Cumbrian Challenge BG Tips
Here at Brocket Gear we like training and we like a challenge. So when our charity of choice – Walking With The Wounded asked us for some training tips for the Cumbrian Challenge we asked resident Brocket Gear ultra marathoner Adam for his thoughts.
“I am a big believer in our inborn ability to do tough things if we put our minds to it and they’ll certainly be people doing that for this event. However, if you have the time then good preparation is the crucial. The more you can do to prepare before any event the better, it’s that simple. I split preparation down into 3 key elements:
Physical preparation – it’s not just a case of getting fitter. You need to get fit for purpose. The Cumbrian challenge is very different to most races so train accordingly. It’s a long route so stamina and endurance are important, not just speed (unless you are challenging for a top position!). It’s also very hilly so getting “hill fit” and having the strength to get up and down hills is important as well. There is no better way to achieve this than by getting into the hills and doing long walks and runs. If this is not possible then build up a strong aerobic base by running and cycling. You can also do this by swimming or using the large range of aerobic equipment now available in gyms. Your individual circumstances will determine what you can do and where – but do what you can. The golden rule is stay injury free though, if you feel a problem developing, seek professional help, don’t ignore it, or worse – push though it as you’ll potentially make theissue much worse. Prevention is better than cure, so make sure you have suitable footwear and equipment, which are in good condition and fit well.
As well as the actual training you should look after your body as much as possible. Rest is important, so get a good night’s sleep – you’ve probably earned it. Stretch off after training and also in between, remaining supple and flexible will help prevent injuries. Sports massages and physiotherapy sessions can also be useful to aid recovery and prevent injury.
Mental preparation – just as important in my opinion, especially for a tough event such as the Cumbrian challenge. The Lake District is beautiful, I love it but given the terrain and occasionally tough weather conditions it has the potential to be more difficult than just the distance involved. If you are motivated then you’ll push yourself through the pain barrier and make completing the event successfully more likely. Setting yourself the challenge and just entering will give you a massive amount of motivation, as will taking part as a member of a team or friends – you won’t want to let them, or yourself down.
Raising money for charity is also a great motivator as it gives you another goal and challenge. Knowing that the money you raise is going to a good cause is extra motivation and useful to remember on those long hard training sessions in the dark or the rain! Remember these tips in training and on the race itself to aid your mental preparation.
Kit – being mentally and physically prepared is crucial but not preparing your kit correctly can and often has severe consequences. This is especially important on long distance events on difficult terrain during events like the Cumbrian Challenge, where you have more opportunity, miles and time to suffer! Kit choice is vital and there is so much choice out there these days that it is difficult to know what to use. The most critical piece of equipment though is probably footwear, get this wrong and you risk blisters or even injury. If you know you are planning to walk the majority of the route then a good pair of walking boots or approach shoes may be appropriate. If you are planning to run it then a quality pair of off-road trainers will be needed.
Whatever you pick they should fit well (make sure you know your size), not too tight and not too lose. They should have sufficient grip suitable for off road conditions, especially if it turns out to be wet day. They should also be in good condition because each pair of trainers or boots has a limited lifespan and if they’ve done too many miles you risk losing the support, cushioning and grip they are supposed to offer. Don’t wear brand new footwear though as they need to be worn in gradually before doing a long distance.
Your clothing should also be appropriate and fit for the terrain and conditions. Modern clothing technology offers suitable options for hot, cold and wet weather – all of which may be on offer for the Cumbrian Challenge! Lightweight, breathable and fitted base layers offer the wearer comfort and help regulate temperature and moisture when working hard. Compression clothing has also become popular recently for the added support and anti-fatigue measures they provide. Combine the base layer with good quality waterproof jacket and some cold weather garments should the weather get poor.
Finally, don’t neglect the detail and smaller items such as socks, gloves, headwear and backpack. If either of these fit incorrectly, act as a sponge for water of are in bad condition then you run the risk of getting cold, uncomfortable or even worse – not looking good!
So in summary – be prepared: train the body to improve aerobic performance but stay supple and injury free. Train the mind as well, as this will be just as important when the going gets tough. Finally, pick the correct kit and clothing to ensure your training and race go as well as possible.
Enjoy your training and best of luck”
Adam – Brocket Gear