Adventure racing is a year-round sport, you don’t need the best weather, which makes it even more enticing to get involved in. No matter the season, this is a wonderful way to stay motivated and fit all year long. Ireland is a perfect destination for adventure racing - we have the landscape and the wow factor when it comes to location!
What is Adventure Racing?
Adventure racing is generally a multi-sport involving two or more disciplines, in most cases running, cycling and kayaking. This style of racing is about endurance and stamina more so than speed. The type of adventure race will vary from event to event with Sprint distances, Sport distances and Ultra distances.
What do I need to get involved?
There is no need to intimidate yourself with the thought of purchasing top of the line bikes, runners, clothing, etc. Remember there is an adventure race out there for everyone, yes even you! With the popularity in the sport you can get also access to gear at very reasonable prices.
You will need:
- Bike and cycling helmet - the type of bike will vary but a road bike will suffice in most cases. You should research your event to see what the smartest choice of bike is. If you do not own a bike but would still like to give adventure racing a try you can borrow or hire bikes.
- Runners - choose a pair you are comfortable with. You don't need top of the range. The terrain will vary from race to race and if you decide that adventure racing is your new obsession then it is good to invest in a pair of trail runners.
- Windproof jacket - any jacket that will keep the wind off and help you stay warm will suffice. There are loads of low cost jackets suitable for running and cycling on the market.
Additional Mandatory Kit:
- A spare bike tube and know how to change one – loads of guides on Youtube.
- Survival blanket and whistle - full kits can be purchased from your local outdoors shop such as this one from greatoutdoors.
You might also need an extra layer, buff or hat, gloves, water bottle or hydration pack – this will vary depending on the weather, the location of the event, etc so it is important you refer to the race information for whatever event you choose.
For the majority of adventure races in Ireland the kayak and equipment for this section of the course will be provided by the event organisers, so don’t stress this part.
Do I need to be fit?
You do need a moderate level of fitness to achieve an adventure race, but most people would be able to achieve the required level of fitness pretty quickly with some basic training. If you decide to take on an adventure race, you can pick one to suit your own abilities and build up over a number of weeks to achieve your goals.
You will need to train for an adventure race – you cannot just go from the seat to the summit!
Running - When it comes to running try to be patient with yourself. Preparation takes time but you will get there. Try and get out 2 or 3 times a week for a jog. Start off with 2km to 3km runs, including walking if you are struggling – you will surprise yourself with your progress. Join a club if this helps to motivate you and you will also meet new people who are in the same position as you.
Cycling - Get out on the road and start building on your endurance with a long distance with slow intensity. Try building on your weekly strength training as this will improve your performance drastically during an event.
Kayaking - It's not always easy to train for kayaking, but for anything more than 1km it is beneficial if you can at least get some familiarisation with the kayak and paddling techniques. This will take the fear out of this section. The kayak can often be the most enjoyable part of an adventure race. This simple clip may be useful.
Fuel Your Body
Nutrition and hydration is the key to your general performance. To work at your best you must provide your machine with the correct fuel. Letting the tank go low is risky business! Some general tips:
- Don’t test out a snack option on race day.
- Eat foods that are easy to keep down and that you have eaten before.
- Breakfast is key the morning of an event!
- Nutrition during the race should be tested out in training – if you are using gels or electrolytes make sure they suit you and don’t upset your stomach.
- Keep hydrated. There is an overwhelming amount of information out there on how much to drink or what to drink.
If you are thinking about adventure racing it means you are looking for more…more than just another 5km run, more than just a cycle! You don’t have to be an elite athlete for adventure racing you just need a desire to achieve your goals. Once you set a goal for yourself, whatever it may be, you need to make a plan on how you are going to achieve that goal.
The first step is to break it into into small achievable targets - can I run 5km and walk 5km? How long will it take me? Can I cycle 20km? How long with that take me? Once we know what the goal is then we can take it on.
Why Adventure Racing?
- Adventure racing gives a good mix which challenges the full body…including the mind.
- It is achievable for anyone who has the desire.
- We live in a fast paced world – adventure racing is a form of escapism, a time out.
- These races usually take place in locations of remarkable beauty. It’s a great way to visit an area and see it’s hidden charms, you won’t see these places sitting in your car!
- Adventure racers are a family, a community. Taking part in adventure races is a great way to meet new like minded people and make new friends. Adventure racers help each other, encourage each other. Yes there is competition, but more than that, there is compassion and comradery.
- Gaelforce have been to the fore of adventure racing in Ireland for over 10 years. Check out OUR events here and GET ADVENTURE RACING