There is a statement that goes, “When the time to perform arrives, the time for preparation has past”. There are many variations of this statement. I think about this often and not just when I am racing.
Earlier this year I decided that I wanted to earn the Spartan Race Trifecta Medal. Spartan Race has this great plan to push people and to get them to sign up for multiple races. If you complete three Spartan Races at three different distances you earn the Trifecta Medal. I love what this company stands for! Their goal is to get people off the couch and get people out of their comfort zones.
The three different distances are the Sprint that is 3 plus miles, the Super that is 6 plus miles and the Beast that is 13 plus miles! Each race also has around 30 obstacles from climbing walls, ropes, mountains, army crawling under barbwire, mud crossings, and many other tough obstacles. I love that they do not tell you the exact distance until a week or two before the race. They want you to be prepared for the unknown.
The first race I did this year was the Sprint that was around 4 miles and was held in the desert near Fort McDowell near Fountain Hills, Arizona. In August I did the Super in Eden, Utah near Ogden, Utah at a Ski Resort area that climbed forever up a ski mountain. It was very steep and challenging. This one was about 8 miles and they seemed to put almost all of the obstacles in the last three miles. It was more challenging than I expected. By the end of the race my grip was so smashed that I had a hard time climbing a rope towards the end of the race. If you are unable to complete an obstacle you have to do 30 Burpees in the dirt.
This weekend I will be racing in Lake Tahoe, Nevada with my friends Grant Mitchell and Andrew Lucero. This race is called the Beast and they have announced that it is 16.2 miles and 30 plus obstacles! There will be extremely cold water crossings and over 4800 feet of climbing on the course. This course is also the Spartan Race World Championship course. I did not qualify for the World Championship race but I do get to race on the course! It is going to be a great challenge and I am very excited to be doing this race!
Time For Preparation Is Past
This week there is nothing that I can do to make myself more fit for this race. The time for preparation is past. The best thing that I can do this week is rest more, do some light workouts and work on mobility and stretching. Another very important thing that I can do is eat very clean and hydrate all week.
One thing that is very tough to prepare for at this race is the elevation. Luckily this has not been a huge problem for me in the past at other races. I have learned that some racers will train, then go sit in a hot sauna for thirty minutes after a run. It has been shown to increase red blood cell production and endurance performance. My thoughts on this training in Arizona are that I am basically training in a sauna everyday when I run. I believe that this will prepare you for elevation. Of course nothing prepares you for elevation better than training at elevation. Sounds great to me but with 5 kids, a wife and responsibilities at CrossFit Preferred and LeSueur Car Company this is not really an option at this point in time!
Study The Course
Today I looked up the weather for the race and the low is in the 30’s and the highs is the low 60’s. It will be cold at first but we will have perfect weather as long as everything goes to plan. This last year for the race they actually had a blizzard blow in towards the end of the longer race called the Ultra Beast. This is a 26 plus mile course! Being in the mountains, weather can change fast! I am preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.
I learned about 6 years ago to study the course before I race. I was racing in a Triathlon in Casa Grande, Arizona and I made it out in the front pack out of the swim and onto the bike. We were all racing and the race was not completely organized yet so they did not have anybody or any signs out that showed where to turn. About 10 of us ended up going straight and riding a few extra miles! This did not help our race times!
I learned a great lesson that day to always study the course you are racing and have a plan. It is a little different at a Spartan race because they have multiple heats starting every 15 minutes throughout the day. You are able to see where to go most of the time. I still think it is always best to study a course the best you can and get prepared. I came back the next year to this same race and actually came in first place overall! It was actually the last triathlon I raced. I am starting to get the desire again to race a triathlon.
What I Eat The Night Before A Race
When I first started racing I always heard you should carb load the night before a race so we would go out and have a huge pasta meal. I quickly learned this was not the best idea. I would go to bed very full and wake up not feeling the best. Large amounts of pasta does not work well for me. I now eat a normal meal with a moderate amount of protein, carbohydrates and fat. You have to find what works for you and do your best. One thing that I teach endurance racers is that we do not go out the night before all of our long training runs and rides and eat huge meals. We just have a balanced meal the night before we train and we will feel just fine. The same thing works for racing.
The best thing that you can do is make sure that you are eating healthy and staying away from high sugar and high fat foods. Sugar steals away your energy and will not help you come race day.
My first Ironman 140.6 mile race that I completed in Arizona in 2007 I was able to work with a sports psychologist. I had a coach named Nick Goodman and he was kind enough to have a sports psychologist come in and talk us through the whole race as we laid down on the ground and closed our eyes. He knew the course well and prepared us for the race. That taught me a valuable lesson for many races and other endurance events.
It is very important to take some time to visualize the race and breath. Think about what you are going to do to make it through the race and how you are going to react when things do not go the way you plan.
Races are very much like life we need to plan for the tough times and hope for the best. I heard a great quote by Albert Einstein today that says, “Adversity introduces a man to himself”. This is one of my big reason why I race. The tough situations and times that I put myself in during races push me and help me to become my best for myself and everyone around me. It has helped me to gain confidence in so many other areas of my life.
I challenge you to find one thing a month that pushes you out of your comfort zone. It does not have to be a Spartan Race but they sure are fun! Start where you are and find something that will push you mentally and physically. This preparation will prepare you for life!
If you need any help figuring out what you can do I can help guide you in this journey. As you do this I promise you that you will find that you will become more comfortable with the uncomfortable!
Comment below about what you are going to do to push yourself out of your comfort zone in the next month.
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