• The Night Before Your Spartan Ultra: Last Minute Tips And Tricks To Get You Through The Race


Compiled by: Katie Purcell


The Spartan Ultra in New Jersey is tomorrow. YIKES! Some of you are stoked, and others are completely freaking out. 

At this point, there's nothing anyone can SAY or teach you to make you feel more prepared. The time for training is over...the time for mental preparedness (and Drop Bin preparedness!) is now. We have compiled a list of final/last-minute tips and tricks for "Ultra success," based on the thousands of posts and threads we have seen over the years. Some are timeless tried-and-true methods, some could be potentially race-saving, and others are just hilarious.

In the coming weeks we will post a more comprehensive/thorough article with top overall Ultra tips and suggestions based on best practices and veteran expertise, but for now we wanted to give you "Ultra Beasts" a little fun reading for the evening before your big day. Give it a read, have a laugh or two, and take a deep breath! You're gonna do great. 

Katie Purcell aka Pretty Fierce Spartan Ultra Medal from New Jersey Ultra Beast


    • Tapering: you better be doing it! Real Talk: there is ZERO you can do to realistically improve any of your fitness or skills in the last couple days, and showing up on race day feeling sore is not a good way to start. Trust the training you've done up until this point - and if you don't, then accept the fact that you're gonna have to work with what you've got 😂
    • Hydration: this should always be priority when you're training, but especially in the last 1-2 weeks before race day. 
    • Double check you've got everything packed that you need - including the stuff you might not think of like headlamps or glow sticks or anything required by the race.
    • Cut your toenails.


      • In the words of the great TJ Theis: "It's just a 50k-ish mountain race with some bullshit thrown in to ruin a good trail run. Don't panic and don't overthink it."
      • Ultras are just as much of a mental challenge as a physical one - you need to resolve in your mind that you WILL finish this race and not second guess that.
      • Do not focus on other people or their relative placement in the race compared to yours. This is YOUR race. You don't know how they're pacing or what their strategy is, or what their fitness level is, or if they're about to bonk in 2 miles. Focus on YOUR race only.
      • Stay positive
      • Know that it's going to hurt, and that's okay 
      • Get a personal mantra (or 3) to help you push through the low points
      • Remember how LUCKY you are to be healthy and strong enough to be able to pursue something like this "for fun." Remember to feel grateful for your health and remember all those who wish they could do something like this but can't. You might be questioning some of your life decisions right now, but at the end of the day you are lucky to be able to try to push yourself to your limits and see what you're really capable of...some people don't have that luxury or will never get that chance. It's all about perspective!  


        "It's just a 50k-ish mountain race with some bullshit thrown in to ruin a good trail run. Don't panic and don't overthink it."

      - TJ Theis


      • EAT - but make sure you eat enough in advance of the race to be able to digest. (Rule of thumb: give yourself 1.5-2 hours to digest. More on that in our article on pre-race nutrition needs here
      • Stretch 
      • Poop. THIS IS IMPORTANT. 💩💩


      • Relatively extensive article covering what to put in it here 
      • For Lap 2: pre-pack what you anticipate you'll need and place it on top of your stuff in the Drop Bin so it's easy to find/grab-and-go


        • DO NOT TRY ANYTHING NEW IF YOU CAN POSSIBLY AVOID IT: this includes tactics, strategies, methods on obstacles, pacing, gear/clothing, nutrition, etc.
        • PAY ATTENTION TO THE SIGNS. The race is hard/long enough as it is...don't make it worse by missing a turn and adding mileage (or worse, accidentally cutting the course and getting DQ'd)
        • Just keep moving. Run when you can, walk if you have to. Anytime you walk, ask yourself if you could be walking faster.
        • Pacing: Keep in mind that Lap 2 will likely take you longer than Lap 1 for multiple reasons, including the fact that you'll be freaking TIRED and also that the course may be more crowded during your second lap.
        • Use Lap 1 as a kind of "recon" to mentally note the course layout: where you can run to make up time, where you should walk to preserve energy, etc...this will help you feel much more prepared for Lap 2 and will help you to conserve your depleting energy.
        • Hydrate and fuel regularly: even if you don't feel thirsty or hungry. Think of your body like an engine: when it is running, it is constantly using fuel and so it will need to be replenished to keep going. BUT imagine that you can only add fuel to the engine via a tiny funnel, because the engine can only take in a small amount of fuel at a time. This is the same thing as how your body can only absorb so much fuel at once, because it is also expending energy to keep moving. 
        • Stay ahead of your hunger, thirst, and cramps. If you notice you feel hungry or get a cramp, you're already in trouble! 
        • If all else fails, remember: You don't have to be able to outrun a bear. You just have to be able to outrun whatever other racers are with you 🐻😂


        • Don't linger: get in and out ASAP
        • This is NOT a place to rest. Think of it as nothing more than a glorified water station. There will be times when you'll be super tired and worn out and NEED to stop for a rest on the course, so to compensate for that possibility, do NOT give yourself an arbitrary rest at the transition area. Imagine if you were in the middle of running a marathon, and there was a bench on the side of the course. Would you sit down and rest just because a bench was there? NO! The race is ONLY HALFWAY OVER! 
        • **Caveat: If you NEED to rest at the Transition Area because you think it'll help your mental preparedness, go for it. But keep in mind that there's a REASON why veterans say the Transition Area is where Ultra Dreams go to die.
        • Cute tip/idea: ask family/friends/etc. to write you some notes of encouragement and place in a sealed envelope in your Drop Bin for you to read in between laps, if you're having a tough time 

        "There are many forms of 'winning' in our sport. For some it's chasing down the podium. Others it's achieving a goal you've set out for, overcoming a previous failure, or reaching a height you never thought was reachable. Lastly it could just be a fun day in the sun for some. No matter your reasons, take the hits, move forward, and remember...Time stops when you stop. Goals stop when you stop. Dreams stop when you stop. Never quit! Never stop! Best of luck to everyone out there this weekend. Go get that buckle! See you on the hill." - Tony Martinez



        Don't stop: get it get it. You'll know at the finish line. Do your BEST and leave it all out there on the field, and then eat ALL THE CARBS.


        A final piece of advice from Spartan Pro and Ultra World Champion Josh Fiore:

        "So let go of your doubt. Keep moving no matter what. Enjoy the moments, and no matter what the result, learn from this event and become both a better person and athlete."


        ...We couldn't have said it better ourselves. AROO!



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