Yes, yes, we know. It’s the start of another year. And you’re still digesting the last stubborn remnants of turkey, Quality Street chocs and that mouldy slab of cheese that no one else would touch on the cheeseboard.
And once again, it’s time to reverse the damage.
But why aim low? Sure you could lose a bit of holiday weight, but set yourself a higher goal. Like a 20km race littered with obstacles which include, but are not limited to: crawling through mud, climbing walls, crawling under barbed wire, running through mud, swinging across muddy water, running through more mud etc.
Oh, and sometime big burly men try to pummel you with big padded sticks.
This is Sparta
It’s called the Spartan Race, and if you can handle this, you can handle anything.
And wouldn’t you know it – you’ve got plenty of time to get in shape for this year’s events.
The Spartan Race tested us to our limits late last year and we’ve rounded up some of the best gear to help you get into shape to tackle them head on in 2014.
Dive in, embrace it, and once you’ve wiped away the sweat (and possibly a little blood), the sense of achievement will definitely be worth it.
Watch our footage (taken with the iON Air Pro 3) above to get a taste for pain, before suiting up with the gear below:
CAMELBAK CLASSIC 2 LITRE HYDRATION (£35)
If you want to go the distance then you need to keep hydrated. With a built-in pocket for energy gels and a straw for sipping on some much-needed water while running, the CamelBak Classic also frees up your hands for climbing and crawling without adding too much bulk to your back.
Men's Barefoot Trail Run Ascend Glove (£88)
Your footwear will quickly get caked in mud, slowing you down, and Merrell’s barefoot running shoes will ensure you’re starting off as light-footed as you can. Waterproof and breathable, they’re even clever enough to prevent odours before they start. Throw them a challenge, won’t you?
MadGrip Pro gloves (£15)
No, these aren’t traditional running gloves (though these North Face ones will be good for training), but obstacle races like the Spartan Race aren’t traditional runs. You’ll be climbing over walls, across monkey bars and who knows what else. You’ll be wet, tired and fatigued, and the extra grip and protection offered by these hand-warmers could be the difference between making it across muddy water or splashing down face-first into a watery pool of failure. Pro-tip: many racers cut off the fingertips for increased dexterity/water drainage.
Craft Active Extreme Windstopper (£41)
Forget cotton. It’s a one-way ticket to a heavy-sodden, bone-chilling disaster. You need something that can keep you warm while drying off quickly, that won’t weigh you down but still protects you from the elements. This reflective base layer does all of the above, with extra wind protection on the shoulders and front
More after the break...
Craft Performance Run Jacket (£54)
Ideal for training (but not on the big day itself as you’ll want to keep things light) this performance jacket should keep you toasty when training in the great British freeze, with wind-repellent fabric and ventilation panels to ensure that you stay warm without sweating like a ballotine wrapped in Clingfilm.
Adidas Trail Hybrid Long Tights (£45)
Adidas’ climawarm material will ensure that your legs stay toasty in cold conditions while its elastic cut will ensure a naturally snug fit for comfortable motion. It’ll also offer your knees more protection than standard shorts – something you’ll be grateful for when you’re dragging your body across rocks beneath barbed wire netting.
Sennheiser PMX 685i headphones (£60)
Sennheiser’s made-for-running neckband headphones should cling to your lugholes no matter how hard you’re pounding away on the pavement/beaten track while you’re training. They offer detailed sound while still offering awareness of your surroundings. Load up your playlist and let your legs do the rest.
TomTom Runner sports watch (£140)
This watch lets you leave your fragile smartphone safely at home while running, thanks to its built-in GPS module which can track your location as well as recording your pace, distance, calories and more. Share your runs online and await the well-deserved praise, while tracking your progress leading up to the big day.
iON Air Pro 3 Action Camera (£350)
iON’s action cam is one of the lightest available, weighing in at a mere 142g. It’s also waterproof up to 49ft (more than enough for any obstacle race not devised by a super villain) and it’s got a 2.5 hour battery life which should capture all of your struggles at 1080p. It was used to film the Spartan Race footage above and it handled everything we threw at it with ease.