For all of our fans who send us questions on our Twitter and Facebook page, this one is for you. Each week we draw on our pool of editors and experts to help you with any questions or challenges you have with your fitness regimen. This week, humanfitproject triathlete, strength and conditioning coach and training correspondent Justin Klein, CSCS, answers your questions about how to get first place in your next adventure race.
Food for Fuel - Question from Tom Wright: What should your diet be like when training for an adventure race?
“When training for an adventure race, your diet should reflect your training. You want to eat as cleanly as possible, but still give yourself a day to eat more freely. One of the best analogies for this is – not eating right is like putting bad gas in your car. You wouldn't put bad gas in your car, so why put bad nutrients in your body - especially when you're exercising.
You should go for low-glycemic carbohydrates - like oatmeal or an apple - before your workout to give you enough energy. After a workout, you want to feed your body with higher glycemic index carbohydrates, such as beans. B. fruit, along with a clean source of protein to help your body recover.
Because training during the day creates a higher calorie deficit, you'll want to make sure you're consuming the right amount of calories if you're looking to lose or maintain weight for the race. Also, breakfast is one of the most important meals because it helps prepare your body for the day ahead while continuing the recovery process from the previous day. ”
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Pre-Race Eating - Asked by Rich Lewis: Do you eat anything else on race day?
“On race day you shouldn't try anything new or anything other than your prep diet. You don't want to risk consuming something that might upset your stomach. What should be different is the second night before you start with a quality carbohydrate load that will ensure your body has enough energy to perform at its best in your race.
In the morning, low glycemic index carbohydrates should be eaten along with a good source of protein and sugar about 2 hours before the race - this allows the food to settle down and begin digestion. Don't overeat and make sure you're drinking enough fluids!"
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Cardio Training - Asked by James Halden: How can I intelligently build my cardio endurance for longer runs?
“The best way to build up cardio for the race depends on the length of the race. Adventure races can be anywhere from 3 miles to 14+ miles in length and feature mud, water, obstacles and anything else the race wants to throw in your way.
The smartest way to train is to start low and work your way up. Start with shorter distances that you are comfortable with and slowly increase the distance you cover, day by day or week by week. When you combine interval days with long, slow recovery days and even mountain days, you'll get the best use out of your training."
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Strength Training - Asked by Paul Giv: Many of these adventure races have a myriad of different obstacles. In your opinion, what are the most important exercises to prepare for?
“Many of these races involve obstacles and a variety of challenges. The best exercises to prepare for these challenges involve total body workouts. I recommend this because you never know exactly what's coming as a lot of these races don't reveal every obstacle before the race.
Squats and lunges are never a bad choice as the races are on and the bulk of your power for everything comes from your legs and core. Upper body pull moves are also a good choice, as these races usually involve a lot of climbing and pulling up, over and through a lot of obstacles.
All in all, cross training has been one of the most beneficial types of training for these adventure races because it gets your body used to an exercise and then immediately gets back into the run."
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Accessories asked by Mike Recchio: Do you recommend packing anything? water bottles? Extra shoes? socks? Eat?
“It's always a great idea to pack extras from everything. An additional change of clothing, socks and shoes as many of these races involve mud and water hazards. Water bottles to stay hydrated before the race, something to eat in case you don't race first thing in the morning. It's a lot safer to be over-prepared than under-prepared."