Adventure Racing is More About Strategy than Strength

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In Adventure Racing, it takes so much more than individual strength and persistence to get to the finish line. Inherent in adventure racing are physical and mental adversities, terrain obstacles and challenges of working with your team-mates. Here are some valuable tips to help you save time and frustration in your race experience:


  1. Be prepared.
    Remember that anything can happen during an adventure race, and you’ll have a much better experience if you show up with the right gear. If it is your first race show up with minimum gear list, race, observe, have fun, get addicted to the outdoors and return. Reading through the race info will help clue you in on mimimum requirements. Take the time to make a list, thinking through the race from beginning to end. Will there be mud? Is the race at night? What time of year is it and how warm or cold will it be?  Wearing the right gear makes a big difference, especially in longer races. Check out our article on Gear or check out Travel Country for the latest and greatest adventure racing gear.

    Don’t wait until the night before the race to pack. Pack everything 2 days in advance if possible, so if anything is missing you’ll have time to make a run to the store if needed. This way you and your team can focus race day on routes, maps and plotting a great adventure.
  2. Plan for your Transition Area(s).
    Your transition strategy should be discussed with your teammates. Plan how much time you’ll spend in your TA, what each person’s role is, and organize the equipment and food to be easily found so you can quickly transition to the next segment of the race. Many races are won or lost in the transition area.
  3. Nutrition and Hydration.
    Remember that you are exerting energy constantly, so you need to constantly be refueling. Know what you like to eat, what foods and beverages work for you and how often you’ll need to eat and drink. Ideallly you should be intacking fluids every 15 minutes and fuel every 30 to 60 minutes. Try energy bars, fruit bars, trail mix, peanut butter, chips, dried fruit. You may also want to try electrolyte hydration for longer races. We recommend Hammer Nutrition food and hydration products. Many racers will wear hydration backpacks with up to 100 oz. of water. Water refill locations will be disclosed at every pre-race meeting.
  4. Navigation is Everything.
    You can be the fastest team in the world but it won’t make a darn bit of difference if you can’t navigate. If you’ve never navigated with a map and compass, be sure to team up with team-mates who know how. We offer a free "AR 101" short course covering the basic's of navigation and how to run your first race prior to each Sport pre-race meeting.

    The first rule of navigation is to always know where you are on the map. Follow along on the map as you travel through the landscape and keep track of time and distance since last reference point. The second rule is to trust your compass and always pay attention to compass heading.  Remember that some features that you see around you may not be recorded on the map. The third rule is to calculate distances between check points and transition areas on your map prior to the race. And the fourth rule of navigation is to practice, practice, practice. Try grabbing a topographic map and just taking a hike, starting with a familiar location so you can see how the map and the real world as different.
  5. Have Fun!
    Finally, remember to have a sense of humor. Things will go wrong, you might get lost, and you’ll definitely get dirty, but hey—these are the things that make the best stories, aren’t they? Compete till the end then enjoy the stories told around the Main TA.

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Comment by Lucas | October 5, 2011

And you always need to keep up your outdoor equipment. You want to be as safe as possible when out in the big world. I love this article, but I am a little confused about how you get signed up with the navigation course.

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