Adventure racing is gaining popularity among active people as a new way of testing yourself over multiple disciplines and terrains. We take a look at exactly what adventure racing is and why it's something you should try.
What is adventure racing?
Adventure racing is where outdoor sports meets orienteering.
Adventure racing is a multi-discipline sport which often takes the form of running, cycling, and kayaking however it can also involve other outdoor adventure sports such as horse riding, skiing, abseiling, white water rafting, and climbing.
Adventure racing can be done solo in some instances but is usually done as a team and involves not only the physical aspect but also the competitive aspect of having to navigate an unmarked wilderness route while searching for checkpoints. Races can last anywhere from 2 hours to 2 weeks depending upon the type of event.
What are the rules?
The biggest and most obvious rule is that you are not allowed to utilise any form of motorised travel, so no cars or motorbikes. If you get stuck and need to be picked up, that's your race over. Another rule in team adventure racing is that the team must stay together at all times, usually within 50m of one another. For example, if you spot a checkpoint but your teammates are lagging behind, you can't sprint off to go and get it, you must wait for your team. This is the heart of the adventure racing ethos.
Teams are not allowed any outside assistance, however it is actively encouraged to assist other teams if you see them struggling or in obvious danger. Finally, you must carry all your gear yourself and be fully self-sufficient for the entirety of the race.
Who can do adventure racing? Adventure racing for beginners
Anyone can have a go at adventure racing! If you have a love of the outdoors and want to explore, then adventure racing is for you. You don't need to be proficient at reading a map but you will need to navigate for yourself during the race. You do need to have a love of trying something new and getting out there but you don't necessarily need to be super fit and athletic to manage it.
Many event organisers partner up with bike and kayak hire companies so you don't even need to have your own mountain bike or paddle boat to take part. You can hire the equipment you need and pick up and drop back off at the event location.
Why do adventure racing?
If you have already tried your hand at sports like triathlon, trail running, mountain biking, or orienteering, you would love the challenge that adventure racing brings. If you feel uninspired by your surroundings, seek adventure, or just want an awesome story to tell in the office on Monday morning, then adventure racing is for you.
Adventure racing will take you to some of the most beautiful places in the world and is a great way to get outdoors into nature and help you make the most of your time there. It will develop your team-work skills as well as essential survival skills such as map-reading and wilderness navigation. Not only this, the feeling of accomplishment is like no other and you are sure to have a ton of fun!
Where to begin with adventure racing – next steps
Once you've decided that adventure racing sounds like an awesome day out, it's time to sign up for a race and do some training! Some of the best events in the UK are organised by Questars who host events in areas of outstanding natural beauty such as the Chilterns and the New Forest. There are also plenty of awesome adventure racing events in the US.
In order to train for an adventure race, you will want to make sure your fitness is at a good level and that you can run and bike for extended periods of time. Not only this, you will need to make sure you are competent carrying a heavy load as you need to carry all your own equipment and it would help to have some navigation skills – although not completely essential as many first-timers just get stuck in and see what happens.
So why not sign up for a race and get out there? It could be the best thing you ever do!
As summer fast approaches and the weather warms up, it's time to start adjusting your training and racing tactics for the heat. Follow these top tips so that you can perform at your best in hot, humid weather and finish safely in good health.
Don't drink only water
This is possibly the most important point on this list. We all know that we need to drink plenty of water when it's hot, however an increasingly common mistake seems to be drinking only water and potentially over-hydrating. Didn't realise that over-hydrating was a thing? It can be potentially deadly. News broke last year of a woman who was left in a coma after over-hydrating at the London Marathon. The mistake this woman made was that she only drank water and caused her body to enter a state called hyponatraemia. This is when your body's sodium levels are dangerously low and in this context is caused by replenishing water but not electrolytes or salts.
The best way to stay safe and healthy when running in the heat, especially if it is a long endurance event like a marathon, is to top up your sodium before you run and then keep it topped up by drinking a sports drink or taking electrolyte tablets. Team GB duathlete and Sundried ambassador Louise Douglass says, "practise in training with different brands until you find the best one that works for you." This is important as the race you do may not have the sports drinks or gels that you're used to, so sometimes it's best to take your own, especially if your race is in a foreign country.
