You have signed up for an Adventure Race and are all excited about it. You’re waiting for the race day and wave off, but before all that you need to prepare and train- Preparation is the key to success. Whether you are a newbie, experienced adventure racer, or a fitness enthusiast who has done adventure activities, preparation plays a huge role in an Adventure Race. Crossing the finish line without any training is as good as a miracle. Depending upon your fitness level and the length of the race, start training ahead so that you are in good shape for the race. Here is a checklist of the things you need to keep in mind before you start your race.
1. Start Right- Select your race. If it is your first time, start with sprint races that are of 3-6 hrs. Then move on to 12-24hr races and then aim for expeditions that go up to 10 days. The skills required also increase with the length of the races, so it is wise to start small and then aim big.
2. Go Team- Adventure Racing is a team sport. The finish line can be crossed only as a team. As a result, the team plays a huge role in a race. The team should have a common goal, similar levels of commitment, physical fitness and skills. The members of the team need to work like the fingers of a hand, help and lift each other when the going gets tough. Expedition Adventure Races are vigorous, they will test you physically, mentally as well as emotionally. When you are running for days together with minimum sleep or rest, you might not be your best self at times. It is your team that will keep you together and keep you going. Getting together a good team plays a crucial role in how you perform at the race.
3. Know Your Race- Once you have signed up for the race, be aware of the basic info of the race- rules and regulations, registration date, wave off time, skills required. Go through the race handbook. Collect as much information possible on the race location- terrain, weather, climate. This will give you an idea as to how to prepare for the race and train accordingly.
4. Train Smart- Train smart not hard- Slow and steady is how you need to go. Training hard from the word go will burn you out and you may also end up with injuries. Pace yourself, understand your current fitness level and build on it to reach your goal. Build your endurance and stamina. A week before your race go slow on your training. Give your body a little rest so that it can perform its best during the race. Train as a team- it will increase your bonding and all of you will have similar levels of endurance and skills.
5. Build Your Skill Set- Make sure you have learnt all the skills of the race like kayaking, biking, navigation. Practice and hone your skills. Being confident about your skills will help you during the race.
6. Fuel Your Body- Eating the right food before and during the race is very important. You need the right food to build stamina and endurance while you train and to keep you going during a race. Make sure you eat nutrient-rich food when your training. Plan what food you will be carrying on you during the race, make sure they satisfy your stomach and tongue. Keep yourself hydrated.
7. Equipment and Gear- Be familiar and comfortable with everything you carry to the race. Season all the equipment from shoes to bikes. Do not use new equipment for a race. Getting used to new things can slow you down or can even cause injuries. Make sure you have used all the gear for a short while. Do not take overly used gear too- they might break or tear.
Every Adventure Race is different, ever-changing and an ongoing learning process. You learn something new with every race. It is an amazing journey where you learn new things about nature, yourself and your teammates. There are no set guidelines to prepare for an Adventure Race, it keeps changing like the nature in which you race in. The things that do stay constant are your grit to cross the finish line, your determination to push yourself beyond your limits, your adaptability in strenuous situations, your love for exploration and your admiration of nature.
Enjoy every aspect of the race and feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of it.
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