Adventure Race? Yes YOU can! Modern adventure racing is an increasingly popular sport, having grown to become an international sport from its small and much disputed origin with the first running of the two-day Karrimor International Mountain Marathon in 1968.
Adventure racing is a team sport that typically combines three disciplines: trail running, mountain biking and some type of paddling such as canoeing or kayaking. Unlike a relay, teams of two to four people stay together the entire race, which can last anywhere from a couple of hours to several days. Most races require competitors to navigate checkpoints along the racecourse. GPS devices are not allowed. Races vary in terms of length, terrain and discipline. Traditionally, the night before or the morning of a race, competitors are shown the course map.
Adventure racing, with its requirements for endurance AND preparation/technical skills, makes a great sport for many people who are already proficient in a single discipline and looking to try something new. Many experienced runners, cyclists, and swimmers find great enjoyment from the cross-training opportunities offered by adventure racing.
If you’re hoping to compete here in beautiful Thailand, you are in luck because currently there are three separate annual events that offer a great introduction to the sport of adventure racing.
- Bangkok Challenge
- The Outdoor Unlimited River Kwai Trophy
- Sheraton Krabi Trophy (Win a fully-paid sponsorship for your team, click here for details)
Don’t let the 3 most common excuses for not joining an adventure race hold you back:
#1. I’m not sure if I can do it on my own – Arguably, the popularity of the sport rests upon its emphasis of two and four-person teams facing and overcoming challenges as a team.
#2. I’m not a super athlete so I’m never going to win – In a supportive and interdependent team environment the focus is on the successful completion of tasks rather than on crossing the finish line. Every new task in and of itself is a finish line of sorts. As each new task in an adventure race is completed a team not only learns and adapts to its strengths and weaknesses, but also gains confidence that can be carried into the next event.
#3. I’m too old or too young to compete – Adventure racing is a challenge at any stage of your life. Every age group in both male and female categories are well represented at most adventure races.
Win a fully-paid sponsorship for your team to the Sheraton Krabi Trophy Adventure Race on Saturday September 21, 2013. Click here for details on how your team of 2 can have the chance to win a prize sponsorship package worth over 12,000 THB.
If you’re planning to compete in your first ever adventure race, preparation is key.
Here are four great tips to help you plan for your first adventure race:
#1. Match your level of training with your race goals
Every person who lines up for the start of an adventure race has some kind of goal in mind. For many racers, just making it to the finish line (and avoiding the cut off times) will make their day a success. For others, their goal may be to improve on last year’s performance. For a few, the goal will be a top three finish. Regardless of what your goals are, now is the time to decide on them and set up a training plan to achieve them. The amount of time and effort you put into training for an adventure race depends on whether you’re just trying to finish or hoping to be competitive.
#2. Tackle your weaknesses first
For example, if you know you’re going to have trouble with trail running, set aside some training time with your teammate to go practice. If you’ve never paddled a canoe or kayak, then go and spend some time in one with your teammate, practicing stroke coordination as well as entering and exiting the boat. If you’re not comfortable swimming in water with your sports gear and full pack on, then go and practice. Spend the least amount of time training in the areas where you are already the strongest, and ensure you do all or most of your training along with your teammate. *Remember – Teams must carry all of the gear they will need throughout the race, so it is best to train while wearing all of the gear you intend to use for the race.
#3. Know your teammate
Make sure that you and your teammate have the same race goals. Be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of your teammates and make plans concerning who will lead during specific sections of the race. DO NOT do all of your training alone and meet with your teammate for the first time the day before the race.
#4. Know your body’s fuel needs
For short races (under 6 hours) you can get by on energy gels and bars. In longer races you will need to consider more options to fuel your body’s needs. Plus, after a certain point the energy gels and bars will really start to taste terrible and you will unwittingly avoid eating them, which will then cause you to perform poorly. WATER IS A MUST. Never neglect proper levels of hydration before, during, and after your race. As with everything else mentioned, practice eating what you intend to use on race day during your training sessions so that it becomes familiar and easy.
*Remember – You don’t have to be the overall winner at an adventure race in order to set and reach your personal goals AND have a fun time enjoying the great outdoors. Merely competing in an adventure race is considered a victory!