Of course, you need to keep a safe balance between water and salts, so try to work out how much of each you need before you start. You could do this by doing a sweat test, such as the one offered by sweat experts Precision Hydration, to see how much salt you personally lose when you sweat and go from there.
Adjust your hydration and nutrition from winter training
If you live in the UK and have signed up for a spring or summer race, chances are you've done most of your training in very cold, windy, and miserable conditions. What this means is you will need to adjust your hydration and nutrition for the actual race and it may differ from your training as the amount of water your body required in December will be vastly different to what it requires in July and August.
Make sure you are flexible with your hydration and take extra water and sports drinks with you to the race just in case so that it doesn't come as a surprise on the day. Most, if not all, races will have water available so stay topped up but as highlighted above, don't be tempted to over-hydrate!
Wear a hat or cap
Wearing a hat or cap is a great idea whenever you're in the sun as it protects your head from the heat and can reduce the risk of developing heat and sun stroke. Not only this, wearing a white, fabric cap when you run can mean you can keep a wet sponge under it to keep your head cool and keep soaking it with water to keep your basal temperature down.
"I would recommend wearing a white hat for sure, I’ve found wearing it backwards with sunglasses on actually is best." says Team GB age group triathlete and Sundried ambassador Sam Mileham.
Reduce your pace and listen to your body
You may have been able to push your body hard during training throughout the winter, but race day might be a different story. Especially if you're not expecting a hot race or race day is unseasonably hot (something that can often happen during the big April marathons) you may need to reduce your pace. Even if this means missing out on a potential PB, it's far better to get to the finish line with a smile on your face than being carted off on a stretcher!
Team GB triathlete and Sundried ambassador Paul Suett says "listen to your body and slow your pace down if it’s feeling too hard. London Marathon last year was my toughest race to date, the heat was insane and took a lot out of my body. Throughout the race I constantly listened to my body to make sure I was running sensibly."
Ironman athlete and Sundried ambassador Jon Dixon says "If you know in advance that the weather for a target race is going to be hot, then acclimatise by running in conditions similar in the lead up, preferably start at least 2 weeks out." Team GB age group triathlete Ali Trauttmansdorff adds to this by saying "I trained a few weeks before racing in Mexico by training in similarly hot and humid conditions in Florida to try and replicate the conditions as much as I could. I deliberately went out for my runs at 10am instead of early in the morning so that it wasn't cooler."
It may be difficult mentally to take yourself out for a training run when conditions seem tough, but this is how to train smart and will certainly pay off on race day!
It seems a little insane how much the correct pair of shoes can change your workout, but if anyone has taught us that a pair of shoes can flip your entire situation over completely it’s Cinderella.
According to a study from the American College of Sports Medicine, 85% of individuals are using the incorrect shoes when they go out on a run. For the easiest way to avoid injuries and help boost your workouts, why not try getting professionally fitted for your shoes?
(Make sure you read to the end for a special gym and running shoes discount!)
The Importance of Wearing Proper Shoes
Let’s start off with something a little simpler, walking shoes compared with running shoes. It turns out that by wearing the incorrect shoes for your run, you could end up with extremely serious injuries.
The reason behind this is that when you walk, the weight is far better spread out on your feet than when you run. This is because your weight is more concentrated on your heels and they need to be able to absorb two to three times of your total body weight.
Walking shoes are designed to be more flexible, allowing for greater comfort during your evening walkabouts. However, running shoes are a lot sturdier and are designed to take much more pressure, thereby aiding in the protection against knee injuries.
These include knee dislocations, which I have experienced, or ankle tears, tears in your muscles or tendons, and even injuries to the bones themselves.
Which Shoes Should You Use and When?
With so many benefits to choosing the correct shoe, you may be wondering if you need a specific shoe for your CrossFit workouts as well. The answer to that is yes, you do.
