SPARTAN PREP FOR RACE DAY
What's up guys the Spartan Season is here and I just wanted to write a little piece that I hope can help you get ready for your next race. So read on and get ready Spartans. AROO! AROO! AROO!
Clothing can be an intricate part of your race. Choose wisely and you will be comfortable throughout the race. Choose poorly and you’re going to be in for a long race. This is something I learned early onin my first race.
For the race I was wearing fairly heavy Adidas running sneakers with cotton socks, poly Nike shorts, and a cotton sleeveless shirt, and oh yeah my spartan headband. You can check out my full Spartan attire on my personal Facebook page.
What did I learn.
1. Wear lightweight/quick drying Sneakers
Find the lightest pair of sneaks you can and ones that will dry quick. Companies such as Reebok, INOV 8, and Salomon just to name a few make trail shoes specifically designed for these races. Lightweight cross country running shoes can also suffice. In my first race I wore clunky heavy shoes that held onto every ounce of water and it sounded like I was farting for half the race.
2. Wear lightweight/water wicking shorts or pants that fit
Board shorts or swimming trunks are the best way to go. The last thing you want to do is hit a water obstacle and then realize you’re carrying around 5 extra pounds of baggage in your pants or shorts because they don't wick water. Also make sure they are not at all baggy, fitted is the way to go. Once again in my first race I had shorts that didn't fit and I spent half the race pulling up my shorts. No fun.
3. Wear lightweight water wicking shirts or tops
For guys you may or may not want to wear a top or if you’re a lady you may want to minimalize with a sports bra. Realize that these races have a ton of rocky terrain as well as obstacles that can tear you up including the Barbed wire crawl. If you don't mind some bumps, bruises, or cuts, do it but I recommend wearing a no sleeve, fitted, water wicking top. I wore a cotton shirt that didn't wick water the first race and added another +5 pounds to my body.
4. Lightweight packs/hydration packs may be necessary for the longer races. I was foolish not to have one for my first Beast. These backpacks/pouches can be used to store water and or food. Camelback, Dolphin Pack, and Geigerrig are a few of the big names in the industry. You never know when your body may start breaking down and cramping. Having water and or food available is a life saver.
5. Bring a change of clothing. This was probably one of my biggest mistakes. Luckily I had money on me and was able to purchase some extra stuff afterwards but was still an uncomfortable trip back do to not having dry shoes. A full change of clothes and shoes is a necessity after. A towel, shampoo, and soap should be packed as well for after the race.
Food is a super important part of preparing for the Spartan race. Food is our fuel and without we can't properly run that engine which is our body. I will break down this part into the night before the race nutrition, day of race nutrition, and during the race nutrition.
The night before the spartan race DO NOT eat anything out of the ordinary or foreign to your body. DO eat foods that you know agree with your body. Focus on taking in a higher Carb meal which will help with your body store up glycogen for the next day. Make sure your meal is balanced though make sure your also getting protein and some healthy fats for your meal. Some great meal ideas may include a 6 ounce steak, mixed veggies, and brown rice or whole grain pasta. If your going Paleo substituting the rice and pasta with Sweet Potatoes would be a great idea. Stay away from too much fiber the night before it can be catastrophic and can really make you feel uneasy day of the race.
Also make sure you drink a lot of water the night before. Hydration is key, this sounds gross but check out you pee the night before. A pale yellow urine tells you your hydrated, if it is super dark drink more water.
Day of Race
For the day of race you want to try to eat 2-3 hours prior to the race giving your body a good amount of time to digest that way you don't feel like your dragging ass up that mountain. Stick with a meal that has carbs and some protein in it as well with some healthy fats. A sample diet may include oatmeal with some fresh fruit and nuts, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a glass of low fat milk, or some Greek yogurt with fresh fruit and a couple of slices of toast.
Make sure you also start drinking some water right away in the morning. Check on that pee again. You can also fill up with an energy drink prior and get those electrolytes into your system prior to race.
