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Race Day Readiness - Spartan SGX at BFP

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Race Day Readiness - Spartan SGX at BFP

 

RACE DAY READINESS PART 1 - GEAR

If you’re like me, you have a million questions and anxieties about what to bring, wear, eat, and do for a Spartan Race. So I thought I’d do my best to answer as many frequently asked pre-race questions as I could. What started as a half page blog quickly turned into several pages of advice, tips, and tricks that I have picked up over the past years and through my SGX training. So we decided to split my blog into parts. In this part, we’ll talk about race day gear. 

Before we get started, let me say, you can race in anything. You do not need to spend an exorbitant amount of money on gear. I showed up to my first Spartan Sprint completely and utterly unprepared. I only brought a tank top and shorts to my first race in late November (which had a starting temperature of 38 degrees) and we had to stop at Walmart on the way to the race to pick up weather appropriate clothing, including a long sleeve shirt and leggings. I wore super old, worn out sneakers that I ended up throwing away in a trash can after the race. And I survived. The following advice is just that - advice. 

 

 

Footwear

Let’s start from the bottom and work our way up. Your most important piece of equipment is your footwear and you’ll find the most success with OCR (Obstacle Course Racing) or trail running shoes. Your shoes will need to provide traction because you are climbing up and down mountainsides, over slippery rocks in streams, and through thick mud. They should be quick drying and provide drainage because of said streams and mud - you don’t want your feet sitting in water for the entire length of the race. You want your shoes to provide proper support and stability because you are running for several miles throughout the race. They need to absorb the impact after landing from a few feet in the air after wall climbs, monkey bars, and other overhead obstacles. And your shoes should provide protection - there are innumerable holes, twigs, sticks, brush, and rocks, all trying to bring you down during the race.

I would recommend avoiding road running shoes because they do not provide enough lateral support or traction for the trails.

 

The best place to find OCR or trail running shoes is to go to an outdoor sport retailer to physically try on various shoes - they should feel good out of the box. 


One typical recommendation for road running shoes is to “size up” by at least half a size from your normal everyday shoe size in order to allow room for your feet to swell. I do *not* recommend sizing up for your OCR or trail running shoes because that will just provide more room for mud, pebbles, and water to sit and rub against your heels and toes. 

Lastly, make sure that you train in your shoes before Race Day. It’s a good idea to run on the trails (Abbey Nature Preserve or Holly Shelter) and to practice some obstacles (the rope climb at BFP or monkey bars at a local playground) while wearing the shoes so you can break them in beforehand.

 

 

Socks


CRAFT SPARTAN by CRAFT Compression Knee Sock

In terms of socks, I recommend wearing knee high compression socks. You’ll need some protection for your lower legs when running through the trails - there are lots of low brush and sticks on the race course. Knee-high socks are also beneficial for some of the obstacles (such as the Tyrolean Traverse) because they protect your legs from chaffing and rubbing. The compression piece is important because it reduces muscle fatigue, prevents strains and soreness, and promotes better muscle oxygenation (better blood flow) to your muscles.

 

 

Tops and Bottoms

 

When it comes to tops and bottoms, you want form fitting clothing to prevent snagging on obstacles or trails. Compression shorts/pants and shirts are the way to go. You’ll want to avoid cotton because it retains water, doesn’t dry quickly, causes chaffing when wet, and doesn’t insulate well when wet. Make sure that what you wear is comfortable to train/move in and always wear your race day clothes in training before the actual competition.

Headgear


 In terms of headgear, you will be given a Spartan headband when you register for the race. This will make it easier to identify whether you are participating in an open or a competitive heat (competitive athletes are often given the courtesy to attempt obstacles first since their times on the course determine their rankings). And it will make it easier post-race to find your Race Day photos. I do not recommend wearing a hat since the brim of the hat can get caught on various obstacles. I do recommend pulling longer hair back - and in more than just a ponytail since the loose hair can get caught on the trails or obstacles. A hairstyle that keeps hair tight to the head (braids) is best.

 

The next blog will discuss Race Day nutrition and hydration.

 

Coach Steph

 




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