When engaging in complex moves that require a lot of balance, CrossFit-specific shoes will aid in helping you to maintain your form. They will also help ensure that you have a higher level of protection when performing the workout and thereby reduce the risk of injury.
They provide the necessary support to your body, particularly to your joints such as your knees and ankles during your workouts, which is essential when ensuring the longevity of your health and safety against injury.
They are built to endure many, many CrossFit workouts whereas your average walking or running shoe may give out underneath the pressure and they are therefore a better investment of your time and money.
Added Benefits of Wearing Proper Shoes
A further benefit of wearing the correct shoes for the correct activity is that you will then be guaranteed to utilise your energy potential better thereby having more effective, efficient, and longer workouts with greater performance.
You can do that by wearing CrossFit shoes for CrossFit or running shoes for running workouts. A further benefit to wearing CrossFit shoes for working out or weightlifting is that they are more beneficial to supporting you than walking or running shoes.
Now you may be wondering what the main benefits of running shoes are, especially stacked against the comparative advantages of CrossFit shoes. Running shoes, especially those with soft mid soles, have an extra ability to protect you against the varied surfaces which you run upon.
The softer the midsole of your shoe is, the better cushioning you will have against the varied surfaces you are exposed to. However, the softest ones wear out within a few months.
Foot Injuries From Wearing Improper Shoes
If you are worried about knee injuries, having a proper running shoe is essential as overpronation or the act of turning your foot inside as you run increases the likelihood of your knee dislocation. Other problems linked to turning in of your foot are shin splints, foot ailments such as bunions, and plantar fasciitis.
The other problem with foot placement, is when you push your foot too far outward as you run, known as supination this accentuates stress upon on your joints, muscles and tendons.
Furthermore, running with this form increases the likelihood of knee injury. Apart from that, running with the correct running shoes will also provide greater grip against a variety of surfaces and aid with protection against the various elements.
What About Fashion?
Finally, you may find yourself wondering about something that only really runs across your mind once you enter the fitness apparel store or surf for options online - shoe style.
Well, you will be more than happy to know that both running shoes and CrossFit shoes are made for the style conscious gym-goers in mind. They usually need something that is both functional and gorgeous enough to motivate them to want to get into the gym.
If you’re wondering what the best rated CrossFit shoes are, here are some of the best. Nike Romaleo 3 and New Balance Men MX409V3 Cross Trainers are great options if you are hoping to get the most investment per dollar spent. If, however, you are hoping to make a long term investment and are looking to spend a little more, then there is the Reebok CrossFit Nano 5.0 or the 7.0.
Moving on here are some great running shoes for your consideration, one on the lower end of the price spectrum is the New Balance Fresh Foam Zante v3, or the Hoka One One Challenger ATR3 and for the fashionable out there how about the Brooks Ravenna 8 or perhaps Reebok OSR Harmony Road.
Barefoot running and training is a growing trend as it promises to prevent injury and strengthen muscles that are usually neglected. By training in barefoot shoes, your feet are closer to the ground and therefore you gain a slight power advantage in your lifts.
Barefoot shoes can be great for CrossFit as they provide a stable base and you will be able to feel the floor beneath your feet which is great for stability in heavy lifts. Not only this, they're very versatile so you can then do rope climbs in your barefoot shoes, transition to a quick run, and then transition to skipping or jumping.
Enjoy an exclusive discount on Sundried's men's and women's barefoot shoes using code KICKS for a huge 50% off and take your CrossFit training to the next level.
Now, For the Workout
You may be wondering which type of workout is best for you, what type of physical exercise will motivate you and engage you, what activity best suits your unique preferences and personality, well there is a test for that.
You do not have to limit yourself to one type of activity or simply the sports or methods of training that everyone around you is doing. As an individual, you can benefit from trying something different.
Who knows CrossFit might just be the best thing ever for you? Therefore, when planning on beginning an undertaking such as CrossFit, make sure to invest in the correct tools and clothing for that particular fitness niche to protect yourself during the activity and to have the most effective workout with the greatest amount of energy conservation as possible. Therefore, I humbly decree it is time to go shoe shopping! I know I can’t wait.
