This weekend I earned my Trifecta!
What is that?
To earn your Spartan Trifecta you have to complete a Sprint, Super and Beast in one calendar year. A Spartan Sprint is 3+ miles and 20+ obstacles, a Spartan Super is 8+ miles and 25+ obstacles and then there’s the Beast which is 13+ miles and 30+ obstacles.
Why on earth would I want to do all of that for a little metal and a t-shirt?
I have to admit that there were moments when I was half way up the rope struggling to hang on that I wondered the same thing. Times where I stepped on a rock funny and hurt my ankle. Those never ending down hills that made my knees want to explode… Then there were those times when I struggled to hold on to the Z wall and a complete stranger asked me if I needed help. The time I CONQUERED the rope climb and rang that bell! Times that I got to help give somebody a boost over that 8 foot wall!
So you want to be a Spartan???
I am no elite but I’ve now run 4 Spartan races and I’d love to share a few tips that helped me. If you’re worried about not being able to complete the obstacles, bring a friend. Don’t have any friends that want to join you, check out Beasts Obstacle Course Racers, an awesome team of OCR peeps, beginner to elite that are always looking to add new members of the family, myself included 😉
- SHOES!!! Invest in some shoes with really great drainage and really good traction. I bought a pair of Adidas Kanadia Trail 6 Running Shoes last year that I absolutely LOVE! I didn’t slip running down hill and on the grueling uphill barbed wire crawl at the PacWest race I was able to dig in and keep climbing. I also wasn’t sloshing around with water in my shoes the rest of the race. They even have extra grip to help keep you locked onto the rope. I’ve heard that Salomon Trail and Reebok All Terrain shoes are great too for this type of race. I’ve never tried them though. I stick with what I know works for me.
- Get your run on! Practice running in general, that is the biggest part of the race. Change up what the surface you run on, get out on the trails, run on gravel, run on sand, build up those ankles by exposing them to all that rocky uneven ground. Hills are a completely different playing field than flat ground too. The uphill is hard but coming down your knees start to hurt if they aren’t conditioned to do so. My knees are definitely upset with me right now.
- Eat, sleep and breath the phrase “I love burpees and burpees love me!” But seriously burpees are an awesome full body exercise, core, arms and legs get in on that action. Burpees are also the penalty for a failed obstacle and you can’t go further in the race until completed. It’s better to be prepared for them than not because they are an energy sucker. This year’s PacWest Sprint I did 120 and the last set had my legs and arms like Jell-O.
- Don’t skip arm day! There will be logs to haul, cement bricks to drag around, sand bags to carry, walls to pull yourself over. Work on pull ups. I know most girls fear bulky arms but trust me, you’re not going to turn into the hulk with adding in pull ups. If you’re not ready for a full pull up work on jumping up to the bar and lowering your body down slowly. Baby steps are okay! Try practicing carrying things like logs or big rocks to help get you used to carrying weird things too, the Atlas carry is heavy and awkward no matter how you practice.
- Clothing- What you wear is sort of your preference. When I ran my Sprint it was August and HOT. I opted for shorts and a tank that were quick to dry. When I ran the Beast and Super I wore quick dry pants because I was anticipating being cold to start. I liked the pants because they helped save my knees during some of the barbed wire crawls. I saw some people wearing knee pads even. Just wear what you’re most comfortable in, some wear Tu-tus and it all goes.
- Lube- Yes weird I know but I lubed up with coconut oil to help with easier clean up when I finished and to help with chafe, trust me you’ll thank me later! Don’t be afraid to put it in your hair too.
- Tunes ❤ – Not necessary but I bought a Lifeproof Case for my iPhone so that I could listen to music while I ran. It made the time go faster and helped me keep my pace. I know it sounds silly but music can make or break you so choose wisely, this last race I had a book on there by accident so every two songs it would go to a slow chapter…ugh! Expensive case and cheap headphones did the trick lol. The headphones made it the going under water. If you’ve got people to run with you I wouldn’t worry about tunes but running by myself it sure helped. I left one earbud out so I could still cheer people on or talk to them a long the way.
Race Specific Tips
- Sprint– Work on hydrating a week or two before the race for all three races. There are usually 2 water stations at the Sprint so carrying water isn’t necessary unless it’s really hot or you are planning to be going at a slow pace and think you will want water. I tend to get dry mouth so I like to have water with me. Make sure you eat a hardy breakfast of carbs and some protein to help keep your energy up. Carbs are your friend when it comes to cardio, fast release energy is the way to go. My fave before race food is steal cut oats with a banana and vanilla Greek yogurt on top. The yogurt has a good dose of protein which helps keep you full and bananas contain potassium which is good for preventing muscle cramps. So far I’ve been cramp free, knock on wood!
- Super– There were multiple water stations at the Super I did so a hydration pack isn’t super necessary but a good option. If it’s supposed to be hot for your race, it’s not a bad idea to have one just in case. Remember when you go into the water you need to keep the mouth piece in your mouth otherwise it gets nasty. It is nice to have a pack if you’re wanting to carry anything like bandages just in case or you want to skip water stations to save on time. I packed mine with a banana, protein bar and small first aid kit just in case.
- Beast– I recommend carrying a hydration pack. The Beast at Sun Peaks had A LOT of hill climbing. Some of it was straight up to the mountain top and that really slowed me down. I used Beachbody’s Hydrate from their new Performance Line to help keep me hydrated and keep my electrolytes up. I needed my protein bar half way through because I was exhausted and needed to put some pep back in my step. Battling the elements and the mountain takes it out of a girl.
Last but not least…
Have fun and make sure you get some protein and water back in your system after you FINISH. Your body needs good fuel to repair all the damage done on race day! Oh and make sure you get a before and after picture! Wear that t-shirt with pride because what you did was a feat worth bragging about! Best of luck. I’d love to hear how you did and what helps/helped you SPARTAN UP!!! AROO!!!