Whether it’s your 1st or your 21st adventure race, you might benefit from these simple tips that can make all the difference when it comes to ensuring that race day runs smoothly.
1.Get a full body NCT
It is always tempting to ignore those niggles, aches and pains. However, it is often these small niggles that turn into long-term injuries, which will start to hamper your performance. Visit an experienced physiotherapist and ask for a full body once over. Addressing the niggles will result in more effective training, fewer injuries and a better performance on race day.
2. Join a club or round up some training buddies
It can be difficult to motivate yourself to head out for a run or a cycle. And it becomes infinitely more difficult/near impossible to do so when the weather isn’t playing ball. Sign up for a race with buddies so you have training partners or join a running, cycling or triathlon club. Making the commitment to be in a certain place at a certain time will help your fitness and enjoyment levels.
3. Focus on your weakest disciplines
Because adventure racing incorporates kayaking, running and cycling, it definitely keeps things interesting when it comes to training. However, we are all guilty of allocating the most amount of training time to our favourite discipline. Commit to improving your weakest area over a period of time. Draw up a training plan that allocates a little bit of extra time for that discipline and focus on improving your technique. We also have great training plans on our website for you to download. You might even surprise yourself as you become more competent in it as it can become your favourite part of the race.
4. Get your gear just right
The right gear doesn’t necessarily mean the most expensive kit. But it is crucial to select the items that are right for you. You will need a couple of key items for an adventure race. These include a bike, helmet, trail runners, backpack, waterproof jacket and some good quality layers if you are racing or training in the colder months.
When it comes to the bike, those with an infinite amount of cash are at a definite advantage as a good bike certainly comes with its benefits. However, even if you’re not loaded, a visit to your local bike shop with your current steed for a few simple tweaks and upgrades can really make a difference. First, your local bike shop can make sure that all of the bike’s components are working correctly. Secondly, a professional bike fit session will ensure your saddle height, handlebar reach and lots more are set correctly for your height. These minor tweaks can prevent things like knee and back pain and make you a more efficient cyclist. Making the transition from runners to clipless pedals can also make a big difference to performance.
When it comes to the rest of your kit, it is all about choosing wisely. Train in the gear you intend to race in as you really don’t want to find out that your runners give you horrific blisters an hour into an adventure race.
When it comes to buying good kit, it can be a good idea to visit a specialist retailer who can offer guidance on buying the right piece of kit. While it can be a little more expensive initially, it will generally prevent you from buying ‘great value’ gear online that isn’t really fit for purpose.
A lot of us are guilty of adopting the more is more approach when it comes to training. And, yes, there is some merit building up lots of miles in the legs prior to race day. However, over-training can lead to fatigue and injury. Less can be more when it comes to training.
Look at your week ahead and identify the best times to train. Then plan your sessions in advance. Think about the race you have signed up for –length, terrain, disciplines – and incorporate them into your training plan. If you are entering Quest Glendalough, for example, you will want to incorporate hills into your training regime. Speed and strength work are also a great way of maximising the benefits of your sessions.
Always factor in some recovery time too, allowing your muscles time to repair and recover after a tough session. Plan some easier sessions into your schedule or mix it up a little bit by incorporating a swim or gym session.
6. Race day prep is key
Make sure that all of those hours of hard training don’t go to pot by turning up on race day unprepared. Take some time in the lead up to your race to check out the race map. Familiarise yourself with all of the different stages and prepare yourself for any big climbs or trickier sections that lie ahead so they don’t catch you out.
Make sure you eat well prior to the race. Keep your food simple and try to stick to what you would eat before and during a long training session. Avoid the temptation to eat double the volume at breakfast as this might leave you feeling sluggish during the race as your body works hard to digest it.