Review: Spartan Up!

spartanup-coverIf you’ve been following my blog for a while, you might remember my post about the book Spartan Up! written by Spartan Race founder, Joe De Sena. Well I’ve finally finished my copy of the book, so I wanted to share my thoughts and experience with it. I don’t want anyone to think that because it took me a while to read that it wasn’t a good book. That’s not the case. Sadly, I hardly have time to pick up a good book and read, but I was determined to make the time with this one.

The book drew me in right from the beginning. De Sena talks about doing this insane race called the Raid International Ukatak. It was held in Quebec in the dead of winter and involved crossing frozen rivers, climbing icy mountains, and hiking rocky terrain. As crazy as this sounded, the person doing it sounded crazier. De Sena came from Wall Street and did not consider himself an athlete like his teammates. Clearly if someone from Wall Street who only had a few months training could do this race, I could get my but in gear and run 19.3 miles over two days. If reading that didn’t get me motivated to train, I don’t know what would. The prologue had me hooked. I don’t want to give too much away about the book because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but here are some things I learned that I want to share with you and take with me through the rest of my Dumbo Double Dare training.

“Put one foot in front of the other, focus on the little goal right in front of you, and almost anything is possible.” I think weeks and weeks ahead with my work and training schedules. Maybe if I stopped thinking, “I have to run today so that tomorrow I can do this, but then I at least get another run in before my long run this weekend” and started thinking, “Today is Tuesday and I’m going to run for 30 minutes on the treadmill then go to yoga.” And on my long runs I need to think more a long the lines of “It’s a quarter of a mile from here to that stop sign, get there and you’ll have completed another mile.” I need to set small, short goals within the goal of completing my long run. Take it one day at a time, one step at a time.

“You can make it eight days beyond the moment when you think, ‘I can’t take another step.'” De Sena says he tells runners to take no money with them and set out to run as far as they can, then they have to run back home because it’s the only way they’ll get back. I’ve actually used this method before on some of my long runs. When I know I need to do a 10 mile run, I’ll run away from my place for five so that I have to complete the five again to get home. That method worked well until I moved to Florida and lived on an island. Now on my long runs, I often start out one way and pass the condo again on my way back. Making a circle is the only way I can get those extra miles in. And when I pass the condo, sometimes I just want to stop instead of going the other half. Guess I need to drive to one end of the island and run to the other end and back for this to work. But really, go out and try it. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to get back just because you want to be back home and done.

“Keep a journal of your successes and failures.” Again, this is something I have done before and liked. This blog actually started out as a way for my friends and family to hold me accountable for training. It has evolved since then, but still keeps that main idea. Every week I write a recap of how my training is going. Sometimes my weeks are great, other times they’re not. But the important part is, I learn from it. I doesn’t mean I always improve my habits, but I know what they are and I can see what I’ve done to fix them in the past to do it again. Most importantly, “don’t give up.”

“Meditation can make people happier by increasing their pain threshold and releasing feel-good chemicals in the brain.” This is something I’ve heard before and I’m sure others have as well, but I was surprised to find it in this book. I expected more of the intense, pushing your body fitness aspects and not the relaxation part. It made sense though once I continued reading because it goes into mental control and how it is the foundation building a strong mind that can tackle any task or goal. That made sense with the Spartan lifestyle.

That’s  just a taste of what you’ll learn and discover in Spartan Up!. De Sena shares many stories of how he grew to live the Spartan lifestyle and how you can too. You’ll even start to relate some of these stories to your own life and realize we all have a little Spartan in us. So are you ready to overcome obstacles and achieve peak performance in life? Are you ready to Spartan Up!?

**Disclaimer: I given this book and was asked for honest feedback and to help promote it in exchange. All opinions are my own. For more information, please read my disclosure policy.**

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