Adventure Racing Training Tips|
A Training Program is a set
of goals that you design to prepare yourself for an event. The event is the
ultimate goal, and the training program represents a series of smaller steps
that lead up to the event. I subscribe to the theory that we need about 16
weeks of training to properly prepare for a race that is 24 hours long, or
shorter. If you plan to do a race longer than 24 hours, then you should design
a program that involves the entire year. Your training will also be affected by
your personal goals. Do you want to THRIVE or SURVIVE. A training program
should include four different phases; Base phase- skills and endurance; Speed
phase- race specifics; Taper phase- recovery; Race phase- the event, gives you
feedback on the effectiveness of your training.
Besides race selection,
goal setting is one of the most important topics you will need to decide about.
Whether you choose to THRIVE or SURVIVE, your choice will affect how you will
set up your training program in terms of volume and duration. It will also
probably affect your current lifestyle. You will need to evaluate your current
lifestyle and determine what changes, if any, you are willing to
Goal setting can be broken
down into two parts; the first part is dreaming the goal, and the second part
is planning the steps to get to the goal.
In dreaming the goal you
have probably witnessed, in one way or another, an adventure race that has
intrigued you. You have probably heard about the high numbers of participants
that don't finish. This is a part of the challenge, and a big factor that might
keep you from doing an adventure race is fear, or fear of failure. Your first
goal should be to overcome your fear, and give yourself the opportunity to find
out what you can do. You will not finish 100% of the events that you don't
start. Once you believe you can do it, the journey will begin.
In planning the steps to
get to your goal, start small and build up from there. The training plan is a
series of steps that build on each other, leading up to the event. Everyone
will need to design their own training plan. A plan has to take into
consideration the starting fitness level of a person, their time available, and
their ultimate goals.
I will give you some basic
building blocks that you can stack up to create your own set of steps. To
begin, you need to have a starting line, and evaluating your personal situation
will show you where to start..
Some of the questions you
should ask yourself are:
- What do I want to
- How do I want to do
- How long do I have
before the event?
- How much time in the day
do I have?
- What skills do I
- What skills will I
- What are my
- What are my
- What is my current
Answer these questions,
and you will have an idea of where to begin. Try to include all your aspects;
physical, mental, emotional, and mechanical.
The Training Plan - 16 weeks total
The whole idea of a
training plan is to show your body what it is expected to during the event. You
will practice the sports involved, and show your body the skills. Then you will
show your body the duration and distances that you will be using those skills
for. Then, you will strengthen your body, and work on speed. Eventually you
will work your way into the race specifics, and show your body the environment
and the terrain that will be encountered. At first a 16 week training plan
might sound like a lot. It looks more doable when we break it down into smaller
steps. These steps, or phases of the training plan are; Base phase- skills and
endurance; Speed phase- race specifics; Taper phase- recovery; Race phase- the
event, gives you feedback on the effectiveness of your training.
Phase - 10 weeks
The base phase is the
beginning of your training. This is when you show your body the sport and the
skills. In adventure racing, there are many skills needed. In a 16 week
training plan, you should use the first 10 weeks for the base phase. So
depending on your starting point, you may have more or less skills and
technique to learn. You should adjust your plan accordingly. Give more time, if
you need to learn more skills.
In the beginning of the
base phase you should concentrate on learning the skills. As your technique
improves, you can gradually build the distances and volume that you train with.
The next part of the base phase is to build your endurance up to the distances
that will be in your event. Here again, depending on your starting point, you
may require more or less time to build up to the distances. Adjust your
training plan accordingly. Remember that during this phase your pace should be
easy. This phase is for endurance, you will build strength and speed in the
Phase - 5 weeks
During the speed phase you
will build upon the endurance and technique that you have developed in the base
phase. In the beginning of this phase is when you show your body the resistance
that will be involved in your event. This is also when you increase the pace of
your training to show your body the speed of the event. Towards the end of this
phase is when you incorporate the specifics into your training. If your event
is in the hills, add some hill repeats. If it is in the sand, train in the
sand; if it is at altitude, train at altitude. Remember to take steps, and
Phase - 1 week
The taper phase is for
recovery. This is when you allow your body to rebuild it itself. Gradually drop
off the distances, the resistances, and the volume. Taper off the training
until just before the event. This also allows your body to refill its energy
stores. Taper is about maintaining the gains you worked for in the base and
With adventure races, there
is usually travel involved. You will also need the time to pack and prepare
gear. So the time you have in this final week will naturally be limited.
This is it! This is when
and where all the hard work pays off. Remember, that if you believe it, you can
do it. Take the time after the race to evaluate your performance. This will
give you the feedback you need to create your next training plan. Work on your
weaknesses, and build on your strengths. Use what works, and do something new
for what doesn't. When you select your next event, start all over and make a
new plan.Contributed By: Jack Crawford
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