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Into the Wild - an adventure in life...

You feel the need for the great outdoors, the wilderness is calling, whatever your inspiration taking part in an Adventure Race is one of the bucket list events for most people. I am proud to be part of the IGO Adventures team who offer the most amazing

4 day events in stunning locations around the world, if you ever wanted to take part in an Adventure then these are the guys who can help you realise your dreams.

My advice is just follow your dreams and believe in what’s possible because the human body can do a lot with a good head on its shoulders, of course it helps to have a bit of tenacity, flexibility and adaptability along with a never say die attitude.

Both mind and body are inextricably linked: both are genetically determined to an extent but they can still be fine-tuned to benefit the athlete, Without the willpower, and mental strength, a well-tuned athlete will fall apart if their head space is not ready. Guts and determination are definitely more important than talent.

Think of adventure racing as a Buddhist sport: you have to deprive yourself. Of food, of sleep, of warmth, of comfort. You have to find your personal Zen Zone – a meditative equilibrium (it’s the only way to manage the pain and exhaustion and keep going). You’ll reach a higher plane. It’ll still hurt, but a higher plane nevertheless. You’ll contemplate – sometimes it’ll be all you can do. You’ll blank your mind. All you’ll want to do is sit under a tree and stop the world spinning. You’ll find a way.

And if you don’t, take my advice: take a HTFU* pill.

Getting fit for an event is in itself a way to tackle different disciplines push yourself in ways you didn’t believe you were possible but you will emerge knowing more about yourself and your capabilities than ever before.

So the objective of a training plan is to build a solid aerobic base in the three most common disciplines in adventure racing (run/hike, bike, and paddle). Also, because skill is a critical factor for performance, there is much direction toward building skills and training to reinforce skills.

You’ll also need to go into an adventure race with the right mindset. Part of that will come from simply learning about what adventure racing is.You have to embrace the adventure aspect to have the best experience!


You should certainly be able to comfortably jog/run at least 10 or 20km at a reasonable pace. Of course you’ll have to bike and paddle as well so if a 5km run leaves you spent, then you are not quite there yet. A key to running / trekking is to be comfortable on your feet in different terrain and conditions. You should also train wearing a pack, since a pack creates unique fatigue and balance issues. If you are already a runner then even better. You will allow more wiggle room for mistakes the faster you move. If you are a novice navigator then you will need to be a little bit faster. You will cover more ground than a good navigator because you will take less efficient routes, and you will spend more time looking at the map and not moving.

Mountain Biking

You should be able to comfortably ride 40-60 km without taking many breaks on a mountain bike.

You don’t need to ride particularly fast. Even an 15 or 20 kmph average on the road will cut it. Slower still on trails is fine. Biking in adventure racing encompasses all sorts of riding conditions from paved roads, nasty single track, bush whacking with your bike on your shoulder or crossing a raging river.

Be comfortable in all conditions, and as with running, be comfortable with a heavy pack on your back while riding. Most adventure races will involve a mixture of trail and paved road so you won’t need to be an expert singletrack rider.


In addition to training the individual disciplines, you should also think about doing some multi-sport training sessions. Run – bike combinations known as “Brick Sessions” are good to do as these will be the two disciplines you will be spending the most time doing in an adventure race. Ideally before doing your race, you will have undertaken one training session of at least 3/4 hours of fairly continuous activity.

Training your adventure racing skill set can be a lifelong process. There will always be opportunity for improvement for even the best adventure racers. Many beginning adventure racers are just starting to develop their technical skills, which is fine as racing itself is a great way to improve your skills, but there are some minimum requirements you should have addressed before attempting a race.

  • Orienteering – One of the most important skills for adventure racing is also the hardest to learn and master. It’s a good idea to go to at least one orienteering meet before doing an adventure race. If not, then make sure you understand the basic concepts of orienteering and reading maps and try to at least take a run/ride/hike with a map in hand and follow your route on the map. To some extent, most beginner adventure racers are also beginner navigators so don’t get too hung up on this. You’ll learn a lot in your first adventure race.

  • Trail Biking – Many people who own mountain bikes never actually take them out on a singletrack mountain biking trail. If this is you, you’ll want to consider doing so a couple times before your first adventure race. That way if the race does end up having some technical biking, you’ll be more prepared. To be fair, most races don’t have much if any technical biking if the race does end up having some biking that you’re uncomfortable with, simply dismount and walk the section which should be fairly small.

  • Bike Repair – Mainly you just want to know how to quickly fix a flat tire. This is something you can easily practice at home so no excuses! It’s probably good to know a few other basics like how to quickly get your chain back on the chain ring if it falls off.

  • Paddling – Essentially you’ll just want to be able to make your boat go where you want it to go and be able to not fall out or tip the boat or what to do if you do!

  • Nutrition – Over the course of a five to eight hour day, you’re likely going to be burning around 800-1000 calories per hour. No matter how much you take in, you won’t be able to replace all the calories you’ll be expending. That’s why your training program is important – so your body can become efficient at using fat as an energy source. You are also going to require some kind of electrolyte replacement and energy bars to replace those calories. Always use what has worked best for you in training; race day is not the day to try something new!

AuthorpaulucanfitnessPosted onMay 11, 2016Edit"Into the wild… an adventure in life!"

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