Greek Peak, a ski resort only 45 minutes from my home.

Couch to Sprint Training Plan Week 5 Day 1--Featured: Triangle Pose

I had been aware of Spartan since the summer of 2016. Actually, it was watching the NBC show Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge that sparked this whole endeavor to make a bucket list of challenges and work on completing them. As a result, I had been watching the listings of Spartan races for a long time, hoping to find a race close to home that I could participate in. So when I saw the ad for a Greek Peak Spartan Sprint, I couldn't believe my eyes. A Spartan Sprint, only 45 minutes away, on a date and at a time that miraculously fit into my busy dance schedule--I couldn't pass up that opportunity.

Couch to Sprint Training Plan Week 3 Day 3--Featured: Sandbag Squats

After discovering the Greek Peak race, the next order of business was to convince my parents to do the race with me. Though I would have done the race alone if it came to that, it's always more fun to do events like these with other people. My mom had done a 5K with me in September 2016, and my dad has been the organizer and fellow participant for most of my adventures including hiking the tallest mountain in Germany, the Zugspitze, so I figured that they would get on board for a Spartan race with only a little convincing. I turned out to be right, and my dad generously agreed to pay for the event as a birthday present for me, so on January 15, 2017, I signed up for my first Spartan race.

Couch to Sprint Training Plan Week 4 Day 5--Featured: Warrior Pose

As someone with weak arms and little grip strength, I knew that I needed to train to successfully complete the race. A little snooping on the Spartan website revealed that Spartan actually provides a free training plan for beginners who are planning on running a Spartan Sprint--the Couch to Sprint Training Plan. The whole program takes 4 weeks and 3 days to complete which, coincidentally, was exactly the amount of time I had between the end of Revolution on January 31 and the Greek Peak race on March 5. Thus, on February 1, the day after finishing Revolution, I began the Couch to Sprint Training Plan.

Couch to Sprint Training Plan Week 2 Day 4--Featured: Rest Day

This plan turned out to be exactly what I needed to train for the Greek Peak Sprint. The first week was not too difficult given my fitness level but was an excellent introduction to the HIIT-style workouts in the plan. (For those who don't know, HIIT stands for High-Intensity Interval Training, which involves doing reps of a few different moves targeting different areas of your body at high speed with only short breaks in between.) The first and fifth days of the week typically consisted of cardio training (running and jogging), the second and sixth days of the week meant strength training (HIIT-style, with moves like squats and push-ups), and the third day of the week used a mix of both. Then the fourth and seventh days of the week were rest days, giving my body a chance to recover from the workouts. The plan also includes suggested activities to do on the rest days, generally reading or research about fitness, though one rest day activity was making a DIY sandbag for training.

Couch to Sprint Training Plan Week 2 Day 6--Featured: Arm Circles

Though the plan started out easy enough, the difficulty level definitely scaled up quickly. The moves generally stayed the same, but the number of reps or the time spent doing the move would increase from week to week. The last two weeks were killer, at least for me. One cardio day, I got off the treadmill and collapsed on the ground, unable to get up without debilitating nausea and dizziness for the next fifteen minutes. (After that I learned how to breathe properly while running, which prevented this from happening again.) Rest days generally meant sore muscles and moving slowly. All of this was compounded by the fact that I still went to dance class almost daily, where we were training intensely for an upcoming competition.

Couch to Sprint Training Plan Week 4 Day 4--Featured: Rest Day

I definitely did not resent any of the pain, however. The amazing thing was, after only a little over a month of training, I noticed a clear difference in my strength and endurance. Though at the beginning of the month, I could probably only have done 10 strong push-ups, by the end of the month, I could easily do 40 (though in groups of 10 at a time). When I started the plan, I could only run for about a mile before getting exhausted, but by the end, I could go for three and a half miles. Yes, none of these feats are that extraordinary, and I still have a long way to go before I can consider myself someone truly in shape, but it was incredibly motivating to be able to see the difference in my strength. I even developed some muscle toning in my arms.

Couch to Sprint Training Plan Week 4 Day 1--Featured: The Frog

The Couch to Sprint Training Plan was exactly what I needed to prepare for my first Spartan Sprint. It was definitely challenging but always feasible, allowing me to improve my strength and endurance without feeling overwhelmed. It taught me a lot about going beyond what I thought my limits were and made me feel empowered to keep improving my physical fitness. Plus, it gave me exactly the strength I needed to complete a Spartan Sprint successfully, though that is the topic for another post. The one downside to the program is that I don't think it would work for true beginners. I was already reasonably fit when I started and still found the plan challenging, so a real beginner might find it nearly impossible. Still, I highly recommend this program for somewhat fit people looking to run a Spartan Sprint, or even for those who just want a fitness challenge. To get the plan, just go to this page on the Spartan website and put in some basic information. You will receive an e-mail where you can download the plan as a PDF. Also, be sure to check out Spartan in general. They have lots of other training resources including a Workout of the Day (WOD) program.

Couch to Sprint Training Plan Week 1 Day 3--Featured: Walk

Thank you so much for reading! I do not claim to be an expert but merely wish to share my experiences so others can see that regular people can achieve dreams.


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