During the Race
You want to take in quick digesting carbohydrates if they are available to you. Things such as an energy drink or energy gels can help restore some of those energy stores that are being used during the race. If you are going to carry something with you though make sure you pack light. Stay hydrated throughout race there should be hydrating stations throughout.
TIPS FOR THE RACE
I think this is probably the most important piece of advice I can give you. You know your body best. The worst thing you can do is try to overdo it and push past your capacity. We say it in Crossfit all the time don't go to failure because its hard to come back from it.
Make sure your rationing out your energy and use it accordingly. This is a long race and will have many obstacles. Sprinting right out of the gate will serve as a recipe for disaster.
This is a Grindy type of race their are many obstacles and many bumps and bruises along the way. Keep a mindset that you can conquer anything. If things get challenging slow your mind down a little bit, prepare yourself, then get at whatever obstacle, mental or physical that may be dragging you down.
Yes the Spartan Race can be a very individual race in terms of each individual getting their times scored separately but that doesn't mean you need to take on every challenge solo. One of my prime examples was in one of my Spartan Races I came up to the tire flips and their was only one available and it was the heaviest one. I gave it a couple of attempts but it just wasn't bailing. Another athlete came up to me and said Ill help you flip it your distance and then you help flip it my distance. We teamed up and moved faster then every individual around us. This is a good example of using others to conquer obstacles. And even though this is a race if you see someone who may need help ask them or try to help them through an obstacle you may never know when you will need it.
Here is a list of the ones that I think will be at this race
Barbed wire crawl * 2- best way I believe to conquer this is to pick the lane that is most empty. Most likely it is empty because it is moving fastest. Learn to log roll. It may get you dizzy but take short breaks. Rolling will keep you low and keep you moving. Bear crawling can suffice but you will have to keep your hips and head low.
Underwater wall crawl - take a deep breath and get under it. Pretty self explanatory this isn't a hard one.
Varying height wall climbs - accelerate at them quickly, jump high, and get your feet over as quickly as possible. Watch American ninja warrior for this one. You can also get a super friend for this one, ask them to get on all fours and use your back to get up and over. Another way you can attack this one is use your partners hands as a hoist.
Sandbag carry up hill and down - learn how to clean a weight and get that bad boy up to your shoulders immediately. Carrying this thing bear hugging it is not going to work and will take forever. Switch shoulders evenly and frequently while moving.
Pale fill then carry up hill and down - this can be a very challenging one. The bucket that is filled is real heavy and you must carry it in the front of your body. Try to get your hands underneath it and press it into your body as best as possible. If you have to rest don't put it down rest it on one of your knees then regrip and go.
Rope climb knotted - the famed rope climb can be a challenging one. I will include some links to tackle this one. And let you choose from there
Horizontal Traverse wall - 3 points of contact. When tackling this wall make sure you have contact with the wall with at least three Limbs at all times. Stay tight and stay focused.
Spear throw - stay strong and deliberate, make sure you aim, grip, and slightly put an arc on your throw.
Fire jump - not much to this one. Just don't fall. This is more for show this obstacle.
Hercules hoist - sit and get ready to pull about a 50 pound cinder block up a rope until the bell rings. This was not one of the harder ones for me but remember to always have tension on the rope and make sure you quickly transition the hands.
Hills and more hills - for the upward hills I would focus on leaning forward and keep the feet moving. I would definitely for the real steep hills not recommend at all sprinting them. It's a waist of energy and will tax your system for the whole race. For the downhill focus leaning the body forward. Be careful these downhills can be steep so moderate your speed down. I relax my hands down to the side and use the downhills as a recovery and an opportunity to move quicker.
Links to some obstacle reading and videos
Their you have it guys. I hope this email covers any questions you may have before the race. Although this is a race remember to have fun and stay safe. All the hard work you have put in leads to now so Spartan the f#%! Up and I'll see you at the finish line beer in hand!