by Chris Rutz

Money, money, money Part II.  We talked about expenses for Spartan travel in Part I.  Here is more information on how to get to your Spartan destination cost effectively.

There are a lot of different means to go about saving money on travel. Of course the best way to travel on the cheap is bum a ride off of someone, stay with someone you know nearby, or campout at the race. I have done all of these. Some people chose Expedia, Priceline, Orbitz etc… to make their travel plans. For me I have very good success with directly booking with my favorite travel partners. I like to be able to change my mind. You never know when you might get injured, sick, or just cannot make it. I am always looking for the best deals without having to fully commit and make a nonrefundable deposit.  So for those of you that have to buy a plane ticket, rent a car, and stay at a hotel, here are some tips that work for me. My number one tip is to join AAA. For about $55 you get great discounts on top of their other benefits. Second big tip is networking. When I dove into Spartan Racing for 2012 I knew no one at the races. Today, every race I go to I am able to share a hotel room and sometimes a car. I am trying to figure out how to share an airplane seat, lap child anyone?

I do not work for, nor am I sponsored by any of these companies. But we really do need a few official travel partners of Spartan Racing. Is anyone listening?

Airplane –

Southwest Airlines is my carrier of choice. Phoenix is one of their major airports so I can usually find great fares on Southwest. The best part is that there is never a change fee with them. If I rebook, cancel, or change a flight, there is no fee to do so. I book my flights early and typically over the course of time the airfare goes down. I check the flight periodically and if the price has dropped I rebook the flight the same flight, and get credit for the difference. I have had fares drop over 50%. I fly enough with them to be on their A-List so I can get in the express security lanes and board the place first. This makes the travel a little less tiring, which helps come race day.

Rental Car –

It seems I am always able to get great rates with Hertz by going directly to their website. Much of this year they have had a special for $14.99 ($13.49 for AAA) per weekend day for an economy car. I always reserve the least expensive option. Rental companies hardly ever have an ‘economy’ car and you will likely end up with something a little nicer. I typically get a Focus, Cruze, Jetta, or Mazda3. Small cars equal great gas mileage, so this saves money on gas too. I can cancel at any time, or even just not show up, and there is no charge. As a bonus I get points on Southwest.

Hotel –

No favorites here. I have an online resource through my employer that I typically use. I punch in the city I am traveling to and a radius and then it pulls up what is available by price. Similar tools are available via AAA and other travel websites. The key here is similar to what happens with Southwest. Rates change. Book early and check back frequently to see if the rates have dropped. If they have, rebook, no penalty. You will have to decide how much time and effort it is worth to you to keep checking. Always book a double bed room. This gives you the flexibility to share the room as the race date approaches as people look for a room on Facebook. I also know a bunch of people that are willing to sleep on the floor. So you should likely never have a problem filling your room up. Most of the Spartan Races have event pages. You can usually find someone to share a room with, depending on your sense of adventure.

Okay, now that you have framework to help you save some money on your trip, next up we will talk about how to make the most of your trip to the race.

Who is Christopher Rutz?

Christopher is a member of the juwi Solar Obstacle Racing, has 6 top three finishes in Spartan Races this year and is the current leader of 2012 Spartan Race Points Series. He manages a health and fitness blog, www.livethetoughlife.com and a Facebook page, Tough Training.  We’ll be featuring his blogs about how to travel Spartan style over the next few months.

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by Chris Rutz

Last weekend I was off to yet another Spartan Race, my 20th of 2012. I have gotten pretty good at knowing what I need to have with me along the way. I check a few things night before my departure, such as my airline, rental car and hotel reservations. Most have sent me a confirmation e-mail in the past few days, so I just save them on my smartphone. I also map out the airport, Whole Foods/Trader Joes, hotel and race site so I get my bearings for the trip. Once I have completed that I move onto my nutrition packing list.

You can take food and water with you on the airplane. I use one of the Gaspari Nutrition/Spartan Race cinch sacks to carry my food. For my flight today I have packed the following:

  • 2 grilled chicken breasts
  • bell pepper
  • banana
  • apple,
  • fresh raspberries,
  • carrots,
  • cauliflower,
  • a bag of frozen broccoli (keep the chicken next to the frozen broccoli)

Why so much food you might ask? Well, pre-race nutrition is very important and you can never predict what food will be available at the airport or if your flight will be delayed. I would rather have too much rather than too little. Once you get to your destination, you can eat the “leftovers” on your way to the hotel.

I also carry an empty water bottle through security and fill it up at the gate. You need to hydrate before a race especially if you are flying.

Once I land I generally head to the grocery store to pick up what I will need for my weekend. This eliminates the need to figure out restaurants and allows you more time to relax and rest before the race. If you want to eat out, do that after the race. I try to get a hotel with both a microwave and refrigerator so I can stick to my nutrition plan.

This should help you get to the race primed and ready to deliver you best possible performance.

Who is Christopher Rutz?

Christopher is a member of the juwi Solar Obstacle Racing, has 6 top three finishes in Spartan Races this year and is the current leader of 2012 Spartan Race Points Series. He manages a health and fitness blog, www.livethetoughlife.com and a Facebook page, Tough Training.  We’ll be featuring his blogs about how to travel Spartan style over the next few months.

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by Chris Rutz

We talked about Spartan Travel and the first logical topic is the Season Pass.  You know you want it. It is time to take the leap.

First tip to enable you to run as many Spartan Races for the 2012 – 2013 season is to simply buy the Season Pass for $400. Yes, that sounds like a huge outlay of cash all at once, but it the deal of the century. Forgive me for sounding like a life insurance salesman or a late night infomercial, but here it goes:

For only a little more than $1 a day you can get the Spartan Race Seasons Pass. You spend more than that on that for your cup of coffee in the morning or that can of coconut water for lunch.

Less than $8 a week will get into any Spartan Race you chose. That is less than you probably pay to get your car washed once a week.

Think of it as a monthly gym membership of $33. It is only $33 per month to run any Spartan Race you want anywhere in the country, as often as you want.

Okay, so now you are considering it, let us talk about the benefits:

You can decide to do a race at the last minute and not be subject to those high last minute race rates.

You will always have a Spartan Race on the calendar to focus your training.

You can run the race competitively by yourself of Saturday and then run again on Sunday with friends and family. Both races included in that season pass.

Your race schedule is full and wide open all at once. You can run every Spartan Race you can get to, but if you miss one due to sickness or injury, not a huge deal. It is all included in the one low price, no money lost.

Travel for business? You can extend your stay Friday night when a Spartan Race syncs up with your schedule.

Family reunion or vacation coming up in the summer? Perhaps you can convince them to do it near a Spartan Race venue. After all, “The race is already paid for.” you can tell them.

You can call yourself a Season ‘Ticket’ Holder to a sporting event you participate in rather than watch.

Accumulation of numerous “Spartan Race” t-shirts, photographs and finisher medals to show off of Facebook.

Great, now that you have decided to get the pass, stay tuned for how to get to and from the races affordably and have the best performance possible.

Get your Season Pass HERE.

Who is Christopher Rutz?

Christopher is a member of the juwi Solar Obstacle Racing, has 6 top three finishes in Spartan Races this year and is the current leader of 2012 Spartan Race Points Series. He manages a health and fitness blog, www.livethetoughlife.com and a Facebook page, Tough Training.  We’ll be featuring his blogs about how to travel Spartan style over the next few months.

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