Im Luke Coyle from Dublin. I work in the Great Outdoors and I am taking on my first adventure race in Quest Glendalough.

At the beginning of March, I took a personal plunge and signed up for an event which I never imagined ending up doing: the Quest Glendalough Adventure Race.

I wasn’t worried or nervous; in fact I was rather excited and looked forward to the challenge. However there was only one obstacle in my way that sparked a lot of questions for me: the training.

I am not an endurance runner, nor have I ever participated in an event such as this, or any event for that matter. I took it upon myself to start asking around and research about how to approach training for such an event like the Quest. In the end I went for the easiest yet most useful option, and checked the Quest Glendalough website. Through here, you can access multiple training schemes. These schemes are specifically designed for every level of fitness, ranging for complete beginners (like myself) to plans suited for the more experienced adventure racer. I picked the plan best suited to my experience and got straight to work.

The first couple of weeks of the training went quite smoothly. Due to the fact I am a football player (or soccer player, whichever you prefer) the concept of running or cycling wasn’t entirely new to me. I eased past the first two weeks of the training comfortably. It is suggested that a participant should try to train on trails, but I found this a bit too difficult due to the fact that I work full time. Instead, I settled for a local park in Ballybrack, as well as Killiney beach. The general area of my hometown is covered in hills, which also aided my preparations for any uphill runs I’ll encounter on race day.

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A mysterious encounter while on a cycle through Kilbogget Park.

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 Cold, wet and windy… Perfect.

As we draw nearer to race day, the training has been getting tougher as one might have predicted. The hardest parts of it all are the days where I go cycling and running non-stop. It feels like I’m using certain muscles in my legs which I’ve never used before. I also found it difficult to pace myself on runs, especially on the longer ones. Knowing the average time the distance of five kilometers is ran, its difficult telling myself ‘’you don’t need to break yourself trying to beat times; just finish it’’. However I have quickly accustomed to it, and I feel that my overall stamina and fitness has grown significantly over the past eight weeks.

The two main keys to my self-evaluated success are consistency, and more importantly, recovery. To any readers that are fellow beginners in the world of adventure racing, I recommend that you make use of your recovery time; get an extra hour of sleep, eat well and don’t over-work yourself. Combine good training with good recovery, and you might just find that you are fitter than you once thought.