Whether you’re doing a Spartan race with your co-workers, family, or friends, the team you train with has put in many miles, hours of sweat, and maybe even some blood (if you’ve had a misstep on an obstacle or two). Not to mention the tears along the way (real talk: we've been there, too). But once you cross that glorious finish line you’ve earned the right to some serious celebrating. And aside from competing, doing a Spartan race is a great way to meet other athletes who enjoy testing their limits just like you do. Here’s how to plan the ultimate Spartan Racecation — your guide to race and relax in the same weekend. Get our tips to prep both your mind and body, as well as how to recover quickly post-race so you can trade in your water bottle for a brew with the rest of your Spartan crew.
3 Tips to Plan the Ultimate Spartan Racecation
1. Take a Time-Out on Training
The week before a Spartan race isn’t the time to ramp up the intensity of your workouts. In fact, it’s important to do the opposite. “In order to allow your body to be ready for the race, make sure to cut back on your training the week of,” says Brent Smith, PT, DPT, advanced clinician in Acute Care at the Hospital of Special Surgery in New York City. “Do not try and hit new milestones the week of the race.” The week of your Spartan race should be a rest week (or at the very least a super light training week), not just the day before the race.
As you’re doing all that resting, work your mind instead of your body to help you stay mindful come race day. “An essential part of preparation for a race should be focused around acknowledgment and affirmation,” says Lindsey Pratt, LMHC, a psychotherapist based in New York City. “You've been training for weeks, months, or perhaps all year - give yourself space to honor the hard work you've already put in.” Remember why you wanted to race in the first place and take some time before the starting line to praise the progress made in your training. Then, when you cross that finish line, really give yourself a break for a couple of days and mindfully enjoy your Spartan racecation.
2. Don’t Try Anything New
“Keep the routine and pace that you’re familiar with to help avoid any surprises on race day,” says Smith. Stick to the same clothes (who wants to wreck new gear on a muddy course anyway?) and drink and eat the same electrolyte replacements and nutrition gels or other food you’ve used throughout training. This will help prevent the chances of getting blisters, having chaffing, or even vomiting, says Smith.
3. Expect to Be Sore
“There are no miracle cures to prevent from being sore,” says Smith. “It’s a natural part of pushing yourself athletically.” But what will help you be less sore is to keep moving post-race? Walk to your celebration spot if you can and most importantly – stay hydrated. Together this can help reduce soreness. And if you didn’t perform as well as you wanted to, Pratt says to zoom out on the race and look at the bigger picture to help cope. “For most athletes, this will just be one race out of many planned in their life,” she says. “Be mindful that each race is a stepping stone to a longer journey – and one that’s extremely rewarding regardless of the score.” Focus on why you chose this race and who you chose to race with and then go out and celebrate both – you’ve all earned it.