by Mike Morris, Spartan Race Director
Earlier this year we announced the inclusion of the Ultra Beast. A 26.2ish distance event to coincide with the Beast in Vermont in September. IN addition to the new distance race, we announced that the race (both Ultra and regular Beast) would be mostly unsupported. That means the athlete’s will have to provide for themselves their own nutrition, hydration, and fuel for the race. To help athlete’s prepare, we have begun a series of posts designed to educate those taking part.
As a Race Director, I’m always trying to find new and creative ways to safely challenge our competitors. Given the nature (and history?) of our Killington event its important this race continues to set the bar high. Most of the Spartan Founders come from an Adventure Racing background; races lasting anywhere from 4 hours to 9 days with multiple disciplines, intensive navigation, and little to no support. You could go days without seeing another person. Proper planning of nutritional needs could mean a top ten finish versus needing to call in for an evacuation. Even a “sprint” race required forethought on what to eat, when to eat, and how much to eat. Thus we thought it fitting to add an unsupported element to the event. As you prepare for the Killington Beast, I want you to start thinking about those three things:
3. How much
If you can’t answer them as you face the start columns then you are going to have a hell of a time. Consider these tips as you start to create your plan.
Water/Hydration. You need it. If you don’t carry any on the course you risk cramping, nausea, heat stroke, and a 99% of not finishing the race. Start with 20 oz per hour and adjust as needed. If it’s a hot day as you climb a double black diamond with a sandbag then you will wish you had more. Since everyone will be on course for more than three hours, you should consider adding an electrolyte supplement (especially if you don’t get enough through your calorie supplements) to help prevent muscle cramps and keep your body working most efficiently at many levels.
Calories. The longer your race, the more you need per hour. The more intense the activity, the more you need per hour. Stay away from high fat and protein dense items, your GI tract will thank you later. Stick with relatively high glycemic index foods, and shoot for around 100 calories per hour. Big Spartans will need more, little Spartans could work with less.
My next blog will include some specific examples of what to eat/drink. In the meantime, do some homework of your own (some Google searching can be very effective), you’ll learn 10x more than my few blog entries can accomplish which will empower you to have more effective training and successful racing moving forward.