Thanksgiving should be a great reminder that most of us are in the off-season for Adventure Racing. A focus on strength and skill development should replace the high intensity races and the long cardio workouts of the spring and summer.
But how does strength training and skill development translate to adventure racing?
Every sport has four stages:
Training and racing are familiar to everyone and are considered "in-season", but many athletes are not taking advantage of the "off-season" activities to help recovery and get ready for the following year.
What problems are you trying to fix?
1. Cardio training and racing often leave very little time for strength training during the racing season.
2. Repetitive activities, like kayaking, mountain biking, and running, lead to bad habits and overuse injuries.
What should you do now to rebuild your muscles?
1. Maintain a healthy level of cardio training, but it should be far less than your race training.
2. Add basic strength exercises to your cardio routine. Push-ups, Pull-ups, sit-ups are excellent and require no equipment.
3. For nagging joint injuries, consult with a professional and get exercises that will heal and strengthen your joints.
4. Focus on you core strength. Your mountain biking, kayaking, and running will improve as a result of a strong core
What skill development can you do?
1. Kayaking. Slow down your paddle stroke and focus on technique. If you don't know the perfect technique, take a lesson.
2. Mountain biking. Work on your technical riding skills, night riding skills, or simply learn how to read a map while on the trails.
3. Navigation. Take your map reading skills to the next level. Take a class or just get out on the trails with a map in hand.
4. Race Nutrition. Nutrition is critical to racing. This is a good time to experiment and optimize your diet. Don't experiment during the race season.
The key to success is to pick a few items to focus on for each season. For the coming year, you may chose to really focus on your mountain biking, while maintaining good fitness in the other sports. Research, watch, take a class and dedicate yourself to getting better.
Hani Juha is an active adventure racer, triathlon coach, and co-founder of California Adventure Racing Association, a non-profit that helps promote teamwork and community through adventure racing.