5 Essential Tips Before Your Next Spartan Race

Ready for Your Spartan Race? Tough Mudder?

 


Listen to the podcast here.

 

Congratulations, you are embarking on a truly epic adventure. Whether it is a Spartan race, Tough Mudder or any of the other OCR events, you will finish a changed person. But that doesn’t mean you have to make rookie mistakes. Let me help you out with a couple tips that will make your first Spartan race more enjoyable.

Enjoyable? Yes, enjoyable. Just because you are going to be uncomfortable for an extended length of time doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it.

Confused? You won’t be after you cross the finish line.

Tip #1: Hydration

I ran the Fort Carson Super and Sprint races last week. Let me set this up for you. The weather was in the low 70’s, sunny with a little wind. The Super is the longer of the two and is for more experienced runners. I didn’t see near the amount of cramping, puking and dizziness on the course Saturday as I did for the easier, shorter Sprint on Sunday.

Why?

Because the Super is long enough for people to pay attention to hydration and carry supplies. The Sprint is very deceptive in that it is billed as a 3-5 mile course. Most people wouldn’t carry water for a 3 mile run, so why bother with it race day?

Big Mistake for a couple of reasons.

Reason 1. If all you drink is purified water, you will never fully hydrate.

Water without electrolytes cannot hydrate. It tends to pass through the body. When your urine is clear, it doesn’t mean you are hydrated. It means the water is passing through the body and not getting absorbed into the cells. To achieve hydration you need electrolytes. Electrolytes are Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium Phosphate and Chloride. Without them, you will cramp up and feel like you are dying.

So the amount of water you drink isn’t as important as what you drink.

If you drink filtered water on the way to the race, drink the filtered water at the water stations, you are rolling the dice, especially if it is a hot day.

There just isn’t any reason to take a chance on this. If you are a bigger guy, like me, or if you sweat a lot take a camelback. You can always run around any water obstacles, drop it, come back and do the obstacle. It won’t do anything but help you.

Electrolyte heaven for Spartan race

Here are some great examples of getting some electrolytes in your system.

Tip #2 Length of the course

Fort Carson Spartan race 2017

Can I break some bad news to you? A Spartan Sprint is 3-5 miles long. This is very different than putting on your running shoes and going for a 3-5 mile run. Vastly different. The course is designed to break you and make you uncomfortable. It takes most people around 2 hours to finish a Sprint, sometimes 3 hours. That is not a casual jog for a couple hours, that is grueling effort. So please don’t take the course lightly.

A Sprint can take you around 4 hours and a Beast can be 6 plus hours.

In my opinion, unless you are a fast, elite runner, consider taking the following with you.

  • Hydration that includes electrolytes. See tip #1.
  • Food such as energy bars, protein bars, nuts etc…
  • Caffeine such as energy gels, energy shots etc…

Additional but still very important tip

If you are carrying food in your pockets, they will have a tendency to be pulled out of your pockets as you jump in the water. I know, it happened to me. Try and get pants with a button or zipper. If you are using a camelback, just shove everything in there and throw it in the grass while you get muddy. Also, it is never a bad idea to put everything in a watertight baggy. Just in case…

Tip #3 Food

When you get hungry you get miserable. It is amazing how a little food can lift your spirits. Under the last tip I mentioned energy bars, protein bars and nuts. You can also bring a sandwich, burrito, donuts and even candy bars. No I am not kidding. Don’t go hungry. It will erode your willpower and zap your energy. Even something as simple as a stick of gum or a peppermint can lift your spirits.

Now given you aren’t going to see Hunter McIntyre eating a pizza during the World Championships, I am assuming you are at a slightly lower level and just want to finish the race. So take time and eat.

Tip #4 Energy Cost

If you are in great shape and know how to get through all the obstacles, managing your energy is relatively simple. For the rest of us, there is the hidden danger of doing countless burpees. Burpees will zap your energy and your will to live within minutes. So please try and plan for them best you can.

Keep the following in mind.

  • The course is designed to break you. Any easy stretches are a prelude to something nasty.
  • You will have hills and descents all day.
  • You will be carrying heavy stuff and climbing all day.
  • You will be doing burpees. You may even be as unfortunate as me, as I did 4 penalty burpees stations in a row.

I am not trying to scare you, just leave a little energy in your back pocket for the final push. After a few races you will start to get a feel of the rhythm of the course but, in my humble opinion, it is never a bad idea to hold back a little at the start.

Tip#5 Don’t Wear Cotton!

Don’t wear cotton on the course. Cotton sucks!

  • It gets wet and heavy.
  • It gets muddy and clunky.
  • It will chafe you and make your life miserable.

This also goes for wearing cotton underwear, a mistake I made last year. Ouch!

Compression shorts make for great underwear. Get some running shorts and a tech shirt and you are good to go. Also, pay attention to your socks. No cotton here either. Get some good trail socks that will dry out. While you are thinking about that, a good pair of trail shoes are also invaluable.

