Planning and Preparation For An Adventure Race

With only 1 week to go until the South Island Spirited Women and 6 weeks to go until Spirited Women North, now is the time to start thinking about the specifics of your planning and preparation. Some of you may also be pleased to hear that it isn’t too late to start training now (for the North Island Event)! But now means now! Stop procrastinating and start prioritising. You will enjoy the race so much more if you are well prepared and feeling ready.

Get specific

It’s likely many of you will have a good base fitness if you have been regularly training over summer, so now is the time to think about specifics.

The great thing about adventure races is the varied and challenging terrain you get to access. I can almost guarantee you won’t be running on the road or riding on the flats. This means you should replicate this in your training. Get off road if you haven’t already. The rougher the better, the steeper the better, the muddier the better, the more technical the better- you get the picture! The more you train in this type of terrain the more prepared and confident you will feel coming in to the race.

Start pushing the intensity

One of the quickest ways to quickly increase your fitness is to lift the intensity of your training. Start pushing your intensity in at least half of your sessions during the week. This will help build your tolerance to race pace.  You can do this by adding pyramids – one minute on, one minute off, two minutes on, one minute off, up to five minutes and back down. Do it once when first starting out and then up to three or four times on a long hill ride or run.

Practice your bike skills

Mountain biking is often a large portion of an adventure race, so it pays to make sure you have the skills and confidence to ride a variety of terrain and tracks- particularly hills and single track. You can lose or gain a lot of time in the mountain bike sections dependent on your skills and ability. Also practice your bike repairs, changing or fixing a tyre, fixing a broken chain or bent derailleur. Make sure your bike is properly set up for you if you haven’t already and that it has been recently serviced to pick up on any repairs that need doing in time.

Keep honing your navigation skills

Navigation skills should never be ‘ticked off’. Even the best of the best navigators are constantly working on improving their nav skills. Either get hold of a map of your area and get out with your compass or just identify the features, get along to some local orienteering events, or head into the bush and attempt to follow where you are on the map, or get some professional navigation coaching. All or any of this would help you do your best in the event.

Add weight to your pack

Many people train with their backpack and maybe their compulsory gear which helps, but one step further is adding extra weight, such as tinned food, lots of water or even rocks. The heavier your pack the better conditioned your legs will be and longer you will last. It will also make your pack feel lighter during the race and make you feel like you can ‘fly’ 😉

Organise Your Gear

Go through the compulsory individual and team gear and make sure you and your team have what is required. If you are not in one of the main centres you may have to wait for specific gear to be ordered in store or arrive in the post, so go over it now and make sure you and your team can tick it all off.

Go over your team goals

Now is a good time to revisit your team goals and see if they are realistic or if you could up the ante at all. You may have set your goals several months ago and it is possible you have improved  a lot since then, it is also possible that you have had some setbacks, so adjust your team goals accordingly to make sure everyone is on the same page. It is one of the most important aspects of a team- having a common goal!

Kym is a mum of 3 boys, 5, 8 and 10 yrs, trains and races in multisport and adventure racing (currently as part of Tiger Adventure NZ) and is passionate about nutrition and wellness. She is the co-creator and retreat leader at NZ Adventure Retreats and is part of the team that has won the Spirited Women Adventure Race long course for the past 4 years.

Kym along with Rach Smith (elite orienteer) from Navigation North and Nic Leary (elite mountain biker and physio) will be running a specific Womens Adventure Race Skills weekend in Hawkes Bay Feb 29th and March 1st to help with up-skilling in different aspects of the race and helping you become a more confident and competent adventure racer.

Contact or 0272500435 for more information or to register.