Adventure Racing Training

Adventure Racing is a cross-disciplined sport that includes maneuvering through the wilderness on a course (without GPS) performing various physical activities such as: mountain biking, canoeing, rappelling, trekking, skiing, climbing, white water rafting, etc. Each race is different and includes various disciplines, which makes training a very grueling and specific task.

There are several different lengths of races: spring, 12-hour, 24-hour, multi-day and expedition. An Adventure Race can be done solo; however, most races include a two to five person team in which phases of the race will be completed by one to many of the team members. Just finishing the course is a massive accomplishment and a testament to the team.

In order to ensure you can successfully complete an Adventure Race, it is important that you have training plan designed to prepare you mentally and physically for the race of your life.

Type of Training

The first thing you will need to determine is what goal you have for your race. If you are a beginner, it is recommended that you solely focus on finishing the race. Work on your endurance, learn the ins and outs of each discipline so that you perform them properly, make sure you have the proper skills to survive and ensure you are mentally prepared to endure this grueling race.

If you have already done a couple of Adventure Races, you may want set up your training plan so that you are training more often. For beginners, you should be training at least three days a week, intermediate racers need to be training at least four to six days a week, while advanced racers should be training every single day. Do not neglect navigation because this can and will cost you a lot of time. Spend time learning the ropes of navigation and/or reevaluating how you have performed during past races. This is one of the most important aspects of a race.

There are three phases of training: base, build/peak and taper. Base training is all low intensity workouts to start building or increasing your endurance and physical fitness. The best exercises to do are anaerobic workouts which cause you to breathe really hard. These workouts will increase your body’s overall efficiency. Build/Peak training will focus on speed training to improve speed and resistance training to improve strength. Taper is the last phase of training and typically lasts about a week. This week is used to fully recover before the big day. Use this time to fuel your body with the proper nutrients and relax your muscles before the big race.

Endurance

Physical endurance is one of the most important pieces of Adventure Racing. If you cannot make it from point A to point B, then you will not finish the race. If your race is less than twelve hours, make sure that you can run a half marathon with relative ease and if your race is longer than twelve hours, make sure you can run a marathon with relative ease. Although you do not have to be the best athlete on the course, it is important that you have a nice endurance base to keep you moving along. Base training will help ensure that you are properly prepared for this test.

Base Training (10 Weeks)

During base training, a beginner should spend at least one to two hours each week training on each discipline. This means you should spend a total of four to six hours running, biking, trekking, etc. depending on the race you will be competing in. An intermediate racer should spend six to twelve hours total training each week and an advanced racer should spend twelve to twenty four hours each week training.

Base training will introduce you to each discipline and the skills you will need to complete them. As you become more comfortable with each discipline, it is important that you build on the skills and techniques that you have learned and incorporate that with endurance by adding time and/or distance. You must be able to do these disciplines for an extended period of time, so you need to be comfortable with all aspects. Right now focus on mastering the discipline, not your speed. Take things slow and steady until you are ready for the build/peak Phase which typically takes five weeks.

Build/Peak Training (5 Weeks)

During the build/peak phase of training you will be focusing on furthering your endurance and start to incorporate some speed and resistance training. Now that you have the right techniques down, incorporate some speed drills in with each discipline to start increasing your overall pace. Resistance training should be added a few times a week to start increasing your overall physical strength.

To incorporate some speed, continue to work out three to four days a week, four to six days a week, or every single day of the week in this phase. However, for example, one day of the week incorporate a tempo work out where you will perform a discipline for a set duration where you will perform the exercise for five minutes easy and one minute hard. One day of the week try adding in shorter durations of workouts at higher intensity paces. Also, as stated above a nice strength training plan twice a week or more will help improve your overall strength and capability to keep moving during a grueling Adventure Race. Make sure your resistance training includes your entire body, especially your core.

