Doing your race home work could be the making and breaking of you!
Especially if its your first time competing in that race.
Let me elaborate on that. Adventure/multi-sport races are about endurance. Spreading your energy levels out. So not knowing what is around the corner could be the undoing of you. I have seen first hand, competitors (of all standards) take wrong turns, costing them valuable time but more importantly energy, both physical and mental.
Walk the course!
The morning of the Cheltenham Gold Cup or the Grand National, any jockey worth his salt will have walked the course, checking out Beechers Brook, the Chair or the Canal Turn. Seeing how soft the ground is, how easily it will cut up.
Most of the big boys who take part in Adventure races will at least drive as much of the course the night before and take notes of hills, sharp bends, downhills, transitions etc. But these guys are hunting the much coveted podium positions.
For the rest of us mere mortals, we can still kind of walk the course, kind of. Or at least virtually. In preparation, I usually map out the race on Runkeeper well in advance of the race. In doing so, I can get a break down of the hills, the difficult stages & terrains, where I can push and where I need to conserve my energy. You will, upon registration receive a map of your course, but don’t wait till then. If you are completing a long course with lots of hills, print out your Runkeeper map along with hills, make notes and tape it to your bike cross bars. If you have a GPS watch or bike speedometer, you can roughly gauge when the next set of hills are and know when you can push it and when you can reserve your much needed energy. You can load the course on most GPS watches these days, so that also can be a real help in mastering your race!
Another advantage of mapping the course out well in advance is that knowing what kind of course awaits you, you can tailor your training in preparation for the race. If its a relatively flat course, you can ease off on your hill runs or if there are loads of trail runs you know you will need the get your Montrails on!.
Last year, I rocked up to DAR Dingle, thinking I had it in the tank to complete it with ease. How wrong was I. The climb up Mount Eagle with its never ending false peaks, nearly was the undoing of me. Had I known what was ahead of me, I would have changed my training methods drastically. I have learned. I have adapted and now look forward to June 10th when I plan to destroy it (or at least get back in a reasonable time). 🙂