This may sound a little weird to you but I love 5 toe socks. I have a couple pairs of Injinji’s and I love them like I have never loved a sock before. They keep the toes from getting blisters and tend to keep rocks and other unwanted junk out.

Best socks for Spartan Race

So there you have it. 5 Tips You need to know Before your Next Spartan Race.

Remember, this is not really a race but an adventure. You won’t know what is going to happen but if you follow the above steps, you will have a better chance of being less miserable.

M Factor fitness Online Training Programs

Questions about M Factor Fitness Online training?

Let’s get them answered.

Is it really only $10/month?

Yes

How does it work?

You sign up via Paypal and download the M Factor Fitness app on your phone (or you can just log in through the website with your computer).

Here is what it looks like.

M Factor Fintess Online app

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I will send you an email with your password when I get your account set up.

Click here to sign up!

What Online Programs Do I get?

To make this affordable, I have devised a number of workouts to cover almost any goal you want to accomplish. You can always go in and delete workouts, change the exercises or create new workouts from my workout library. You have unlimited freedom with my training but these workouts are a great place to start.

P.S. I am a pretty nice coach. Let me know what equipment you have and what your goals are and I will get everything customized for you.

No extra charge. See, I told you I was nice!

These are all subject to change but I wanted to give you an idea of what you get when you sign up.

Online Program 1: 10 Minute ab workouts

10 minute ab workouts have a built in timer and are designed to hit all areas of the core. Hint: #1 is easier than #6. It is progressive.

10 minute ab workouts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Online Program 2: The” 4 week get off the couch”

The “4 week Get off the Couch” are 4 progressively harder full body workout designed to gradually get you back in the game.

Do Workout 1 three times a week the first week, then workout 2 the next week…you get the idea.

online workouts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Online Program 3: The Balancing series

The Balancing series is an add-on workout you can do anytime. For best results pick 2-3 exercises and do 2-3 sets barefoot.

Online Program: Balancing

Online Program 4: Quickies

Quickie workouts are ugly, intense workouts when time is short and you have limited equipment. Great for hotel rooms while you are traveling or anytime you want your butt kicked.

Quickie Online programs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Online Program 5: warm-ups, Cool-downs and Stretches

Warm-ups are to be done before the workout.
Cool-downs are done after the workout.

Online programs stretches

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Online programs cool-downs

 

 

 

 

 

Bonus online programs

I have a custom library of over 200 exercises for you.

online programs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Kettlebell exercises
  • Dumbbell
  • TRX / Bands
  • Free weight

You can go into any workout and replace exercises or even create custom workouts.

How to customize Your Online Workout

Setting up Your Calendar

Hopefully this helps answer your questions. I designed my online training to be simple, affordable and most of all, effective.

Need a little more help???

Apply for membership in my VIP online training which is the ultimate in online accountability.

Click here for details.

 

Running Log Feb. 1, 2017- Record Day

Running Log Feb. 1, 2017

The day the dam broke.

Anybody who has run for any length of time knows the following two statements are true.

  1. On days where you feel great, you may not have a great run.
  2. On days where you really don’t feel up to it, you may have a great run.

And that is why you should run everyday. There is no rhyme or reason behind having a great run. All I can tell you is that you will never know if you don’t do it.

Simple as that.

This run was day 13 of my 100 day cardio challenge.

My what?

Yes you too can join me as I do 100 days of cardio in a row.

Why?

Because I love a challenge. Read more about the challenge here.

After 12 straight days of cardio, I thought my legs would be tired but that just hasn’t been the case.

From Frosty’s Frozen to the Snowman Stampede

There are 3 cool things about the Hudson Garden races.

  1. They are in the winter. You can get better while other runners get fat and lazy.
  2. They are a month apart so you can measure your progress while other runners get fat and lazy.
  3. You can enter spring in great shape while other runners are emerging from their winter hibernation and trying to squeeze into their clothes.

And that is exactly what I am after. Hot, nasty raw speed is what I am working on this month before the Snowman Stampede.

Let the 10 minute mile barrier fall

First there was Roger Bannister, now there is me!

Running Log Feb. 1

Laugh if you want my friends but that is not a misprint. That is a blistering (for me) 9:52 looking you square in the face.

Using the Lumo Run has been an absolute godsend for me. Not only does it record metrics I couldn’t get anywhere else, I have my own running coach talking to me as I run.

The coolest thing Apple has ever done, in my opinion, is give me the option to change the voice in my Iphone.

That allows me to have a sexy but stern British woman who gently whispers in my ear to “Pick my feet up faster”.

Okay, sometimes she comes across as sexy but I think she loses patience with me on my cadence. On long runs she seems to get a little snippy with me. That is not Lumo Run’s issue. That is the physics of trying to lift up a size 13 shoe as fast as possible.

Oh how I want to increase my cadence to make my English coach happy!

Here is something cool

Lumo Run will give you suggested exercises to improve your metrics.

 

Running Log Feb. 1

The Metrics

Running Log Feb. 1

I have found that I can increase my cadence naturally by doing 3 things.

  1. Leaning forward from the ankles.
  2. Taking shorter choppy steps
  3. Most important, not trying to stop the feeling of falling forward. Usually I start freaking out when I get my lean right because I think I am going to burn out too quick aerobically. This isn’t the case and I need to get use to the feeling of just letting go.

Personal Records

 

running log feb.1,2017

I am really excited about this. I would estimate I gave around 95% effort on this run and it felt great.

 

Lumo Run Review: Can It Help Your Running Technique?

Does Lumo Run really work?

Note:

In the interest of full disclosure, I am an ambassador for Lumo Run. This means I get compensated if you click on any of the Lumo Run links and decide to try it out. It also means I can give you a discount using the code “MMG10” for $10 off any Lumo Run.  By clicking on the link you help this website and get the lowest price. That is a win-win. What I want to do here is to give you a fair overview of Lumo Run so you can decide if this is right for you.

Bad running form leads to injuries.

In December I was looking through Facebook and I saw the above graphic. I found it very interesting and timely. Timely because I was sitting at home with type 2 calf strains in both legs. This means 90% of the muscle is torn and you are out of the game. Instead of running, you spend your time reading. Mostly horrible descriptions of how other runners are dealing with chronic calf pain. After a while you get a deep sense of hopelessness.

When your ankle is locking up, there are two things you can do.

  • Rest 5-8 weeks
  • Hope that you don’t need surgery.

Confessions of a chronic heel-striker.

I knew exactly why I was in this situation. I am heel striker and never paid attention to my running form. Why would I have to change my running form? I could read articles on increasing speed and get faster. As they say, with age comes wisdom.

Chronic injury brings humility.

After limping around for weeks I decided on a plan.

  • Get weekly massages to unlock my calf muscles.
  • Do rehab by rolling and smashing every day.
  • Do strengthening exercises for both legs
  • Fix my running form.

Fixing your running form is harder than it looks.

I can prove it to you. Take a video of yourself running in slow motion. When I thought I was mid-foot striking, I was still heel-striking and over-striding. I even hired a running coach. The problem was that he thought I had to move my feet faster. Very Frustrating.

Technology to the rescue.

I was looking at Garmin for help. They have watches that measure cadence, vertical drop etc…The problem is they are $400. That is the precise time I saw the above ad and decided to put Lumo Run on my Christmas list. I didn’t know if it was going to work, so I didn’t want to spend my own money buying it. Well, that is what Christmas is for, isn’t it?

Here is what you get.

Lumo Run Kit

 

Set-up is very simple.

  1. Use the cord to charge the Lumo Run.
  2. Insert Lumo Run sensor into the rubber case.
  3. Create an online account and download the Lumo Run Software.
  4. Attach the clip to the back of your pants.
  5. Go for a test run.

Doing the test run.

So the test run is a way to get some baseline metrics. As you can see, it lasts 10 minutes.

There are a couple things I like.

  • The screen is very well laid out and it is easy to read outside in bright light.
  • The important things you need to know, mileage, pace, time and easy to find.
  • You get a nice GPS of your route.
  • The temperature is also recorded.
  • There is a space where you can record notes. In this case I did the test run with Altras which are zero drop shoes.

 

 

Lumo Run Test Run

 

The results of the test run.

I was very nervous and expecting the worst. As you run with Lumo Run, you have a coach that brings up reminders and tips. I thought this was going to get ugly but it didn’t.

In fact I am surprised with the results. Take a look.

 

Lumo Test Results

Not too bad. The real value of Lumo Run is that it pointed out  1 main metric I need to work on, cadence. If you look at my running logs, you can start to see the effect of cadence on the other metrics. I suspect this will be true with a lot of runners that their cadence is their weak spot. Knowing this makes my life a lot easier.

How many things do you really want to concentrate on during a run?

Speaking of tracking metrics and running logs

Here is a screen shot of the coaching screen.

Lumo Run Coaching Screen

Exercise recommendations help you to improve on your weakest metrics.

Lumo Run Recommendations

 

Trends show you how your are progressing.

Lumo Run Trends

 

Personal Records keep track of your best metrics and tell you after each run if you have a new record.

Lumo Run Personal Records

 

Summary

Who is Lumo Run for?

Lumo Run is for a runner that wants to monitor and correct form. It is a very easy way to build your notebook of runs and track progress. If you always seem to get injured, this is an invaluable tool to self-correct your running. And it is cheaper than a new pair of running shoes!

Pros:

  • The software works flawlessly on my Iphone.
  • The metrics are explained very well.
  • You get as much detail or as little detail as you want.
  • At $99, this is a great value. You could spend 4 times the amount and not get any more meaningful info.
  • Your sensor will synch up with your phone and online account giving you instant access to your run info.

Cons

  • The build quality is great but it is hard for my big fingers to open the charging port. I am afraid I am going to tear of the end.
  • The sensor clips on the back of your waistband. Remember that because it is very easy to lose track of it after a run.

As you can see on my website, I use Lumo Run for every run and display the results.

I wanted to try it because I want to become a more efficient runner.

For me that means running with less effort and fewer injuries.

Lumo Run is key for helping me get there.