Strategy and tactics for a successful race
by Marcsi M. Fekete • Aug 7th, 2023

Is strategy or tactics more important for a successful race?

We are already in the second half of the year and there will be only one stop (Valcianska Dolina 2023.09.23 Beast) of the CEU regional series. After three stations, the chance hunt is still going on in the different age groups. The competitors who will enter the "ring" for this title this year have probably been following a specific strategy since the beginning of the year.

It's quite cliché, but as many houses, as many habits, that is, as many competitors, we can come across as many strategies and tactics.

Of course, strategy means a planning process, during which the athlete and his coach try to develop the most favorable "fighting style" in order to achieve some long-term goal. In other words, these plans are prepared before the start of the season, in which the exact goals to be achieved are formulated.

A strategy, on the other hand, can be of many types:

- During the general strategy, the areas to be developed are defined. Everyone has a weak point, we know exactly which is the obstacle for which more preparation time needs to be spent, or which area needs to be developed by resorting to other methods. For me, this is the slack line and the spear.

- On the occasion of the preparatory strategy, major competitions are added to the calendar, the year is built around them, as if it were an Olympic preparation plan. You define your main competitions, because if you have 50 competitions in a year, you cannot push all fifty at 300%. You need to be able to prioritize! For me, the A B C D category has proven itself quite well in 2021 as well. The CEU stations represented the A category, the B category included the races that were not so important, but I wanted to finish with good time, the C category included the tests intended for training and the D category were the have fun races.

- The operational strategy is a bit narrower. Here, a general competition plan is developed, which provides a good basis for every competition. Competitors can reach the set goal through the implementation of the tactical tasks directly in front of the competitor. The organization of the competition is also a decisive part. And in this part, we see the answer to the question in the title, that strategy cannot be sharply separated from tactics.

The tactic is the set of possibilities for the joint execution of the action applied in order to achieve the goal prevailing in the competition itself. In other words, the tactic is for a specific competition. This year, the penalty system has changed in the life of the Spartan, giving the competitors more tactical options. I'm not saying that it wasn't possible to use tactics until now, because I myself remember how it was when the burpee was faster than completing the obstacle. (for me, this was the muddy, wet rope climbing)

Well, we would think how easy it is to use tactics, but not everyone can do it. Many athletes have to be taught this, the central goal of the training here is to develop the ability to make decisions.

We can use tactics when we are individual competitors, but the Spartan Training Group teams also develop many strategies and tactics for sure success. How exciting it can be when a competitor fills both roles on the same day. In addition to his individual competition, he is also a main man in the team competition.

What can a tactic be?

Individual tactics:

It mainly depends on the abilities listed above, where the competitor himself, as a decision-making system, competes with another competitor who also has his own sport-specific and general skills and decision-making abilities.

I am sure that everyone knows exactly who the big opponent of their age group is (because we are neither rivals nor enemies!) And yet, what individual tactics would you use in order to succeed? Active or passive? Maybe mixed?

With active tactics, you can force your opponent to take action that will be beneficial to you. For example, if you run at a variable speed, and he can't follow it, or he gets tired sooner.

A passive tactic is a predetermined initiative so that the opponent makes an active move at the right time for you, from which you can benefit. Mixed tactics include both active and passive tactics.

Team tactics:

A team is a higher system that must combine individual tactical skills to a higher level. When creating a team structure, it must be taken into account that the players are among them

through an existing relationship, they are able to influence each other's performance both positively and negatively. Since the 4 fastest running STG team members are included in the results of the winning teams that come out of the STG races, we can say that according to this point of view, it is not necessary to designate the team members. However, setting up a precise strategy and tactics is facilitated by the exact definition of the team members.

Pre-race tactics

we can determine it on the basis of the experiences gained from previous competitions, the peculiarities of competition and competition organization, situations, individual skills, abilities and characteristics.

For example:

At which point on the distance do we start the hairline (it is easier to plan this part by making the maps public before the race)

Tactics during the competition:

Tactics during competition are the result of external influences. It is important to recognize this, interpret the competitive situation, and know the opponent.

