You’ve logged the miles and scaled walls.  You’ve done burpees until you’ve dropped!  You even signed up for the Spartan WOD so that you could prepare and changed your diet so that you were race day ready!  As the day approaches, one thing looms in your mind…

What do I wear?

Ah, the quintessential question asked by every OCR athlete who ever first toed a Spartan Race start line.  Here we will give you the basics of what you wear and what to bring on race day from members of our Spartan Race Pro Team.

First and foremost, take care of your feet!  Members of our pro team strongly suggest a pair of trail running shoes. You will need the added traction that a trail shoe offers. You will also want to look for a shoe that provides adequate drainage when it get wet. A waterproof shoe is not a good idea, once the water gets in, and it will, it will have trouble getting out.

Socks: Look for a thin sock, preferably with individual toes slots. Got to have these. When your feet are getting wet and muddy its nice to have each toe cradled in its own little slot.

Shorts: If you’re going to wear shorts, most of our pro team prefer 5″ or 6″ running shorts or compression shorts. When they get wet there is a lower likelihood of chaffing. Looks for shorts with minimal to no pockets so you don’t collect extra mud and debris along the course.

Pants: If pants are more your speed, find compression wicking gear – NO COTTON!  The last thing you want is something heavy weighing you down.

Shirts: Many of our male pro’s really prefer to run without a shirt. Depending on the material, shirts add very little warmth and/or protection. Skin dries a lot quicker than any fabric. If it’s cool before your heat, get to the start line with an old shirt or garbage bag for warmth. Ditch it (responsibly in a trash can) right before the start. You may also have an old pair of socks on your forearms or hands to keep them warm before the start.  Many of our elite women opt for just a sports bra for many of the same reasons men go shirtless.

If you plan on donning a shirt: Most of the pro’s agree that a thin long sleeve compression shirt is best. Again, do not wear cotton! Remember, whatever you wear will get wet and will not likely dry out. If you are cold sensitive you may want to wear a windbreaker that does not absorb water. Remember once you start running you will build up a lot of heat.

Head Gear: Most racers generally do not wear anything on their heads except some sunscreen. If you like to have something on your head to manage sweat and keep the sun off you may want to try a bandana. It is easy to put around your neck when a hat might get lost in an obstacle.

Hydration: Typically one can rely on the support at the race for hydration if the race is under 3 hours. If you think you will be out there for a while and/or prefer your own beverage, a backpack with a hydration bladder is ideal.

Gloves: Gloves are a personal preference.  Many people prefer to feel the obstacles with their hands.  If not, a good pair of wide receiver gloves is great for managing the monkey bars and carrying objects.  Just remember, they will get wet!

Eyewear: Sunglasses are only going to muddy and will be useless after the first mud obstacle. Our recommendation, if you need them and have them wear your contact lenses. The swims are generally short enough that you do not need goggles.

Sunblock: Don’t forget to protect your skin from the sun. The mud will help, but apply sunscreen before the race. I like a SPF 50 spray for the body and a lotion 50+SPF for “the face”.  Otherwise you might end up with the ever-fashionable forehead race number sunburn.

RACE DAY CHECKLIST

Essentials:
• Trail Running Shoes
• Socks
• Shorts
• Sports bra
• Race bib pinned with four safety pins to your shorts
• Timing chip on your wrist
• Identification
• Directions to and from the race/ transportation schedules
• Cash for Parking
• Registration receipt
• Signed waiver

Food:
• Caffeine shot (if you like a little kick at the start)
• Water bottle for start line
SNAP Infusion Super Candy for energy
• Food belt
• Pre-race Food
• Post-race Food

Optional:
• Backpack/Duffle bag
• Hydration pack
• Shirt
• Hat/visor/hair tie/headband
• Contact lenses
• Sunscreen
• Camera/GoPro
• Change of Shoes/Shorts/Socks
• Towel
• Plastic Bag
• Bandages
• Ibuprofen
• Anti-chafe gel
• Cash for bag drop
• Extra Cash
• Soap/shampoo
• Wet Wipes
• Watch

*Suit and ties, tutu’s, wedding gowns, monkey suits, and superhero capes are also optional.

Now you have the essentials! The last thing you’ll want to bring with you out on the course is a smile! You’ll need it!

Ready to race? Get registered HERE!

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by Khaled Allen

Picture credit Julia Baykova on Flickr

My most impressive physical accomplishment involved me carrying an aluminum canoe over razor-sharp rocks submerged in  knee-deep water, during a thunderstorm, while thick underbrush dragged me to my knees. It was one of the best days of my life, largely because it ended with a warm campfire and a full belly, but I was lucky to have been well prepared for it. For the month leading up to that camping trip, I had been doing all my usual CrossFit workouts outdoors, running on grassy mounds, lifting logs and rocks instead of balanced bars, and doing pullups on tree limbs. I was used to awkward, slippery, and uncomfortable. Some of my camping partners were totally stuck. Their gym workouts hadn’t prepared them for this, though they could probably lift more than me.

If the only races you’ve ever run have been on paved roads, you’ll be in for a surprise when you first step off the beaten, graded, and well-maintained path. Road runners transitioning to trail running always find that it’s the little things that throw them off: the unsure footing, the twists and turns, the constant elevation changes. They can handle the running itself, but when you have to get past all sorts of other things to even get to the running, you may find yourself stranded.

In reality, our bodies were designed to work in unstable, unpredictable conditions. Primitive fitness is based on using all possible movement patterns, in random and unpredictable environments and is based on what our hunter-gatherer ancestors did every day. It pays to keep in mind that we only have to use our own strength and speed when we lack modern conveniences in the first place. The only times you’ll have to rely on your own physical abilities to get work done are also the times you won’t be indoors, near the comforts of civilization. You wouldn’t have to carry your injured friend if you were near a road with a car, for example.

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