Taper (1 Week)

Tapering is an essential part of preparing for any race. You must recover and allow your body to fully rebuild and refocus before you jump into an intense race such as an Adventure Race. Tapering should last at last approximately one week. Make sure you are refueling your body with the right nutrients, so that you have the right amount of energy come race day.

Race Day

Training is now officially over and it is race day! Use everything that you learned during your training, take things slow and stay positive. Crossing the finish line will be one of the most cherished moments in your life. Enjoy the race and enjoy the moment! You deserve it!

Snowboarding For Beginners

Snowboarding has been around since the 1960s, but gained in popularity throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s. For years snowboarding was not even allowed in many resorts around the world because of its rebellious and dangerous nature. However, in 1990 the International Snowboard Federation was established building on the brand. The intensity of snowboarding was growing and even more kids and adults were taking up the sport making it the fastest growing winter sport. By 1998 it became an official Olympic sport.

Snowboarding is one of those sports that makes people feel good about themselves. It is a fun and adventurous sport that is outgoing and fun. Resorts have now built half pipes and freestyle parks specifically for snowboarders. This is an intense sport, but anyone can jump right in. You just need to learn a few tips and tricks before you hit the slopes sliding!! Be careful and follow these instructions to avoid injury and keep the enjoyment!

Clothing

Snowboarding is a winter sport; therefore, it is imperative that you dress appropriately. Although it is going to get warm once your body temperature rises, a base layer is appropriate to keep you nice and toasty. Use thermal or polypropylene because these two fabrics will keep you dry and warm by wicking away the moisture that you produce from sweating. Always use long sleeves and long legs so that that moisture can be soaked up.

You will want a second layer such as a jacket or sweatshirt, depending on the temperature. It is suggested that you wear a good pair of snowboarding pants over your base layer because they will keep you nice and dry from the snow and warm because of the insulation. Plus, most snowboarding pants have some added padding for protection from falls. Although not much, it is enough that you will want it.

Always wear a hat that covers your head and ears from the cold because that is what will keep your body temperature regulated more than anything else. Wear a beanie or a hat with ear flaps to keep the wind and cold isolated.

Gear

Boots are a no-brainer because you have to wear special boots that will clip into your snowboard utilizing the bindings that will keep you locked into your board. Make sure your boots are comfortable, do not rub, are secure from your feet up to your ankles.

Bindings are special attachments that connect your boots to your snowboard. They typically come in small, medium and large and then clasp to fit your boots. As you are learning to snowboard the hardest thing to understand is that bindings do not release. If you fall, the board goes with you. This is designed so that you can do turns, flips and air tricks without losing your board (just like a wakeboard in the water).

The snowboard is the most important piece of equipment. There are different types of boards depending on what you want to do: Freestyle, All-Mountain, and Splitboard. Each board is designed to match a specific terrain. Snowboards also offer a camber and/rocker to give riders more speed, turn capability and aggressiveness during the ride.

Goggles are a necessary piece of equipment, especially if you wear contacts or prescription lenses. These will protect your eyes from the snow, wind, ice, tree branches, miscellaneous objects and UV rays. It is highly important that you wear eye protection when you snowboard.

Gloves are another item that you should invest in so that your hands are protected against snow, ice, wind, and debris. It is also a good idea to have gloves that offer a bit of padding for those unintentional falls. Use gloves that offer a fleece lining to keep your hands insulated and warm. Make sure they are waterproof on the outside and are specifically designed or snowboarders.

As a first time snowboarder (or an extreme snowboarder for that fact) it may be a good idea to wear a helmet until you are relatively stable on your feet. It does not take much to get a concussion or a nasty gash on your head. Better safe than sorry in this case.

Bindings/Stance

The first thing you need to determine when setting up your snowboard is which foot will be forward. A regular stance is left foot forward while a goofy stance is right foot forward.