If someone is an explosive finisher, but his opponent starts with maximum intensity according to his own tactics, a competitor who is good at finishing must also increase his performance. It is possible that later on you may not be able to catch up or it will cost you too much effort, but the distance difference should not wear you down mentally, but you cannot take over your opponent's style either, because your strength and hair will fail, and thus your opponent will be in a better position, who will last all the way push the distance with almost the same performance.

Of course, it doesn't matter what distance you race at. A completely different tactical system is built on a Spirnt, a Super and a Beast, not to mention the Ultra distance or Trail races. As long as you can't break away from your opponents to a large extent in the shorter distance of around 5 km, you can think about it differently on this Beast.

Tactics during the competition are therefore about the dynamic adaptation of the tactics before the competition, about the optimal "tactics - group" that ensures victory in the given situation

The development of tactical literacy is also facilitated by the exchange of experience with the best, even through a joint training session. It can be useful for young people to talk and exchange ideas with athletes who are more experienced than them. At such discourses, young people can not only actually learn about the various tactics, but also perceive and apply them in practice.

But let's not forget that strategy or numerous tactics are worthless if we are unprepared. If we are not in a suitable psychological state, we stress, we neglect mental preparation, we are unmotivated, we do not allocate enough time to the areas we wish to improve, we are unable to handle unexpected situations, we have not developed our focus of attention and we cannot exclude external distractions.

We play a very complex competitive sport. Anyone who really wants to reach the podium of the CEU Regional Series has to work in many areas and all this work and discipline will pay off at the end of the season.

Our contestants said:

"On the climbs, where it's very steep, I try to solve the upgrade, then I always take the pace back anyway and push it to him on the downhills. Before the more difficult obstacles, such as: twister, balance, javelin, beater, I blow before I start. When I get close to my opponent, I don't run away, I keep up with him and if I know that the end is near, I speed up and try to get in front of him by a hair's breadth."

Vivien Kardos, AG Women 18-24

"The level beasts do well for me, but I can only warm up quite late, so I don't start at the beginning, but when I catch up with my opponents, especially on the uphill, I try to run past them with such momentum that they don't think to take over my pace and I know well, that it can quite break a person in the head."

Renáta Bíró, AG Women 45-49

I try to stay focused from the beginning to the end of the races. When approaching the festival area, I always have the next obstacle in mind while running, so that I don't make any unnecessary movements. In such cases, I only focus on myself, completely shutting out the outside world. Still, the encouragement and support of the audience can give a big boost, as for example now in Vác. Most recently, at the last 3 obstacles, I managed to overtake 4 competitors who started in my race, two of whom were in my age group, which resulted in a silver medal. Stay very focused and always trust yourself.

Vilmos Haramura, AG Men 35-39

The first thing I look at before races is the level chart, that it is worth dividing the effort, because if the race starts with a big climb, it is unnecessary to start at a high pace, but if it is a short and less level course, then you can run as much as you can. After analyzing the level plan, I will attach the obstacles, how much it takes away your strength and how it is worth allocating your strength. If at the beginning of the race there are mostly planks and beams, then you don't have to reserve so much for them, but if there is, say, a skill at the beginning, it's not worth getting there at a high pace because you can easily spoil it. I even consider the opponents, whose skill is what, and God forbid, what's wrong with him, and I know if he's right in front of me, then where I can catch him.

If something unexpected comes up, you have to make a quick decision even during the competition. Let's take the simplest example, the Multirig, it can be solved in many ways, I always use the dynamic method because it requires little force and is a safe technique, but if we get there at the same time with a competitor, then you have to change tactics, you have to go quickly and with strength, it is true that there is a mistake here possibility, because it is already assumed that the body is exhausted by that time, but in this case one tries to get a better position.

György Honti, Elite Man

successful race

M. Fekete Marcsi Spartan Brand Ambassador Hungary

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