Achieving Training Gains Through Adventure

With most races cancelled for 2020 and lockdown wiping out normal training methods, many have used adventures to train. Be inspired and discover the training adaptations gained through adventuring…

Shaking your head and thinking that there is no way adventure training can really benefit your performance? Think again.

Tour de France cyclist, Jerome Cousin was visiting his girlfriend in Portugal when the country went into lockdown, and all return flights back to his native France were cancelled. Once lockdown was eased, he bike paced with girlfriend on a 1,152km trip across Portugal. He described the experience as ‘total freedom’.

Now, if it’s good enough to help a cyclist take on one of hardest endurance events in the world, we reckon adventuring has its perks!

‘Taking on an adventure, like a long bike or run packing trip is excellent in helping to build a strong endurance base,’ explains GRTW founder and women’s endurance coach, Rachael Woolston. ‘It builds up your aerobic base, helps your body to burn fat as fuel which is important for endurance events like marathons, ultras and Ironman.

‘And importantly, it helps to keep you motivated and inspired. Personally, I think always including some adventure in your usual training is good, it keeps you fresh and helps you maintain perspective on your training.’

Need some inspiration for your own adventures this Autumn? Read on.

Run Explore

Girls Run the World runners, Catherine Bevan and Cara McDaniel ran the South Downs Way, covering 100 miles in four days. You can discover inspiration on the excellent, National Trails website.

Change your methods

Bolton Ironman champion, Lucy Gossage usually spends hours on the turbo or doing long road rides. She also took to the South Downs for her adventure but mountain biked the trail both ways in 48 hours.

This change of positioning on the bike, and long up hill segments would have challenged her body in a different way than road cycling, while building her endurance base and working the body in V02 thresholds on the steep climbs.

Take on a challenge

Ultrarunner Beth Pascall didn’t plan on setting a new women’s record for the Bob Graham Round, the legendary 66-mile loop of rugged peaks in the Lake District.

She had originally planned to spend her summer participating in races on the ultra-circuit such as UTMB. However, the pandemic caused her – and the rest of us to change plans, so she opted for an adventure a little closer to home.

You can find out more about Beth’s experience on the GRTW podcast out on September 19th.

Beth Pascall running the Bob Graham Round in Keswick

Create your own time trials

Sarah Connor from Connecticut used her downtime during the pandemic to discover FKTs (Fastest Known Times) in her local area via fastestknowntime.com.

During April and May, she created her own routes and managed to capture 11 FKTs on local trail loops, out-and-backs and point-to-point courses. 

Connor described it as being a nice break from the traditional racing format. “Never be afraid to be the first one to register a route,” Connor says. “If anything, it’ll draw more people to try it and grow your local FKT community.”

It goes to show that training differently can bring rewards – and lots of fun.

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