Season Prep

Season Prep

Season Prep

  • by
  • February 20, 2018

Many of us are starting to prepare for the upcoming racing season. The eager among us have already started.

When training for any endurance sport, it takes years to make any significant improvement, and be it an endurance sport, working on the aerobic system should be an emphasis of your training year round.

You don't necessarily need to run all year if that is your sport. You can take a break in the winter and pursue other activities like skiing, swimming, or biking. As long as you're aerobic you will continue to build a base.

In the sport of Obstacle Course Racing, one thing is for sure, it is aerobic and therefore an endurance sport by nature. Although their is a push by fitness experts to train obstacles and do HIIT based workouts, the truth is this a small part of the sport, so small if you think about doing a Spartan Beast you will probably only spend 10-20 minutes of the whole race completing obstacles then spending 2 hours plus climbing hills, running down hills, flat running and managing your pace.

Obstacle specific training is rough on the body. If you are scaling walls multiple times per week and crawling around the ground, it's not going to help you anymore than learning basic gymnastic skills or learning how to properly climb. Outside of that, for the purpose of completing obstacles, the biggest thing you need to work on is heavy carries. But most importantly the ability to recover after you drop the object and settle back into your running pace. Anything in excess of this such as reps upon reps of overhead pressing is probably going to increase your risk of injury and not help your performance.

How does nutrition change between now and when you start training harder? As activity increases you practice more specific workout nutrition principles, fueling before a workout, consuming fuel during aerobic sessions to train the body for races, and then following some stricter post workout recommendations. Outside of the season, your focus is to eat whole foods most of the time, and develop some discipline. Workout specific principles don't matter as much as long your properly fueling throughout the day. For example ensuring you are getting adequate protein for your goals. From my experience of reviewing 1000's of food diaries this is one area most people can work on.

Looking ahead, how many races are you planning on doing? It's easy plan a race every weekend. However if there is travel time involved it is important to recognize that you will get back too tired to prepare foods for the week. You muscles, tendons, ligaments, organs and even skin will be in recovery mode for a few days if not more. By the time next weekend rolls around you won't be a 100%. If the next race doesn't matter it won't be a big deal, however, if a more important race is coming up on the third week don't expect to impressed by your performance. You will not of trained or recovered properly for it. 

How long are you going to be competitive this year? The massive hormonal release that happens a race scenario or during tough speed workouts in a finite source. Some people can hang on longer than others but everybody will burn out unless they have the support team of Ivan Drago. Outside of base building it takes a good 6 weeks minimum to prepare for a race. Depending on your experience and physiology you may only be able to compete well for 2-3 months before you will have to take a break. For a lot of injuries that are due to impact (Broken bones, and sprains) I believe the ones who are tired physically and mentally experience them more frequently.

It's also alright to be competitive for a couple months then take the intensity down for 3-4 weeks or so then ramp it back up for another couple months. Being competitive all year round is asking for trouble. Don't be afraid to rest, reignite that fire then get back out there.

Of course all these principles depends on how serious you are. If you are not extrinsically competitive but are competitive with your past self, you might still want to take a close look at your upcoming season. If you're just out there to have fun and not push yourself too hard then go enjoy experience. But If you read up until this point, you probably would like to push yourself a little bit more to see where it takes you.

Outside of having the best training and nutrition program the most important items that will prepare anyone for an upcoming racing season is discipline, as mentioned early, and living a less complicated life. The discipline of prioritizing a regular training schedule, and having some control over the foods you put in your body will have more of an effect on your race results then any supplement or herb. I don't know how many times I am asked "what should I take to improve my performance?". Focus on the basics. Yes the basics are boring and hard. But it is the basics that build the base that leads to success. Everything else is gravy, and gravy doesn't taste good on its own.

Discipline is much easier when your life is less complicated. Today with cell phones and technology people are busier and more plugged in then ever. Don't expect to have time for your health if you are constantly creating unnecessary distractions.

In summary 

If you are training for endurance sport focus the majority of you're training around aerobic activities. Learn what you need to learn in terms of obstacle skill and skip the rest.

Develop nutrition habits pre-season. Experiment with what works best for your body, and apply scientifically backed principles in season.

Try to avoid too many race weekends in a row and a lengthy season. If you are starting to be competitive in April, make sure to take your intensity down in July in preparation for any races in the fall. Emphasize recovery as discussed in my previous article.

Develop discipline and uncomplicated your situation.

Good luck!

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Josh Stryde B.Kin (Hons), CSNN Holistic Nutrition Consultantâ„¢, Precision Nutrition Level 1, PTS

Josh has been working and educating in the fitness Industry for over 10 years. He has seen his greatest success by arming his clients with knowledge and allowing them to active role when working towards their goals. Without knowing why you are eating the way you are eating, or why you are following a particular workout routine it becomes difficult to stay consistent.

Spartan Team Canada 2017
Team PVL 2017/2018
20+ OCR podium finishes


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