Kilometres of running, hundreds of burpees, pushing weights, core exercises and bear crawls – you have put countless hours of preparation into Saturday’s Spartan Race, but it is not over yet.
Spartan Races are long-distance obstacle courses, where ‘Spartans’ sprint, jump, hang from monkey bars, crawl under barbed wire and crash through muddy water.
But with only one day until you’re standing on the start line, if you get your final preparation wrong, it could undermine all your hard work.
Personal trainer Andrew Power said many people made the mistake of thinking you should do no exercise the day before the race.
“You’ll stiffen up,” he warned. “So do a little warm-up. Get a sweat on by doing static stretching.”
Power said you should concentrate on the major muscle groups, and hold stretches for 30 to 45 seconds.
“It won’t just relax you physically, but it will help mentally as well,” he said. “You’ll feel less nervous.”
In addition to stretching, you should eat correctly, but the bottom line is not to try anything new.
“Most people eat a lot of carbohydrates in their diet anyway, so they are used to using it as an energy source,” Power said. “So ‘carb loading’ is right for them.”
But if you usually avoid carbohydrates, and get your energy from protein or fats, like people on the ketogenic diet, Friday is not the day to ‘carb load’.
Avoid white carbohydrates, like pasta and white bread, and have quality carbohydrates, such as yams, sweet potatoes and quinoa.
Needless to say, once you have had your dinner, get to bed early and account for the early start.
But once you arrive, the work starts before the race begins.
“Don’t just hang around and chat with your friends. There are things you can do to optimise your performance,” Power said.
“Do what you will be doing during the race, like burpees or jump squats, but at a lower intensity. That will get your body temperature up,” he said.
Once you feel warm, do some dynamic stretches, like lunges or upper body rotations. But avoid static stretches as they can hinder your performance.
After you have completed the Spartan Race, you will want to collapse, have a beer and never think about it again.
But you are not done yet.
“As soon as you finish, you should have some protein,” Power said, advising an unlikely source: “If you don’t have access to a protein shake, or to protein bars, then have some chocolate milk.”