One day, multiple races
Spartan Race sometimes offer the unique and challenging opportunity to get even closer to earning a trifecta by completing multiple races in a single day. Last weekend in Manchester, UK, the Sprint and Super were held on the same day and I couldn’t resist giving both a go. I competed in the morning Sprint and resolved to enjoy the early afternoon Super in good company. Besides, collecting two pieces of trifecta in one weekend trip made the whole experience that much better. This sunny Saturday was probably the best day of racing I’ve experienced since starting with OCR years back.
My personal goal was to push myself hard in the first race and get as close as possible to earning a coin. This was a mistake and after about 1/3 of the sprint being in the front the pack I started breaking down and had to slow down way too much. Definitely a mistake I won’t make the next time around.
If you are new to obstacle racing or you’re looking to amp up the challenge and complete back-to-back races in a single day, you might have questions on how to ensure optimal performance especially if you do have some extra time while transitioning between the events. Here are some crucial tips that worked for me to boost my overall performance and speed up recovery:
Tips to get through the double race experience
Have a cold bath in between the races
In Manchester we stayed at a hotel just outside the park that the race was held at, so I was able to take a break in between the races and plunge into an ice cold bath.
In just 20mins of hyper cold water submersion most of the lactic acid will flush out reducing inflammation and leaving your legs feeling lightweight again and ready for another race. Depending on how battered you are after the first race, you might still feel some fatigue, so I would recommend taking any races following after the first one easy.
Even though not every location will allow such extravaganza, you can also bring some icepacks in cooler boxes. Even if they melt a little, the cold that’s above air temperature will relieve aches and reduce inflammation.
Have a fresh set of clothing for each race
A clean set of underwear, socks and base layers will go a long way towards boosting your morale for the next race. Regardless of the climate or race distance, you’ll probably be sweaty and muddy. You might also get wet which potentially exposes you to a runner’s greatest inconvenience – chafing. Even if you don’t think this could happen to you, who knows what the next race will bring so just change your layers to be on the safe side.
I changed almost my entire set of clothing. This is because I was running the elite wave during the Sprint and needed compression gear. The second race I did with Helena in an open heat so I skipped compression but swapped out for a technical tee to help my performance.
Stock up on fuel accordingly
Smaller distances won’t require any fuel whatsover, however if afterwards you’re transitioning to a longer-distance race you might want to invest in a couple of energy gels. The multitude of activity will naturally drain your glycogen levels which one would need to replenish with some post workout food, but it is a good choice to bring some quick energy snacks with you out on the field too.
I am not a big fan of conventional sugar based energy gels because of the massive stomach distress and gut fermentation, which kicks in quickly after consumption. However because of the back-to-back racing experience it seemed like a good idea and for me the benefits outweighed the cons. It helped me a lot.
Stretch and stay active
If you have to sit down – start stretching and stay as active as possible. Don’t allow your limbs, bigger muscle groups to get stiff and lactic. What helped me to stay in the ‘battle mode’ and ready to restart the hustle was constant steady movement and dynamic stretches throughout the break (I spent around 40mins either walking or performing various yoga poses). This should keep you well warmed up and capable to perform better.
Remember: if you don’t use it – you will lose it!
Perk up mentally – prepare for a brand new, tough racing experience
“When the pain gets so bad that you’re ready to quit, you’ve set yourself up as someone with nothing to lose. And someone who has nothing to lose has quite a bit of power. – Seth Godin. The Dip”
The momentum you gain winning small victories by completing a smaller race (in my case the Sprint) and then bigger races (the Super) will evoke the powerful winner’s effect which we’ve discussed about before. This is an amazing tool any athlete or lifestyle entrepreneur can use to their advantage to increase their velocity towards success.
Use this catalyst to go further towards your achievement. Finishing a single race doesn’t compare to multiple victories stacked one after another. The latter is of course tougher, but since you invested so much to accomplish the payoffs will be greater too. Trust me.
Earning the Spartan Trifecta in one day?
As days went by after my two race in a day experience, the experience and significance of the event naturally started to fade. To keep myself motivated I had to set an equally demanding or bigger challenge for the upcoming future. What would be more crazy and challenging than a Sprint and Super finished back-to-back? Going the whole hog – the trifecta. The only issue is finding all 3 types of Spartan races held on the same day close together. Let’s hope Spartan race might take the plunge and offer this full-on, advanced racing experience someday soon!
In the meantime, if you’re hunkering for a bigger challenge, there is the Death Race, of course.