In competition even without mountains - tips for preparation for the Spartans of the Great Plains
I am writing about this "problem" from experience, since in the area of Debrecen where I live, there aren't even any hills within an hour's drive, yet every year many Spartans from the Great Plain compete successfully. Natural talent can be an aggravating circumstance, but it is not an obstacle to proper preparation and hard training.
There are tons of articles and studies on how to prepare for a steeplechase race. The features of the place do not affect strength training or obstacle training, so in this article I would specifically cover things related to running.
In the absence of mountains, what can you do?
Of course, it is very important to practice technique, the ability to adapt to terrain conditions, and to move confidently on mountain terrain, but this does not provide the basis for running performance.
- Endurance training
The basis is for our endurance to be stable, which we can train accordingly even on flat terrain with lots of easy runs adjusted to our own heart rate.
- Part-time training sessions
Acceleration training and interval runs are built on a stable foundation. A record track or bike ride is also suitable for improving your running pace, so you should include at least one training session every week where you test your limits. These can be partly tempo-paced, e.g. 400-800m runs, can be a test run at a maximum pace, can alternate between intervals, e.g. 1000m fast 500m in light combos up to. The best way is, of course, to have a coach specially write your plan, but these runs are definitely useful for speeding up. If you are faster on a plane, it will also improve your performance on the field.
- Hill climbing
Even if there is no mountain, there is definitely a toboggan hill in a housing estate, or maybe a small hill in the forest, which is suitable for you to practice running up and down, what if the terrain is not completely flat. I once collected a positive level of around 400m in 10km by running up and down 66 times on a toboggan hill. Of course, it can be less monotonous than this, but it is worth including the hill in the training plan, because even if it is short, you can simulate the uphill terrain, so it is an excellent workout.
- Stair climbing
Nobody likes it, but it's useful. You can train hard not only by running up the stairs, sprinting, lunges, squats, but also with different exercises and you only need one flight of stairs. It can throw a lot on the explosiveness and the work done in this way will also help on the climbs.
- Go out into the woods
The terrain may be almost completely flat, but it is still terrain. You can also run between trees, in mud, sand, you have to pay attention to the paths and markings. If possible, do most of your training in nature. In the races, you just go up and down, often you have to press the gas almost flat, so you can practice how to run on uneven terrain, and the sand is not the last factor, it is very hard to run in sand up to your ankles, then I cry back to the receivers from the Mátra.
- If you can, visit a mountain
If several of you get together, even the journey doesn't seem so uncomfortable, and whether you complete the day's training together or separately, the beauty of cross-country running is definitely worth it. During such runs, you can test how sharp you are, practice moving in your gear, and improve your technique both downhill and uphill. Of course, from the lowlands, mountain runs cannot be included in daily training, but if you manage to get there 1-2 times a month, it can do a lot to make you move more confidently on mountain terrains, and the experience factor is not the least.
So it is not on the mountains that you can prepare for the competition, of course it is definitely an advantage if you have the natural conditions on your side, but you can be fast and persistent even if you do most of your training in the lowlands.