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Adventure Racing Tips

Adventure Racing Tips

A few adventure racing tips by Jack Crawford over at Adventure Sports Online

For more training and racing tips check out the original article HERE:


Under the pressure of competition, we always break at our weakest links. In the team, it will be your weakest member. In an individual, this can occur at many levels, physically, emotionally, mentally, or mechanically. If you are competing in a multi-day event, sleep deprived, fatigued, or low on energy, you will break down at the weakest points as the pressure mounts. To get tougher, focus your training on your weakest links. In order to do this you need to know what your weakest links are.


The idea that I want to illustrate about evaluation is that you need to know what your current condition is before you can effectively set up your training program. You should also get to know your body better. Knowledge of things like your water consumption rates can help you stay hydrated, or plan logistics in an event. A general guideline is to drink a half liter-to-1 liter of water per hour.

Things like fitness testing should be done on a person to person basis. Fitness testing includes run tests and exercise testing. By some standards you are considered in good fitness condition if you can run a mile in ten minutes. These standards are not applicable to adventures that can range all the way up to 380 miles.

Weekend training missions are great to find out what your strengths and weaknesses are. Put together some hiking, some mountain biking, some paddling with some friends or your team. Do it continuously, or stage it separately, the main goal is to figure out what you should put your training emphasis on.


The most common questions that your teammates will ask, if you are the navigator, are “How far to the the next checkpoint?”, “Are we almost there?”, or “Which way do we go?”. Navigation and routefinding are the most important skills to have for an adventure race. It is good to have at least one navigator on your team, but it is even better to have more. Some events list orienteering as an activity, when they actually mean navigation and routefinding.

Orienteering is a sport of the compass and map. The maps used for orienteering are very exact, and small in detail. This sport is very popular in the Scandinavian countries, and is doing well in a few place in the US. These events, though shorter in distance, can greatly improve your navigation skills. I recommend seeking an orienteering club in your area.

Most adventure races use topographic maps, which don’t have the detail that an orienteering map has. You will use navigation skills to know your location, and find the location of the next objective. You will then use your route-finding skills to determine the best route for your teams ability. Sometimes the best route may be the easiest one,something like following a ridge line. However you need to compare that with a route that may be more direct, and possibly saving time. It all depends on you, your skills, and your team’s ability. So you need to practice to know these things.

Practice using a compass and map whenever you go hiking. The more practice you have converting contour lines of a map to the topography of the terrain, the better. Know how to navigate at night, or in low visibility conditions.

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