With Adventurethon Magnetic Island just under five weeks away, we caught up with Townsville’s premier adventure racing athlete Sam Stedman to get some valuable training and preparation tips in the lead-up, and hints for race day. These insights will come in handy for any competitive event you’re training for.
It’s not too late to sign-up: We are just under five weeks out and if you decide to make this event your target goal then you need to start specific training. So while you may have been focusing on the gym and other activities to build general fitness, you now need to incorporate run, ride and paddle. Having a general fitness base does help, but if you’re just getting started after a period of inactivity or injury, the shorter Taste event gives you a good achievable goal to work towards.
IN THE NEXT MONTH
- Run, ride and paddle at least once each during the week with a longer session on the weekend where you combine two or three of the disciplines.
- It’s important that if you’re considering buying new toys, do it now, not one week out. You need to get it now and get it dirty for the start line.
- Focus on all parts of your training – there’s no point in putting in the physical training if your equipment or nutrition lets you down on the day.
- It will be hot and humid on Magnetic Island so don’t be afraid to train in the heat.
- If you’re doing the longer events, develop a race plan and include when you plan to take on nutrition and hydration – seek expert advice if you need to. Then practise it.
Learn to paddle the boat you are going to use, with the paddle you are going to use, in a variety of conditions. Get confident that you can paddle in all weather and get back into your boat if you come out. Ocean paddling is more to do with technique than fitness – if you can nail technique, you will naturally go faster. A tip to save energy on the paddle is to learn to wash ride [following close behind the boats in front so they have to push through all the wash and you get the energy-saving advantage], and practise it in the lead-up.
There are only a few short sections of single-track in Magnetic Island Adventurethon so – while you can practise on Under the Radar and the trails at Douglas for skills and handling, my advice is to train mainly on hills – go up Castle Hill and some of the elevations around Yarrawonga. Yes, there is a ‘hike-a-bike’ section, but it’s only a small percentage of the leg. However, it’s worthwhile practising how to carry your bike so that you are confident, comfortable and efficient on the day.
Learn to run tired, because the run effort is at the end of the race when you’re buggered. Time your runs so they are at the end of the day or week. Running requires more energy than the other legs AND it’s last, so you need to be prepared. Practise beach running and trail running.
THE WEEK BEFORE
- Do a pre-race run through the week before – it doesn’t need to be the full course or even on the island, but just something at lower intensity so you can check your gear, nutrition and fine-tune your race plan if needed.
- In the week of the race do one-hour each of running, riding, and paddling. Also focus on hydration and looking after yourself with extra rest to give your body the chance to recover. By mid-week you should be starting to feel ready for the race.
- With the shorter Taste event on Sunday, you can still be out there practising right up until the day before – make sure you are comfortable with the boat, have done the distance, and you’ve paddled in waves.
ON THE START LINE
- Be confident in what you’ve done. Don’t stand there and stress that you should have done more or done something differently – there’s nothing you can do about it now. Just think, “I’m ready and I’m happy with my ability”.
DURING THE RACE
- It’s now a matter of putting all three legs together. If you’re doing the longer races, you can’t go out all guns blazing in the paddle and expect to do the same in the others, so pace yourself.
- It sounds simple, but stick to your race plan – this is what you have been working towards and it’s tried and tested.
- Savour the moment and smile for the cameras.
- Make sure you use the hydration formula and nutrition you plan to use on the day during your training.
- If you’re doing the Taste event, staying hydrated will be your main concern. Being a shorter event, you may be able to get by on breakfast alone, but if you plan to take your time make sure you have something to keep you going (even if it’s a few lollies).
- On the topic of breakfast, regardless of what event you are doing, make sure breakfast is something that you’ve eaten before and you know that it sits well – I’ve seen that problem on the start line all too many times.
- Carb loading – in a race that’s this humid, eating 1kg of pasta the night before isn’t going to do you any favours. For this relatively short race [six hours is short for Sam who can do up to seven days], gradually increase your carbs in the days prior, but focus more on eating light and fresh and staying hydrated. You want to be going to the toilet regularly in the lead-up and remember that air-conditioning can dehydrate you.
- Lollies are a good booster to carry around with you at all levels and they’re easy on the stomach.
- Avoid eating in transition – you want to be eating on the run (e.g. eating a banana while running along the beach) so that you’re not wasting valuable minutes.
Just remember the things that make this race challenging – the sections on the beach, the hike-a-bike, the hills – are also what make it exciting, so embrace it and have fun. We want to see people enjoying this event and finishing it feeling good about themselves – that’s what it’s all about.
If you’d like a training boost in the lead-up to Adventurethon, Sam has multi-sport training sessions (run, ride, paddle) on every Friday morning through Outer Limits Adventure Fitness – see our calendar for more info. He is also going to be running specific training sessions on the weekends in the lead-up at Pallarenda and a course reccy on Magnetic Island. More info coming soon or check the Outer Limits Facebook page.