The beauty of an adventure race is that it’s not just the race which is fun and rewarding, it is also the build up, the learning and the social get togethers with your team that is a big part of your race journey.
Now that we are back at level 1 in most of the country many events are back on the calendar and are a great way to practice and train with your team as a build up to your adventure race. Start working on your different race skills and have some fun adventures with your team. Some ideas on how to get the most out of your team training…
1. Go on training missions with your team
This is where you learn each others strengths and weaknesses and how you are going to work best together. A good team is one that supports each other, builds each other up and knows where their teammates might struggle and is able to help them through. It’s also more fun than training alone!
2. Train your weakest discipline.
It’s so easy to head out for a run if you’re a runner or a ride if your a mountain biker, but where you’ll get the biggest gains (and overall team benefit) is if you train in the area you are not so strong at. For a lot of women new to adventure racing this is often technical mountain bike skills. However it can also be technical running skills. Adventure races usually take you off the beaten track over uneven, lumpy, bumpy, steep, muddy, bushy terrain. It’s surprising how much time your team can lose if someone isn’t confident moving through or over such terrain. If one person in your team is stronger in a particular area, have them plan a session for the rest of the team to upskill.
3. Get into the hills
What many people often neglect is time on and in the hills. Adventure races are never flat! It is ideal if you include at least one run and ride in the hills each week. Better still if you can get onto farm tracks or 4WD tracks this will often be quite specific to what you’ll encounter in a race. Time in the hills can be a fun weekly mission that you plan with the rest of the team. If your team is spread out over the country try to find a few others who are training for the same or similar event to buddy up with and get into the hills together.
4. Practice navigation constantly
This is a must if you want to do well and enjoy your race experience! There is no point being the fittest, strongest team out there going the wrong way! Navigation is a skill that is built up over a period of time and needs to be constantly worked on. Join and support your local orienteering club and get to as many of their events as you can. It is also good practice to print out maps (nztopomaps.com) of your local area or where you train and get a feel for running and riding while recognising features. You could also find some local trails in the hills or nearby bush and print out the topographical maps for that area. Take them along with you on your team training sessions and try and follow where you are at all times on the map.
5. Practice running, riding and navigation at night
This is often an overlooked skill. You could be starting in the dark or finishing in the dark or possibly even in the fog. Many teams don’t prepare for this as they think they are fast enough to finish in the daylight hours, however you only need a mechanical, an injury or a navigation error to take you into the darker hours!
6. Attend a nav clinic or AR skills course
There are some great training courses specifically geared to up-skilling for adventure racing. Navigation North runs a series of navigation clinics to help you with your map reading and compass skills and Rach (from Navigation North) and I have teamed up with Nic Leary (former XC Mtb Champ) to offer an intensive weekend course where we share what we have learnt over 30+ accumulated years of adventure racing in one condensed weekend which includes navigation, mountain bike skills, race planning, race gear, training, race nutrition etc and put it all into practice. A great way to fast track your learning.
To find out more on the upcoming skills weekends go to:
Adventure Race Skills Weekends:
Kym is a mum of 3 energetic boys, 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 (NZ elite orienteer) from Navigation North and Nic Leary (NZ elite mountain biker and physio) will be running a specific Women’s Adventure Race Skills weekend in Kapiti November 28th/29th and Auckland Feb 12th/13th to help with up-skilling in different aspects of the race and helping you become a more confident and competent adventure racer.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 0272500435 for more information.