About the author: Sarah writes for Kicks Choice. She is passionate about workout activities and she puts great importance on maintaining leg and foot health as well.
In 2014, Becky reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in record time. The former sailing instructor talks to Sundried about extreme sports and ultra running.
Have you always been sporty?
I run, cycle, swim, play tennis etc. because I enjoy it. I grew up in the country, surrounded by fields, so spent a lot of time playing outside as a child. My wonderful mother ferried me to endless activities: gymnastics, horse riding, tennis, dance. I was ok at sport but never remarkably good, but I enjoyed being active.
When I was 18 I took a year out and went to Africa. With limited access to swimming pools or tennis courts, I started running. My first runs consisted of laps around our tiny back yard and then I graduated to exploring the surrounding areas. By the time I came home, I was hooked. I slowly extended my runs over time until a friend suggested I enter the Great North Run half marathon. In 2009 this became my first ever race.
From your first half marathon, you’ve gone onto partake in many more sporting events, which is your favourite?
Absolutely nothing beats leaving the roads, the cars and the crowds and heading out on a great trail running race. I have met some amazing people and made some great friends during trail races…an odd concept to a triathlete I’m sure, but during long running races, part of doing well has to be enjoying it and keeping each other mentally strong. And that’s true even at the top – Kilian Jornet is famous for waiting for the runner in second place so that he has company during a long race!
When are you next competing?
I have signed up to a 'secret marathon' which will happen at some undisclosed time in an undisclosed location this autumn. I like this concept as it appeals to my somewhat relaxed attitude to training schedules/carb loading/ race prep. You just turn up and get on with it. The Trans Gran Canaria Ultra Trail (125km and 8,000m ascent) in 2017 is the next race I'm really excited for though.
Talk us through your training regime.
This changes every week depending on how I feel, what my other plans are, and what I want to do. I have been a student for the last year so it’s been particularly changeable. I took advantage of not having to be in London and spent long weekends running in the Alps, the Lake District and Wales. Now I’m back in full-time employment it will look a little like this:
Running: most days, sometimes twice a day. Some days I will run 2 miles, other days 20. It really depends on where I need to get to and what else I'm doing. I will very rarely go three consecutive days without running though.
Cycling: both to get around and for pleasure, although I don't get out as much as I would like.
Swimming: I go through phases. When I do it, I will usually swim 50 - 75 laps of a 25m pool two or three times a week.
Tennis: usually at least once a week
Gym classes: somewhat sporadically I attend spin, high-intensity circuits, and a high energy dance class done in darkness with glow sticks - I'm embarrassed to admit I really enjoy that one.
How do you balance your training and a social life?
My friends are now used to me turning up to everything in my running kit. I also do less heavy drinking and more nice dinners out these days, that way I can socialise and still enjoy the next day...whatever that might bring.
What other extreme races have you completed?
I've had two big challenges since I ran up Mount Kilimanjaro: the North Down's Way 100 (104 miles of running with an elevation of 3026m) and Lavaredo Ultra Trail (75 miles with a 5805m+ climb).
The first almost broke me. The only thing that kept me going was the thought that if I finished, I would never have to run 100 miles again. It reminded me that I have so much still to learn about running, which in turn reminded me why I love running so much. You can always improve, you can always run further, faster, stronger. And I am, of course, currently researching my next 100-miler.
Lavaredo was a triumph of lessons learned. It was, dare I say it, easy. Eating made all the difference. (It turns out running an ultramarathon on fruit alone is not a very good idea!) Sticking with friends also made the miles fly by. I am planning on going back to Italy to run Lavaredo again in 2017 as this year we didn't race it so much as just complete it and I know I could shave a good few hours off my time.
Why work with Sundried?
Sundried have set themselves apart from other sports brands by committing to delivering to athletes for whom exercise is part of who they are; for people who run, cycle, climb, walk so that they can explore. This fits perfectly with my ethos. Additionally, the clothes are so beautifully made and ideal for supporting my activities. And, for the cherry on the top, they are all made from responsibly sourced material!