done it. You're on a team, registered for an adventure race and ready to take
the next step. Planning a realistic and structured training plan is as important
as showing upon race day. Like many sports, if you develop and follow a realistic
and well-structured plan, you will enjoy the journey and reap the benefits of
An adventure race, unlike a triathlon,
is unpredictable. No one team will complete the same course. There are variations
in navigation, weather and distance. Because of this, one needs to train for the
endurance to keep moving for 24 hours straight or even several days at a time.
It is a rugged kind of fitness. It is about stepping out of your comfort zone
and challenging your mind and body to work with whatever crosses your path. The
key is to be strong enough to adapt and keep moving.
Planning a training program for an adventure race is a fun and creative process.
You get to include a variety of sports and exercise and it is very specific to
the race you've selected. It is a little like building a home. And if you let
itâ€¦it will take you back to your childhood in a heartbeat. It is important to
start from the ground up. The first step is to build the "foundation" to train
your heart, lungs and muscles for the time and intensity of the event. A strong
foundation will provide the structure to bare the distance, time and elements
of the race.
Although the disciplines vary from race
to race, a solid training program should include running, mountain biking, rowing
or kayaking, strength and flexibility, and hiking/trekking. It sounds like a lot
to put in every week but there are ways to incorporate all modes efficiently.
What may seem overwhelming soon becomes a refreshing way to use your fitness as
you train differently every day. Plus, the element of mystery regarding the course
will keep you motivated and inspired.
stage of training should concentrate more on building endurance and less on intensity
or speed. It will allow your body to move efficiently to the next level, specificity.
Once the foundation is strong it is time to add specific elements of the course
to your training plan. For instance, running or trekking on hills if the terrain
will be rolling. Trekking with weight in your pack for hours. Spending the time
on your feet with a simulated race pack (everything you will carry on race day)
will prepare you for what it will feel like during the event. Find out as much
information on the terrain as possible and then simulate it in your training.
Kayaking or paddling on lakes or rivers. Running on grass or sand to strengthen
your legs, ankles and feet. Training with your teammates. Training through the
night to experience sleep deprivation. Learning how to work with ropes for rappelling
and climbing. If animals are involved, get on them and ride them. Mountain biking
with a full pack. The key to this stage is to be creative and have fun with it.
The one element I completely overlooked when attempting to complete The Fix was
getting time on my feet. You will be trekking for hours with weight on your back.
I made it through the race but my feet resembled the Elephant Man during the post-race
party. Prepare your body now and it will work with you on raced day.
Once the house is built it is time to accessorize or fine-tune your training.
This includes practicing the sports that you are LEAST experienced at. Developing
good technique can save you hours on the racecourse. Whether it is paddling, navigation,
climbing, riding or transitions, practice will further prepare you and your team
for the challenges that will come your way.
the key to being a successful adventure racer is being a good generalist. The
joy of this sport is that you can have average skills at a lot of sports and still
do well. What is better than that?