Monday, October 3, 2016

Spartan World Championship Recap

I was fortunate enough to travel to Lake Tahoe to do some sport nutrition consulting work and just happened to race in the Spartan World Championships for the second year in a row. Last year was my first Spartan Race ever (started with the Beast) and since then I have accumulated three more races (sprint, super and beast-for the Trifecta).

I was very unprepared last year except for my run base. After finishing 21st in my age-group in 2015, I became a student of the sport and developed a solid training plan to prepare me for the rigors of OCR (obstacle course racing).  This year, it was quite different. Even though I had battled a few health challenges throughout 2016 and only started training in early August, my mindset was completely different going into this World Championship race.

I was lucky to have entered the competitive wave, which provides a huge advantage of having somewhat of a clear course ahead of you as there are only the pro's and elites up front. Little did I know that I would pass quite a few elites so it did get a little bogged down at times on the single track trail.  That said, my mindset was focused and I went into the race with only one goal: to push myself as hard as I could while monitoring my body along the way. Spartan had changed the course from last year (more obstacles and distance) so it was unfair to set a time goal for comparison.  I attacked from the start as I knew there was a long single track section after the first obstacle and I needed to have clear trail (since trail running is one of my specialties).

I won't go into extreme detail about the obstacles, the terrain, weather, etc. because I really want to highlight my nutrition during the race. I believe OCR nutrition can be all over the map so I want to share what a metabolically efficient athlete did during the race in terms of nutrition and how it affected me.

Here are my nutrition stats:

  • Total time was 3:51:47
  • Total calories consumed during the race were 500 (all in the form of Clif Bloks and Clif Shot)
    • 129 calories per hour
  • Total water consumed during the race was 20 ounces (water only)
    • 7.7 ounces per hour
  • Total milligrams of sodium consumed during the race was 690 (from Clif Bloks and 1 Clif Shot)
    • 179 milligrams per hour
Last year I carried a hydration pack and hardly used it so this year I went without it. I carried two sleeves of Clif Bloks in my pants and relied on water and other nutrition on the course.

Assessing how I felt based on what I consumed, I never had any energy lull or experienced undue fatigue throughout the race. No low points and felt "on" and powerful the entire race.

What would I change? I would have made an effort to drink more water at the aid stations since this race was at altitude (>7000 feet) but I chew gum which doesn't prevent dehydration but does stimulate the saliva response to keep my mouth moist. I may increase my sodium intake by carrying a few SaltStick capsules in a baggy with me next time but I didn't feel that I needed it. No swelling of the extremities and no other hydration issues.

In all, it was an extremely successful day from a nutrition and race execution perspective. I didn't have to carry much, I was smart in my pacing, my mindset was spot on and I managed to figure out most of the obstacles (I only missed three).  At the end of the day, I was rewarded with a 4th place age-group finish (barely missed a podium spot by 2.5 minutes) and 9th overall in the competitive category. 

It's only my second year in obstacle course racing so I will continue to fine tune my training, nutrition, and race tactics in the future so I can share with more individuals.  Five Spartans done, more to come!

Enjoy your week...

Coach Bob