Some bindings are step-in, while some are strap bindings and some are cinch straps. Either way, to get into your board and bindings, set your board down flat on the ground. If this is your first time, it is recommended that you sit down on a bench or use something to hold onto to keep your balance. Put your front foot in first (make sure your board does not have any snow on it). Clip in, strap your foot into place or cinch your foot as tight as possible, but as comfortable as possible. Lock any buckles or levers and make sure your foot is comfortable, but cannot come out. Next, put your back foot in and repeat the process.

Always, always make sure you are perpendicular to a hill. This allows you to stand up, get your bearings and slowly turn your board in the direction of the hill or slope.

Standing Up

If you are just putting your board on or have fallen and are standing up again, this is a process that you need to understand how to do to avoid falling again or hurting yourself. There are three ways to stand up properly in a snowboard.

Thrust or Push-Off

Bend your knees, get your bottom as close to your feet as possible. Lean back and thrust forward as quickly as you can without going too far forward that you tip over the front. Use your hands on the ground to push you up.

Pull-Up

Bend your knees, get your bottom as close to your feet as possible. Using your hands on the edge of your board, pull your body weight up from the board. Try putting one hand back and pushing while using one hand on the board.

Roll-Over

The last method is to roll over onto your knees and push your body weight backwards to flip the board right side up using your hands.

Stopping

Stopping is one of the trickiest maneuvers, just like skiing. The way you stop is to bring the board perpendicular with your feet and hips facing outward so that you scrape the snow to slow down and come to a stop.

Falling

Having a fall plan will help alleviate injuries. Most injuries occur from putting your arms out and trying to stop yourself. The first thing you need to learn to do is make a fist, never put your hands out because you might break fingers or hyperextend wrists. A few tricks as a newbie to snowboarding are to fall forward onto your knees first and then your forearms to reduce the impact. Always try to keep your face up. If it is a harder landing and you are falling backwards, keep your knees bent and fall onto your backside. Make sure your chin is up away from your knees to avoid collision.

The Lift

The chairlift is always a little daunting to new riders. There are a few tricks to help you get on the lift without any issues. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Release your back foot from the snowboard.
  2. Skate over to the chair lift like you are using a skateboard, using your back foot to propel you forward.
  3. Get in line with the rest of the riders and skiers waiting.
  4. Once you are given the go-ahead, move in line for your chair. Make sure your board is facing towards the lift ramp (uphill). Your free foot will be on the snow next to your board.
  5. Look behind you to watch as the chair is coming around. Bend your knees to get ready to sit down.
  6. Once the chair is there, grab it and sit down. Your board should be sliding on the snow and then hold it straight as you head up the lift so you do not hit your neighbor.
  7. Most lifts will have safety bars that you can lower once everyone is sitting.

Getting off the chair lift is just as easy as getting on. Follow these steps for getting off the lift:

  1. If there is a safety bar, lift it up.
  2. Once you see the “Prepare to Unload” sign, start getting ready to unload by sitting slightly sideways.
  3. Point your board slightly up towards the sky so that you do not catch it on the snow.
  4. Once your board touches the ground, let it slide and slowly stand up, and push yourself away from the chair.
  5. Slide down the chair lift hill to come to stop and reset your back foot.

Tricks

Once you are comfortable with standing up, falling, the chairlift, etc. it will be time to try a few tricks. One of the fundamental moves for any snowboarder is the Ollie. The Ollie is a simple jump. In fact, to begin practicing this move simply stand at the bottom of a hill with your snowboard on and jump up and down. Balance is key to this maneuver. Any jump over an obstacle is an Ollie.

The Wheelie is the second most used trick, which is simply riding on one end of the board. Again this is all about balance and you can ride on the front or back of the board to complete the trick.

An Air to Flakie is a Wheelie done in the air. So once you have successfully mastered the two prior tricks, try this one in the air. It is an aerial 180 degree spin.

These are just three of a dozen or more tricks that snowboarders can jump into once they have balance and technique down.

Conclusion

Snowboarding is such a fun sport once you have the basics down. Use this guide as a way to learn the important how-to’s before you get too intense so that you avoid injury and stay on the snow while having fun. Enjoy your time and be careful!