Surviving A Hurricane Heat 12 Hour

Right, the Hurricane Heat (click here to see my review) was tough, but more then achievable and amazing to be a part of. Now the Hurricane Heat 12 Hour seems like another story altogether! Spartan U.K. Race director Karl Alsop gives us some further insight into the differences between the events (apart from the time obviously) and how we can best prepare for 12 hours or more of Spartan induced battle!
What will be the main differences between what we experienced on the HH to the HH12H?
Time is the obviosus difference and there is still a huge focus on the team like there was in the Hurricane Heat, but there are parts where the event becomes a little bit more individual. One of the key things you will find with the HH12H is that there are time hacks or time challenges in there. It’s usually a pretty tough time hack; a version of an obstacle you need to do, a carry around a certain are, etc but you will have a time for it. If you don’t meet that time then you fail the time hack nd you don’t continue with the event! There was a version of that at Aston Down.
You might fail a time hack and that’s you done. What we did at Aston was give the team the opportunity to almost buy you back into the event. The cold side of it is you have someone in your team who cant perform to the same level as everyone else. What we are trying to highlight is do you look at their other strengths? He might not be as quick as the other guy but we know he has other strengths. Do we do some additional burpees, pick up some extra weight or take a punishment or as a team do we accept that these guys didn’t make it and we don’t want those guys as part of our team.
Where as you did 4 hours at Aston, you can now expect a single task to take 4 hours. Last year we ended with 300 burpees. The story here was that last year a few people joked and said that they could still do the multi-rig. You know the punishment for failing an obstacle is 30 burpees. I started adding them up and they got to 150 and when the last guy came up, I cut them a deal; if he did it, I would drop the penalty 150 and if he failed I would double it. He took the gamble and he failed. Expect everything to be tougher, distances to be longer, weights to be heavier and move a bit faster. The point is to see who is ready for the HH12H and not everyone is ready.
The PT at the start is Beast! How does this prepare racers for the rest of the event?
The whole point of that PT is too get people to start thinking as a team. Lets take pushups for example, we are not looking for who can do them the fastest, we want you to do them together. If we say down on a pushup we want it in unison. Its to drive you guys into talking as a team.
A little insider tip for you is to be that guy to step forward and rally the team to do them together. Go at the pace of the slowest. If it takes you 15 minuets to do 30 pushups, but you do all 30 as a team, thats what we are looking for. They can talk, communicate, and help each other. Its about identifying who needs help and support.
How do you come up with the plan for the event?
A lot of it is based on experience and what we have done in the past. We bounce ideas off and come up with a plan. An idea like can we carry a tractor tire between the 3 of us? There is only one way to find out so we will go field testing. We will work out a reasonable time, how many people it will take to doe this, then we start to add ideas and get a little more devious. It takes a group of creative minds to put it all together.
There are a lot of influences from things we have done in the past. Military references (getting people to draw together) then add the obstacles we have at our disposal. For example getting a tractor tire over the A-Frame. It looks pretty dangerous but we find out its pretty capable when you come together. There is no one plan but more like 4 or 5 that sit there. The Krypteia are there observing and watching everything. You start to realise that people are capable of a lot more then they realise. They just need an arena to show it in! It’s either going to keep sucking or you will complete it and it ends.
How would you best prepare for the HH12H?
I’ve spent years with weight on my shoulders. I wouldn’t say that it gets easier, but you do become more accustomed to it. You need to get used to weight on your shoulders. I would never really advise anyone to run with weight as a training exercise; you will do it in this event, but for really short periods. you should be conditioned enough to be able to do that. When you put that weight on your back, how does it feel? If you haven’t conditioned your body to that, its going to take its toll.
For me its three simple things. If your not used to weight, get that pack on. Start off with ten pounds, then build it up over time. Start slowly progressing up. Do plenty of core work, do plenty of posterior chain exercises. Thats where you want that power to come from and where you want that weight to sit. It compresses the body so much.
The moment that pack is off, look at mobility and flexibility. The more mobile and flexible your body, the happier your body will be with that weight.
How would you convince someone to take this next step in spartan racing?
Lets make the assumption they enjoyed the HH. What part did they enjoy about it? The 12 hour will build on everything done. Physical and mental, working as a team and being an individual. You could go and be a phenomenal Sprint racer and go and podium on the Sprint. That could go over to a Super or a Beast. For me I’m way more interested in what’s that mental capability as well. I would always encourage and sell on do you want that mental challenge as well, do you want to be mentally pushed? Then drop yourself into the HH12H. Everyone has those low moments. Its gets quiet. The team gets quiet. It’s about what you do during those moments. My favourite thing for people to do in those moments is have a little sing song! Its great to see the difference it will make to people in those moments.
These are tough events to get anyone to do. Very much like Marmite. You either love it of you hate it. Ive had people finish it and love it, eager for the next one and some do it and its not for them. We spoke about drop out rates before. With the HH there is no reason why anyone should drop out. With the HH12H we expect about a 30% drop out rate. Do people want to face those odds? Do they want to try and push themselves to that level? If they want to push themselves both mentally and physically, then the HH12H is a fantastic arena to do it in.
If you could sum up the HH12H in 1 sentence, what would that be?
Haha, you will have the most horrifically brutal, fun and amazing time you will ever have with a group of individuals who will ultimately become some of the best friends you will ever meet!
It will suck, it will be horrible, it will be tough, it will be challenging but at the same time you will laugh, you will make friends with people that you would never even meet. You will talk to them and become friends and go and do other events together. It will be a blast!
I take on the Hurricane Heat 12 Hour this weekend at the Marston Lodge along with the Super and Sprint! Check out my next post to see how I get on!ย Will you be over in Marston Lodge? Will you be taking on the HH12H? What events are you doing? Let me know in the comments below and remember to use code โ€˜URBANSPARTANโ€™ for 25% off all U.K. open heat Sprint, Super and Beast races!

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