This blog is meant to be a continuation to my Blog from February 21, 2017, 5 Tips for Training for AND Completing Your First Spartan Race!Have you seen and heard the quote, “The person who starts the race is NOT the same person who finishes the race?” This is so true for me; I am addicted to running obstacle course races because of how I feel at the finish. I am a new person; as I run the race I change. I make new friends, learn new techniques and I learn about my own strength and will. I want to share that feeling with others. I am working on my Trifecta this year, as I mentioned in my last blog (The Trifecta is a Spartan medal that is made up from 3 individual pieces awarded you as you complete each of the 3 course levels…a Beast…a Super and a Sprint.) The Beast is the longest of the courses at 13+ miles and 30+ obstacles. Having completed a Spartan Beast in April I discovered a few differences in training for the longer obstacle courses to share.
Tip 6 - Training
In The Beast there will be half again as many obstacles to get through and twice the mileage compared to the sprint, so strength training is necessary to prepare your muscles to be pushed. I consulted my trainer and worked on my upper body strength for the walls, lifts and carries. I worked on grip strength for ropes, monkey bars etc. (Maintaining that grip strength, when cold, might be a challenge if it is after a water obstacle. I discovered this running the Bonefrog in May; but that is a whole different story).
Techniques need to be tested too. Things like spear throwing. The spear toss on the courses usually have a 3 foot wall in front of you and your spear has a rope attached to pull it back to be thrown again. Be sure the rope is all on the other side of the wall, so you don’t stand on it and that you have practiced throwing like this before. Being unprepared for these little differences could cost you 30 burpees.
When training for The Beast I traded out running hills around town for trail running and hiking. Up and over Snake Mountain and then back up and over in one day (10 miles) to be sure my legs were ready for going up and down the mountain a couple of times and for a longer distance.
AND keep practicing those BURPEES!
Tip 7 – Longer Run =Additional Fuel
On a short obstacle course you will need water and food for a few hours. The Beast took me 9 hours 39 minutes to complete. You need to plan to eat some type of meal on a longer course. I took my “Yellow Mustard Packets” for cramping, “Tail Wind” in an 8 oz water bottle to be sure I got some electrolytes and salt in my system, BLOKS and Sport Jelly Beans were great for energy, salt and carbs too. To ensure hydration wouldn’t be an issue I carried a 40 oz Camelback that they allowed us to refill once on the course. My “dinner” out on the course was a KIND Protein Bar and a packet of Peanut Butter. These two foods had worked well for my lunch on the test run day spent on Snake Mountain.
Tip 8 – Packing
There are all kinds of products out there to use in training and on race day. Here is my list of things to be sure I pack: Bug spray, sunscreen, a meal, mustard packets, sport jelly beans, BLOKS, water, head lamp with new batteries, shirt and/or socks. The last few all vacuum packed (So that even after the water obstacles these items are dry.) I packed a warmer shirt as I knew I would be coming in after dark and I didn’t want to be cold. My “Post Race Bag” always includes: Wet Wipes, band aids, Tylenol, towel, deodorant, garbage bag for everything I wore on the course and clean COMFORTABLE clothes and shoes (Side note here: I use “Trail Toes” it works great to prevent blisters on your toes; and I use it wherever I notice there is friction during my practices to prevent chafing.)
Tip 9 – Test EVERYTHING
My trainer is always asking me, “Have you trained in what you are wearing race day?” This may seem silly but I am always amazed when I meet someone out there on the course struggling with shoes or clothes they had never worn until race day. So test everything! Wear what you will wear the day of the race. Eat the foods you will take with you for the race on your test runs, this will ensure that they are filling enough but don’t make you feel sick as you continue your course.
Tip 10 - Determination
Brute force can only get you so far. I saw some folks taking “the ride” down the mountain especially in the last 3 miles; personally I kept thinking there was no way I was giving up now that I was over ¾ of the way there. What they hadn’t trained for was the mental and emotional aspects of the race. I’m not sure how others train for it. For myself, I surrounded myself with workout partners, friends and family who give me words of encouragement and show me their confidence in my ability so that I can reflect that out there on the course. I listen to their words on the course… “You got this!” or “You are stronger than you know.” I purposely set goals that are hard…like hiking up and over a mountain and back in one day…to prove to myself that I CAN do it.
The Beast is all about endurance! Are you ready???
About the author
Annette has left Hallam-ICS to pursue other endeavors, but his contributions to the company continue to be valued.
Hallam-ICS is an engineering and automation company that designs MEP systems for facilities and plants, engineers control and automation solutions, and ensures safety and regulatory compliance through arc flash studies, commissioning, and validation. Our offices are located in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Vermont and North Carolina and our projects take us world-wide.