So, you want to try Adventure Racing (AR) but you’re wondering how to best prepare for it. What is a good AR workout for beginners? In this article, I’ll discuss five easy and effective AR workouts. These training tips will prepare you for your first AR experience, helping you get the most out of the event and yourself.
Practicing for the one-day (or shorter) adventure race
As the ultimate endurance sport, AR can seem intimidating at first. The truth is, it’s not. Basically, an AR course is completed using at least two or three different ways of moving. The subtlety of AR lies in the combination of three disciplines: mountain biking, running, and paddling. All are endurance sports.
How do you train for AR? While endurance and skill in each discipline are important, AR training is not complicated or difficult. With simple exercises, you can develop good endurance and a solid base to participate in your first AR event.
Training for a 3 to 4-hour adventure race – 5 adventure race training tips for beginners
Whether you’re an experienced or novice AR participant, the training exercises are similar. All athletes train for all AR disciplines regularly—only distance and duration vary. The more experienced adventure racer you are, the longer training you can do regularly.
For beginners, the most important thing is to learn good skills, as well as to build endurance. If you’re preparing for your first adventure race, try the following workouts.
1. Multisport Workout
This is the most important AR specific training. The main point of AR is that the discipline changes several times during the race. Disciplines can change in any order and the stages can be of any length. As a beginner, running after mountain biking is hard, if you hadn`t train that earlier. So, your body needs to get used to quickly changing disciplines. For this reason, one of the most important adventure racing tips for beginners is combining two or more disciplines in one training session.
How do you combine different training in practice? You can cycle to the trails at the right distance with a backpack. Then, trail run a suitable loop and return on your bike. Or, combine disciplines by utilizing paved roads, gravel roads, and parks. Do whatever works best for you.
Paddling can also be combined with other disciplines. For example, you can run or cycle to the paddling site, then paddle and return home on foot. More simply, you can go jog first, then come back to home and change into cycling gear and go cycling.
The purpose of training is to get your body comfortable with each discipline. Exercise duration for each discipline depends on your level. For example, you can do 30 minutes for each discipline or, with greater endurance, two hours. AR training also provides experience in changing equipment and how to pack your running vest. It is also important to learn how to run with a backpack.
2. Long and easy paced workout
Long exercises can last for hours, even all day. However, they are easy in pace. It is not recommended to perform excessively long exercises often. You can acclimatize your body to longer exercises by gradually increasing their length.
Before your first adventure race, it is a good idea to do a training session that lasts almost the length of the event, but at an easy pace. If your target is a 3 to 4-hour race, do a training session almost as long.
It’s easiest to start long training with your strongest discipline: cycling or walking. Compared to running, it is easier to recover after cycling and walking. The strain on your feet will be lessened. Whatever the discipline, the main idea is to keep training easy pace. Always maintain good hydration and keep your energy level stable. Take a short coffee break between long training, for instance. The long training is also intended to test nutrition, like sports drinks and energy products. Also, test your gear, including your backpack and safety equipment, and make sure you know how to use them.
3. You get the most out of paddling training
Unless you have a paddling background, paddling training will provide the greatest benefits. If you’ve never paddled, it’s definitely worth doing. In fact, improving paddling is the easiest of all disciplines. Novice paddlers can see significant improvement in one or two training sessions. That’s why this is a great workout and one of the adventure racing training tips for beginners. Taking a paddling course is a good way to get familiar with it.
4. Train with your team or group
Fourth adventure racing training tip for beginners is team training. Since AR is a team sport, it’s important to train as a team. Plus, training together is a lot of fun. Training together is more comfortable and also gives you an idea of your fitness level. If you don’t have a team, don’t worry. Make a workout date with a friend or find a group of runs on Facebook.
5. Can you really swim?
You don’t have to practice swimming for a regular one-day adventure race to get faster. It’s about security. While many people think they can swim, in reality, their skills may not be sufficient.
You don’t have to be a competitive swimmer in AR. You must be able to swim for your own safety. In addition to paddling, you can meet over water crossings. You need to be able to swim with your shoes and backpack on. That’s why it’s important to have strong basic swimming skills. Take this into account as an adventure racing training tips for beginners.
+ Regular training
All exercise is important when building your endurance. Commute regularly by cycling or running. Or, go for a run at lunchtime. When done regularly, this counts as AR training. It is better to do five one-hour training sessions than one five-hour training session per week.