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Tips For Successful Endurance Racing

Tips For Successful Endurance Racing

By Harper Forbes
courtesy of No Boundaries

Generally speaking, racing in the endurance world requires three main components – equipment, training and nutrition. For each one you can find countless articles associated with each; below are a few general tips for each.


Get the right equipment.  Seems like an obvious statement but you’d be surprised with how many racers that are competing in technical trail or adventure races and are wearing road running shoes. Or how many triathletes or cyclists fail to utilize clipless pedals, which increases efficiency, power and therefore speed. Understandably many people with improper equipment may just be trying it out before making any substantial investment… which brings me to the next point.

Budget accordingly. One of the hardest sacrifices with endurance racing is found in your bank account. Usually the faster and lighter the equipment, the more expensive it is. So keep this in mind if you plan to enter the world of multisport versus something like ultrarunning. More disciplines = more money.

Train with the equipment you’ll race in. Don’t be afraid to only use those pricey wheels or carbon mountain bike on your local rides. If you don’t know how you’re equipment will handle in various conditions you’re taking a risk of learning that while racing.


Have a plan. Start out trying to plan your racing calendar as soon as possible, especially those with high priority, requiring teammates or involve traveling. Once your “A” races are established, try and set up a training plan towards those races. Training plans involving periodization or traditional programs can be found online or by a coach.

Pace yourself. Don’t overload your racing schedule or training too early (or late). Hard, high volume training weeks in November for a big race in June can sometime lead to more harm than good – or similarly, competing in too many big races (i.e. every weekend for months) – your chances of mental and physical burnout or injury are sure to increase.

Enjoy it and allow yourself some breaks. Most of us do this because we love the spirit of competition, the outdoors or being able to push our bodies to the limit. Going out for a long run, ride, paddle or swim helps relieve stress and creates the sense of accomplishment. However, if you find yourself constantly tired or dreading your training day or weeks, take some time off – you may be overtraining and need a break. Take an extra few days or weeks off and usually the fatigue disappears and the motivation returns. Also allow yourself a month or two at the end of the season to wind down, reflect on your success, let your body heal and get focused on goals for next season.


Train with the nutrition you’ll race in. Taken from the equipment component, this also applies to your food. Make sure you can handle whatever you throw at it race day. I usually try and use my specific race-type food/nutrition at least once a week, usually on my training days most resembling my upcoming races. Saving a few extra dollars on those expensive energy powders could cost a poor result in a race.

Drink plenty of water. Hydration is critical training, racing and as part of a daily routine. Our bodies are made up of 60-70% water; water, which transports vital nutrients and oxygen and removes waste. Leading up to a race one should also try to increase water intake to account for the possibility of dehydration.

Try to eat healthy. I saved the hardest part of successful endurance racing LAST! The bottom line is: what you put in is what you’ll get out. Food is your body’s fuel – think lean meats and fish, grains and fiber, fruit and vegetables – foods rich in vitamins and nutrients. Try and minimize processed food, candy and sugary sodas (which are sometimes referred to as empty calories).

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