By James Brown
The all new 4hr Tri-Adventure Experience is here, kicking off on Sunday the 17th March the new additional to the hugely popular Tri-Adventure event calendar is promising to be a sell out hit!
Tri-Adventure team member James Brown gives us his top 5 tips for tackling the new 4hr Experience.
Top tips for the 4hr Experience adventure race
You may be an experienced racer or new to AR having done one or more 2hr sprint events. You might have already entered a 4, 5; 6hr race or your mouse maybe hovering over the enter button online but you can’t quite do it. If you are not sure if longer than two hours is for you my advice is simply do try it. Enter now!
The Experience is a 4hr off road adventure. Navigate trails and hills on foot and bike collecting as many check points as you can in 4 hours. A perfect step up from our 2hr Sprint event. You can enter as a solo or a pair!
Here are Jame’s top 5 tips..
1. Assess your conditioning
2. Make a flexible plan
3. Running training
5. Arrive early
This is something to think about the day before the race. Ask yourself honestly, How far can I run (simply running that is, not navigating at the same time) without slowing down significantly? 15km? 25km? Get a figure set in your head, you will need this for planning. Don’t be conservative, remember the distraction of the navigation and adrenalin of the race can often mean you can run further than seems possible in your training.
2. Make a flexible plan
How far you can expect to travel in 4hrs is very dependent on the terrain, particularly when biking. Plan a route for the entire bike loop but noting opportunities to cut it short with minimum CP loss. Work out the ‘points per minute’ of the bike loop assuming you use the remaining time after deducting your run loop from the total time (total points / 120 minutes). You should be able to estimate the run more accurately than the bike. Based on your assessment if you know you will slow down after say 100 minutes of running then look at the map and calculate the best way to use 100 mins of running at your pace. Unless you are Mo Farrah I doubt that will be enough time to get all the controls, so design a loop that has the most controls (and therefore points) in that time. An important part of your plan should be to have ‘options’ to extend of shorten your run loop depending on how far ahead or behind your plan you become during. Usually extending your run helps get more ‘points per minute’ out of your run, but of course taking time away from the bike.
To this end maximising points will be based on judging the right balance between the two disciplines to achieve the best overall points per minute. And don’t be late, you’ll need time with your map which is given at registration to strategise!
3. Training = running
Although you might find the run on a 2hr sprint a doddle and the biking a world of cramp I would still emphasize running in your training. I prioritise it as I find a lack of conditioning on the bike only a minor factor during the race. An exception to this is if you are already doing 2 hour+ off road runs with relative ease and consider yourself weak at biking.
Main difference of a 4 hour race over a sprint (2hr) is longer run, yes the biking is often longer by at least the same proportion but it is the run that has more physical impact on you. This is mainly because running burns more calories per hr, but also because refuelling (eating) is delayed unless you can digest whilst running.
I estimate my burn rate at 700 per hour for running, 3-400 biking; Compared to sprint you need to eat more. In two hours I usually have 80g of carbs = 240 cals, in 4hours I’ll take in approx 750 calories. Whatever foods and powders you prefer make sure you are refuelling before you feel empty or hungry. I might go for: Two gels running and then protein shake, banana, malt loaf, cereal bar, choc bar during bike. Like many people I have trouble eating on the run, I can only digest liquids and gels happily so the gobbling starts in earnest after getting on the bike.
5. Arrive early
Good news, small (navigation) mistakes are less of a problem in 4hr than 2hr race. More emphasis is on route choice as there will be more distance between each cp, so certainly do plan your routes carefully. Not only is there going to be twice as much ground to cover, there is going to be more route choices and less certainty of how well you are doing part way round. You need to carry more water and food so make sure you are fully set up before the maps are released to make the most of available time to plan with your map before the race starts.
Test your stamina with this off road adventure. Navigate trails and hills on foot and bike collecting as many check points as you can in 4 hours. A perfect step up from the Sprint event. You can enter as a solo or a pair!
Dates: 17 March, 21 July and 17 November 2013
Come and join the adventure!