Training - by Nick Gracie
To complete the adidas TERREX event a decent level of fitness and technical skills will need to be achieved and we will be on hand in the lead up to the event to help out in anyway we can.
The amount of training you will be able to commit too will depend on your personal circumstances but like most things in life the more you put in the more you will get out. The training does not need to take over your life and at all times it should be a very enjoyable part of the journey in competing an expedition race. The more competitive your team want to be the more training will be required, it's normally a direct correlation between training hours and performance in an event.
As a minimum each individual should be doing around 5 hours training a week + a few weekends away with the team to practice working together and also longer sessions and a few night sessions. Your basic training should be 2 runs a week and 2 cycle sessions and ideally one canoe session.
Running / Trekking Training
The vast majority of the race will be off road and some it will involve big uphill climbs and technical downhill descents. Scotland is full of wonderful hills and you can expect to be going up and down a number of them, including a good number of Munros. At the start of the race and on many of the downhill and flat sections you should be aiming to run as much as possible. Running is the most important area in adventure racing and certainly the discipline where you can make up or lose the most time. You will not be running at all time however so it's also important to be able to trek between 14 - 16 hours. The event will have one large trekking section, which will involve mountainous terrain, different route choices, river crossings, and some of it will be at night.
A good typical weekly training guide would be:
- WEDNESDAY: 30 - 45 minute hilly run at a good pace or a flat out hill repeat session.
- FRIDAY: 30 - 60 minute easy run to keep the legs going during the week
- SUNDAY: 60 - 150 minute run carrying your race pack and ideally off road on a mixture or terrain with some hills. Practice eat and drinking while running and maybe take a map to practice navigation on the move too.
- MONDAY: Rest Day
On top of this a good long trek / yomp building up to 12 - 14 hours every month or 6 weeks. This is a great thing to do as a team as it is more fun but will also give you a chance to chat about the event and training and how you work and move together.
Mountain Biking Training
The mountain biking will be a mixture of forest fire trails, minor roads and single track with some technical sections. There will be some incredible riding with awesome views and a few iconic routes. There will also be a few areas where you may have to carry your bike but we will try to limit this. Your mountain bike is the only part of working machinery during the event so it is important it is in good working order and between your team you are capable of fixing most problems. The bikes will take a battering so it's important to carry spares and make sure you start the race with it in good working order.
For long adventure races I would recommend a full suspension bike as they provide so much more comfort and also are much better over technical ground. Obviously you can spend varying amounts of money on a bike but for an event of this nature you will need to think about a bike that is worth around £800 and upwards. Clip in pedals and tubeless wheels are other benefits worth investing in. 2 people in the team should have map boards on there bikes for navigation and ideally everyone in the team should have a bike tow (spring loaded dog leads are the most effective and easiest to use).
A good weekly training guide could be:
- TUESDAY: 45 - 60 minute easy ride to spin out the legs and maybe practice some fun technical sections.
- THURSDAY: 30 - 45 minute hard session either on a turbo trainer, spin class or a good size hill.
- SATURDAY: 90 - 180 minute ride on a mixture or terrain with plenty of off road.
On top of this every month to 6 weeks a long ride of up to 8 hours to get used to long periods in the saddle and again ideally meet up as a team to practice towing, drafting and riding together as a group.
Keep your bike clean and well maintained throughout and try and fix as many problems with it yourself to get familiar with bike maintenance.
The boats we will be using for the event are Canadian Canoes. The nature of the course, which includes locks and rivers, is best suited to this type of boat. Each boat will be a two man craft with single blade canoe paddles.
Training for Canoe is not as easy as running and biking and certain involves getting together with a team mate to practice properly. It may be better to have dedicated team days for canoe training and depending on your level of ability go on a course to pick up the correct skills. The canoe sections of the event will last for several hours so its important to get used to paddling a boat for long periods of time, keeping it in a straight line, working out what clothing to wear and also keeping your bum from getting too sore!
Ideally getting together once a week to paddle would be great but alternatively every month of 6 weeks have a good 4 - 8 hour paddle. You should get used to powering on flat water and steering through rapids and moving water.
The requirements for the event stipulate that one person in each boat needs their UKCC 2 star however we recommend that all have this qualification. The rivers we are paddling on are Grade 2+ hence taking on the UKCC 3 star training would be a great benefit.
Navigation is probably the most important element of adventure racing and moving in the right direction and minimizing mistakes as well as picking the best routes will have the biggest impact on your team's outcome. Navigation comes more naturally to some than others and ideally in each team you have 2 good navigators to share the work load. The best way to practice navigation is to spend as much time with a map as possible. Try and do as many of you run, bike and canoe training sessions while navigating. There are a huge amount of orienteering events running throughout the year and these are a great place to put your training into action. Navigation is a fine art and even the best make mistakes, the skill is miniminizings the mistakes and realizing quickly when you have gone wrong. Also navigating at speed and at night adds a further challenge. The more practice you can do the better and spending time looking at maps all helps.
Build up to the 2012 adidas TERREX race
January - April 2012: The first 4 months of the year are a great time to really build up your base fitness for the year. Try and get at least one team weekend in and maybe try a few races to start putting training into practice.
May 2012: The weather should be good by now with long days and a good time to start focusing your skills, training and kit on the adidas TERREX swift race.
June 1st - 3rd 2012: adidas TERREX swift race: This will be vital training and a great test and build up to the main event. It will be the perfect place to put all your training into practice and see how you work as a team in a race environment and for a long period of time.
June 2012: Take the rest of June easy to recover from the swift race and spend the time perfecting kit, learning from the mistakes you made and giving the body a good rest.
July - Early August 2012: Start conditioning your body for the main event. You should have a good base level of fitness by now so work on speed, technical skills and making sure you are totally comfortable with you kit. Ideally have another team weekend away mid July to bring it all together and have a good final long session.
10 days prior to the event: Start to ease off get plenty of rest, eat well and make sure everything is packed and don't leave anything to the last minute.