DON’T ignore your area of weakness when it comes to preparing for this month’s Skibbereen Charity Adventure Race (SCAR).
Over the last two weeks we’ve covered a lot of ground ahead of the West Cork race organised by Skibereen and District Lions Club on October 21st – but my advice remains the same: do not rush your training and injure yourself.
Really experienced athletes work on their weaknesses while also maintaining their strengths – and that’s exactly what all participants need to do tempting and all as the reverse is.
That means that if running is your strong point then you should concentrate on your bike. You should also know exactly what you want to get out of each session.
If it’s your first adventure race and you choose to do the Taster section (5km run and 12k cycle) rather than the Sport route (12k run, 21k cycle and 1k kayak) then don’t be fooled into thinking that if you can run and cycle, that you can do an adventure race route.
Adventure racing is a completely different animal with so many things to contend with. I’m talking about tree stumps and tree roots on the running route; bad surfaces and pot holes, grass in the middle of the road and tricky descents on the bike which, combined, make the whole thing arduous.
Like I said last week, running on flat tarmaced roads is no good to you in training – you need bad terrain with poor surface, corners and a high degree of difficulty.
The same rules apply for the cycle. Narrow badly surfaced roads and hills are the way to go during training – but I guess you’ll have no problem here in West Cork finding roads like this. The roads are often hillier and the surface is challenging in adventure cycling. You could find yourself cycling down roads with grass in the middle and in some cases the road could be all gravel. It pays to study the course map. Every adventure race that I’ve done has involved a detailed examination of the bike course. Your bike will have to be in perfect working order with the tyres in good condition and pumped hard. And remember most people use flat pedals in adventure races – not the cleated system that cyclist are used to. It saves time and effort in swapping over your cycling shoes to your running shoes. But don’t forget that cycling on flat pedals eliminates the pulling up on the pedal feeling that you get from the cleats so be aware of that.
Luckily in SCAR there’s nothing extreme and all the roads are what you’d expect from a good adventure race.
• For more information and to register see scar.ie.