More and more people are challenging themselves in the obstacle course world by completing back to back races in order to test their strength, stamina, and will.
How far can you take yourself in one weekend?
Have you ever thought about completing a Spartan Beast on Saturday and a Sprint on Sunday?
How about back to back Beast races or even a Beast on Saturday and the Ultra Beast on Sunday?
As the years go by, more and more people are taking on these challenges and achieving success. How can athletes achieve this successfully you ask? Well, I can give you the tips that have helped me to successfully complete back-to-back Spartan Supers, Sprints, and even in 2013 the Spartan World Championship Beast and the Ultra Beast in back-to-back days.
First of all, training plays a huge role in the success of such an undertaking. You need to put in the training time and push yourself to your limits so that you know how your body reacts to stress and fatigue.
This is one of the only ways you will be able to get through to the end not only physically, but mentally as well. So many times, I have had to ignore that little voice of self-doubt that starts chiming in on that second day and when you still have many hours to go. You need to be in-tune with your body and know the difference between muscle fatigue and true injury.
Nutrition & Hydration
Nutrition and hydration play a huge role as well. Test out your nutrition and hydration in your training. Never try new things on race day. You never know how your body is going to react to new food or a different type of electrolyte. You need to make sure that you hydrate and consume enough calories to fuel your body properly that first race day so that you don’t have to play catch-up after you finish the race.
I have found that the best thing that works for me is after I finish; I get cleaned up and try not to stay at the festival area too long. I head back to my hotel and get a balanced meal of carbohydrates, protein and fat. My after race meal usually consists of rice, chicken, and salad or veggies and plenty of water. After I have eaten and relaxed, yes time off your feet is key, I usually head down to the pool if the hotel has one and do a few laps and stretches to loosen up the muscles from that day’s race. I will also take a dip in the hot tub if one is available. It helps me relax if nothing else. Depending on what time it is, I will try and relax or even foam roll before it is time to sleep.
On the morning of the second race, give yourself plenty of time to get ready so that you do not have to rush and you have enough time for your breakfast to digest. I usually have oatmeal and a banana or peanut butter and jelly and coffee. The coffee helps relieve my body of unwanted waste so that you don’t have to make a pit stop in the woods during the race. Just make sure you have your coffee an hour or two before you start.
I always carry a little more nutrition than I think I am going to need on the course just in case the race takes me longer than I thought or is more physically demanding than previously thought. The last thing you want to happen is to “bonk” or hit the wall with a mile or two to go. For the Ultra Beast I carried a combination of Hammer Perpetuem tablets, gels, bars and had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in my drop bin that I put in my pack for the second half of the course.
Mental Toughness and Determination
Lastly, mental toughness and determination play a huge role in successfully finishing as well. I attempted the Beast/Ultra Beast in 2012 and had a DNF in the Ultra Beast because a group of us went off course and in turn were not able to make a cutoff. This DNF helped fuel the fire in me to make sure I completed it the following year. I was determined beyond belief to complete both races in 2013 even with many people saying that this could not be done. Well, there were a number of us that did just that!
So mental grit along with determination and stubbornness played just as an important role as did my preparation, nutrition, hydration, and rest. Good luck to all who take on these amazing challenges and always remember these are the things that worked for me, you need to find what works for you and your body. We are all different and have different requirements. I hope that some of these will help you achieve success in whatever challenge you choose to tackle.