Obstacle Racing Q&A

The Best Pre-Race Foods, Race-Day Advice & More!

By Joe De Sena

Q: What are the best supplements/foods to have before the race to prepare and achieve maximum efficiency, and then what should you have after racing for recovery?

Elite level athletes eat very little the morning of an event as they focus on hydration and easily digestible simple foods. A lot of athletes must stop eating two hours before the start of a race to prevent “side stitch” cramping.

Non-competitive athletes who are not going to be racing at their peak heart rate and respiration can and should eat a bit closer to start time, and if they are going to be on the course for a longer time, should consume solid foods and electrolytes during the event itself.

Recovery is about food and bringing your hydration and electrolytes levels back to normal. It can’t be done all at once, so keep drinking and eating little amounts for a few hours after the event.

Obstacle Racing Q&A - The Best Pre-Race Foods, Race-Day Advice & More!

Q: Can you give some “day of the race” advice and tips?

Stretching is most important, and if you’re new to the variety of movements a Spartan race requires, stopping and stretching during the event can make the difference between smooth sailing and calf cramps or lower back issues.

Warm weather requires intake of electrolytes, if you are on course for over an hour. Consuming some form of electrolyte supplement can help reduce the chance of cramping, and help shorten recovery time.

A first-time mistake is thinking gloves will give them better grip, but, while it is nice to wear them crawling on the ground, bare hands will always be better for grip when wet for obstacles like climbing rope, or gripping monkey bars.

Q: I’m having a hard time choosing the obstacle course race I’d like to do. What sets Spartan apart from others?

Unlike most events, Spartan Race is a timed race with obstacles that are either skill- or strength-based. Fear-based, daredevil obstacles are not found in a Spartan race. It is officiated with the signature burpee penalty for not completing a obstacle. Spartan has done a good job of creating the challenge and fun of obstacle racing for the masses, getting them off the couch and doing what the human body was designed to do. Also unique to Spartan is the first wave of the day where the best obstacle racers in the world compete at every event. It is aimed at professional and serious athletes looking to win prize money, increase their ranking, or to post their personal best times.

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JOE DE SENA the co-founder of Spartan Race and author of SPARTAN UP! A Take-No-Prisoners Guide to Overcoming Obstacles and Achieving Peak Performance in Life. Spartan Race began as an obstacle race based on the extreme spirit of the legendary Death Race, and has become a multi-million dollar global lifestyle company in less than 10 years. It was voted Outside magazine’s Best Obstacle Race. In one year’s time he competed in the Raid International Ukatak in Canada; the IditaSport in Alaska; the Odyssey Adventure Race and the OAR Beast of the East, both in Virginia; the Raid the North Extreme in Newfoundland, the Adrenaline Rush in Ireland and the Discovery Channel World Championships in Switzerland. He resides in Vermont with his family. For more information, please visit www.spartanupthebook.com.

Race photo courtesy of SpartanUpTheBook.com