Racing Is The Best Training

2013 Mt GloriousAfter recently competing in the 23km Mt Glorious trail run, two undeniable facts were again reiterated to me.  Firstly, I was reminded that, at best, I’m an average runner.  With a course change in the week leading up from a point to point race to an out and back course, it was a great opportunity to see the whippets out front leading the charge.  There is certainly something to be said about single-sport specificity when it comes to training and racing.

The cold, misty conditions and hilly course, on paper, should have suited me to a tee, however I found my legs were heavy over the second half of the race from a big block of training leading into the weekend and the motivation just wasn’t there this year.  Ultimately, my placing in field didn’t improve from last year despite what I consider better general fitness going into the race.  Sometimes I think it would be great to have a break from multisport, navigational based events and just focus on pure trail running for a year or so to specifically improve my running.  However, I suspect the lure of team based events and fun on the bike and ski will always creep in.

The second point that was brought into stark relief is that racing makes the best training.  I’m sure it’s a common strategy, but I like to have a number of big races to aim for during the year and use the smaller sprint ARs, trail runs, rogaines and MTBOs as training and practice.  For whatever reason, I can never seem to smash myself in training as much as I do when I strap on a race number.  I was sore for over two days after the Mt Glorious race despite having done a number of training runs almost twice that length in the lead up.  Not only does racing push you that much harder physically than a normal training session, but it also gives you a chance to test all those other important skills that are hard to prepare for such as navigation and team work.  I guess there are a number of cons to using races as training, including that they are typically more time consuming in preparation and travel, more expensive and generally harder on equipment than regular training.

England Creek Course SettingSo with all that in mind the Rogue Godzone team lineup have a couple of big weekends planned, including the Upside Down rogaine, which we’ll race off the back of an afternoon of regular training.  The Upside Down will be an excellent chance to get in 8hrs of off-trail, sleep deprived hiking with already tired bodies along with the opportunity to scrub up on night navigation.  The England Creek area where the race is being held was the site of one of the legs of the 2010 Rogue24 and offers excellent rogaining terrain.  With Godzone falling early in the year off the back of our summer, there are not that many smaller lead in races unfortunately, however the team will be as best prepared as possible.

In thinking about racing in 2013, we’ve identified a number of key goal “A Races” for the year.  All of the rogaines, orienteering, trail runs and sprint adventure races in between make excellent training for these:

What are your A-Race for the year?

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