14+ miles of grueling trail running and 35 unforgiving obstacles in less than 3 hours. The Spartan Race US Championship Series & 2nd place Elite Woman finisher at the World Championships gave us the inside scoop on what it takes to be one of the best Obstacle Racers on the planet. These are the 7 days of Lindsay’s nutrition and training while on the road to North Lake Tahoe.
Keep in mind this is different from my usual daily regimen, since we’re on the road and preparing for world champs. Usually I’ll eat a bit differently because I’ll have my home fully-stocked kitchen. Training will usually involve more volume and intensity, but since it’s the week leading up to one of the biggest races of the year, I wanted to rest up. This week of training was also following a week and a half taper. Before the taper I was putting in really big hours and training, getting myself in peak condition for World Champs.
Day 1 – Sept 24:
- Breakfast: Two eggs and a piece of toast with honey (I love honey). We are in the RV our friend lent us for a few weeks while we’re getting acclimated to altitude, in a lovely mountain valley of Colorado. Experienced some reluctancy to get out of bed since the heater was broken and it was below freezing, so I read a chapter of my book and was brought coffee in bed by the world’s best husband (Ryan Atkins, OCR Champion)
- Training: Went for a 2 hour easy run with Suunto on some rolley mountain single track, finishing with some double-sandbag and bucket carries (ouch). Had a long stretching and rolling session.
- Snack: A smoothie (mixed berries, banana, coconut milk, Greek yogurt, and a dollop of peanut butter). (Here’s a great BeetElite Smoothie Recipe)
- Suunto Dog Date: Went to town with Suunto, where we met his wife (a beautiful female malamute! She played hard-to-get while Suunto smothered her with over-eager zealousness. He’s got some learning to do in the dating department), and I bought a few books and explored outdoor stores. Met up with Ryan, back to the RV, and relaxed while working on some social media and blog posts. Snacked on a salad.
- Dinner: Roasted chicken, cinnamon brown sugar sprinkled acorn squash, and pomegranate-pear salad with walnuts and goats cheese.
Day 2 – Sept 25:
- Breakfast: Coffee and oatmeal for breakfast. BeetElite 30 minutes after. (Check out Lindsay’s Pre-Workout BeetElite Elixir)
- Training: Run during which I put in an effort of thirty 30-second over-unders (30s above threshold, 30s at tempo) up Crested Butte Mountain, for a total of 1h run. Stretched, and ate some yogurt and fruit, then drove to Boulder.
- Dinner: Arrived at our friends Andrew’s at around 7:30pm. He made us an amazing dinner of grilled veggies, chicken, and sweet potato, and we drank half a dark beer (last one before the big race).
- Beers: We all love creative porters and stouts, and with Colorado having so many micro breweries’ there are tons of yummy options, but we had to decline Andrew’s offer of another graham cracker chocolate porter. I find too much beer affects my performance, and I don’t like to drink much before a big race.
Day 3 – Sept 26:
- Breakfast: Woke up at Andrew’s and made eggs and toast for breakfast (Ryan and I’s typical morning food!), with an amazing latte from barista Andrew (he’s a coffee connoisseur).
- Training: Andrew tested out some new camera equipment while filming Ryan and I doing sandbag carries, bucket carries, and spear throws. Ryan and I hit the road and headed to Boulder, where we went indoor rock climbing until our grip strength was fried. We did a strength session together at the climbing gym (core and lower body), then I did a half hour spin on the stationary bike.
- Recovery: Stopped for the night in Wyoming, where we did some rolling and an ice bath before bed.
Day 4 – Sept 27:
- Breakfast Tip: Woke up and went for breakfast at the diner next to the hotel. Sometimes it’s hard to eat healthy on the road, but Ryan and I are pretty careful to pick healthy options, especially before a race. We ordered veggie omelettes.
- Training while on the road: Drove for a few hours before stopping at a trail off the highway near Salt Lake City. Went for a 45-minute run with three faster 1-minute strides throughout to shake out the legs (decreasing the training volume dramatically now, since the race is so close), and did some lateral agility exercises (great for injury prevention) and stretching.
- Whole Foods for Lunch: Stopped at another Whole Foods for lunch, where I got a big salad, then we continued driving all the way until Lovelock.
- Night walks after long day of driving: Went to a Mexican restaurant for dinner, where I ate shrimp tacos, then checked into our hotel. Went for a nighttime walk with Suunto before bed to move the legs a bit after all the driving.
Day 5 – Sept 28:
- Breakfast: Ate some oatmeal for breakfast, with coffee of course!
- Gear stop: Ryan and I tackled the last few hours of our drive to Tahoe, stopping at a Patagonia outlet along the way. Grabbed groceries just outside Squaw Valley, then hunted down a steep uphill trail to run up for my last hard workout before World Championships.
- Training: Tabata workout, where you sprint as hard as you can for 20 seconds, then stop or walk for 10 seconds, for 4 minutes (8 repeats). Then rest (walk/jog) for 3 minutes, and repeat twice more for a total of 3 tabata sets. If done properly, you should either not be able to finish or barely make it. Then ran back down the trail to the car and did a big stretch. (Lindsay’s Injury Prevention Routine for Runners)
- Air B&B’s: We then checked into our Air B&B and I tackled some computer work while recovering from the workout and chugging lots of water. Then I put away our groceries, clothes and such, and made dinner (6oz rib eye steak, spaghetti squash “pasta” with avocado-pesto sauce, and a big garden salad). Had a big old rolling session with some tea before bed!
Day 6 – Sept 29:
- Breakfast & Blogging: Eggs and toast for breakfast! Tackled a bunch of social media, blog articles, etc.
- Always make time for friends: Our friends Corinna Coffin and Kevin Righi came over and we hung out for a few hours. Had some of last night’s leftovers for lunch, with rosemary ciabatta bread, then met our friend Sean Ingram at a café nearby. Hung out with Sean for a few hours, then went back to our Air BnB.
- Restless Rest Day: Since it’s a rest day, Ryan and I were getting a bit restless, so we took Suunto and our spear for a long walk, practicing our spear throws along the way. Corinna and Kevin came back over for dinner, and we made fajitas then watched the Predator (much to Corinna’s dismay), and decided that Arnold Schwarzenegger would make a fantastic obstacle course racer. Our friend Jesse Bruce stopped by with some other Canadian teammates, and we had a hot tub and hung out until bed!
Day 7 – Sept 30 (pre-race day):
- Race Day Jitters: Woke up with pre-race day jitters. Ate my usual eggs and toast for breakfast with some fruit salad.
- Pre-race Day Easy Run: The day before a race we typically run easy for about 30-45 minutes with some strides (1-1:30min sprints). Had a long stretching session, then ate some of last night’s leftovers quickly for lunch.
- Feeling like a pro athlete: Headed to the venue for our schedules NBC interviews with Spartan. After those, we hung with some friends in the village before heading to the drug test briefing, points series awards, and athlete panel. We were pretty hungry after this wrapped up, so went home and made vegetarian pasta for dinner. (Check out Lindsay’s Pasta Recipe)
- Relax & Race Gear Check: Did a bit of rolling, then laid out all my race gear for the next day. Then Ryan and I watched a bit of TV, trying to calm our nerves and take our minds of the fact that one of our biggest races of the year was the next day!
Day 8 – Oct 1, Spartan World Championships!
Read Lindsay’s full race recap below: