The Fit 5: Get Adventure Race Ready

The Fit 5: Get Adventure Race Ready

For all of our fans who shoot us questions on our Twitter and Facebook Page, this one is for you. Each week, we will tap into our pool of editors and experts to help with any questions or challenges you are having with your fitness regimen. This week, triathlete, strength and conditioning coach and training correspondent to humanfitproject, Justin Klein, C.S.C.S.  answers your questions about how to finish first in your next adventure race.


Food for Fuel— asked by Tom Wright:

What should your diet be like when you’re training for an adventure race?

“When you’re training for an adventure race, your diet should be a reflection of your training. You want to eat as clean as possible, but still allow yourself a day to eat more freely. One of the best analogies for this is – if you don’t eat properly, it’s like putting bad gas in your car. You wouldn’t put bad gas in your car, so why would you put bad nutrients in your body – especially when you’re training.

You want to go with low glycemic carbohydrates – such as oatmeal or an apple before a workout so that you have enough energy. After your workout you want to provide your body with higher glycemic carbohydrates, such as fruit, along with a clean protein source to help your body recover.

Since training causes a higher caloric deficit during the day, you want to make sure you’re consuming the proper amount of calories if you’re looking to lose or maintain weight for the race. Also, one of the most important meals is breakfast because it helps prep your body for the day that is coming while continuing the recovery process from the day before. ”

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Pre-Race Foods— asked by Rich Lewis:

Do you eat anything differently on the day of the race?


“The day of the race, you shouldn’t be trying anything new or different from your preparation diet. You don’t want to risk the chance of consuming something that may upset your stomach. What should be different is the second night before the race; a high quality carbohydrate load should begin. This carbohydrate load will make sure that your body will have enough energy to perform your best at your race. 

In the morning, low glycemic carbs should be eaten along with a good protein and sugar source approximately 2 hours before your race – this will allow for the food to settle and begin digestion. Don’t overdo the eating and be sure to hydrate!”

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Cardio Training— asked by James Halden:

What’s a smart way to build up my cardio endurance for the longer runs?

“The best way to build up cardio for the race depends on the race length. Adventure races can be anywhere from 3 miles to 14+ miles of mud, water, obstacles and anything else the race wants to throw your way.

The smartest way to train is begin low and work your way up. Start with shorter distances that you are comfortable with and slowly – day-by-day, or week-by-week – increase the distance you are covering. Mixing interval days with long, slow, recovery days and even hill days will give you the best benefit of your training.”

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Strength Training— asked by Paul Giv:

A lot of these adventure races have tons of different obstacles what do you suggest are the most important exercises to prepare?

“Many of these races do include obstacles and a variety of challenges. The best exercises to prepare for these challenges are covering full body workouts. I recommend this because you can never know exactly what is coming since many of these races don’t reveal every obstacle before the race.

Squats and lunges are never a bad choice since the races are running and most of your power for anything is generated from your legs and core. Upper body pulling movements are also a great choice because these races usually involve a lot of climbing and pulling yourself up, over and through many obstacles.

All in all, cross training has been one of the most beneficial types of training for these adventure races because it accustoms your body to an exercise, then getting right back into the run.”

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Supplies— asked by Mike Recchio:

Do you recommend packing anything? Water bottles? Extra shoes? Socks? Food?

“It’s always a great idea to pack extras of everything. An extra change of clothes, socks and shoes since many of these races include mud and water obstacles. Water bottles to stay hydrated before the race, some food to eat in case you are not racing first thing in the morning. You’re much safer to be over-prepared than under-prepared.”


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