It's happening. You are going to do a Spartan Beast. When you clicked the “complete registration” button, did a wave of panic set over you? Are you wondering what your next step should be? Check out these top ten tips for completing and conquering the Beast!
1. Hopefully, you have completed an Obstacle Course Race (OCR) prior to registration, but if you have not check out my article on Creating an OCR inspired workout.
2. Do some research on the course you have signed up for. Is it hilly? Will altitude be a factor? What is the average temperature of the venue during that time of year? Take all of these factors into account when preparing your training program.
3. Start hitting the trails and putting some distance in. You need to feel confident running 13-15 miles. Make sure you incorporate some hill training into your regimen.
4. Practice running and completing your obstacle training wearing a hydration pack. If you have not completed the monkey bars, rope climbs, heavy carries, etc. wearing your pack, you may find yourself doing a ton of burpees on race day.
5. Prepare yourself for being on the course for 3+ hours. You may be able to run 13 miles at a 9 or 10 min/mile pace, but once you add the terrain and obstacles into the mix, you may be looking at a pace of 15-18+ minutes per mile depending on the venue. One way of preparing for the duration would be to add an “obstacle” and/or 30 burpees after each mile of training. For example; run 1 mile, complete 10 pull-ups, run 1 mile complete 30 burpees, run 1 mile, complete 8 tire flips, etc.
6. Practice working out while using your race day nutrition. Most OCR athletes competing in a race such as the beast will fill their hydration packs with electrolyte tablets, pickle juice, gel packets, protein bars, etc. Whatever you choose to use on the course, make sure it agrees with you. The last thing you would want is to feel nauseous because of consuming some poor on-course nutrition.
7. Practice running and completing obstacles in various types of weather and terrain. You may find yourself running in the middle of a downpour. You will have to know how to navigate those muddy hills while carrying a sandbag or you may have to complete the rig while its super slippery. Testing your endurance and grip strength under these conditions will help you feel prepared under any circumstance.
8. Invest in some anti-chaffing cream. After being on the course for a few hours, you will be glad you did. I prefer Joshua Tree Climbing Salve (it also works on callous and blister protection)
9. Practice some positive self talk. It may sound cheesy, but you will need some extra motivation to help push yourself through the last few miles of the race. Start focusing on eliminating negative internal chatter during your training sessions and learn to embrace the pain. Get comfortable being uncomfortable.
10. Find a “Spartner”. Having a training buddy and someone to race with will make all the difference in the world. You will be able to hold each other accountable during the entire training process and you can help each other stay positive and focused during the race. Even if you end up in different heats on race day, you know you will have find each other at the finish line and share your stories from the battlefield.