Coaching for Journey: Insider Recommendations on Trekking, Biking in Journey Races

Journey racing is a real multisport pursuit that requires a large skillset of out of doors disciplines. On this article, we take a look at ideas and strategies from the USARA for the 2 commonest disciplines within the sport: biking and trekking.

Editor’s be aware: This text was initially revealed on and has been modified for GearJunkie.

Every journey race is totally different and may embody disciplines together with paddling, working, highway and mountain biking, and climbing. They often even embody esoteric “bonus” actions like caving or group challenges the place you’re examined bodily or mentally on the spot.

When you be taught to navigate, arguably, the 2 most essential disciplines are primarily based on foot (trekking, path working, bushwhacking) and bike (highway, path, or singletrack). Runners need to be ready to go away paths altogether and head overland, usually bushwhacking throughout technical terrain. Bikers must be comfy using every kind of roads and trails.

Right here, we provide some context and some ideas as you put together to coach for the foot and bike sections of ARs to come back.

Adventure racers running through some wooded trails.
(Picture/Randy Ericksen)

Time to Trek!

Environment friendly foot journey in journey racing is extraordinarily essential, and we imagine folks typically take this “ability” with no consideration, particularly in longer occasions. How onerous can working, jogging, and even strolling be?

Anybody who has participated in a multiday race is aware of that extra skilled, environment friendly, and expert groups can open up huge leads on a foot part. With the ability to transfer effectively via technical terrain requires each ability and artwork. And simply piling up the miles on a treadmill or your native trails gained’t essentially translate to an journey racing course.


What must you do to raised put together for the distinctive challenges of journey racing foot journey?

First off, spend time in your ft. Toughen them up. In most journey races, your ft will get moist, and even for those who don’t cowl huge mileage, you’ll spend a good bit of the race in your ft. Ensure that they’re prepared for it. Operating, climbing, strolling — every thing counts. Keep in mind, although, that longer periods are essential to assist your ft prepare.

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Whereas many journey racers prepare by working, be sure to combine in some climbing as properly; trekking is usually all of the terrain will enable for. We’ve seen loads of savvy groups end races efficiently with out ever transferring sooner than a gradual stroll.

Add a pack to your runs or hikes and follow carrying weight. Doing so may even enhance your leg and core power.

On that be aware, attempt to squeeze in some core and higher physique power. Operating quick on a neighborhood path is nice for pace, however AR isn’t a path race. You want to carry weight, you gained’t be transferring as quick, and also you want your core to be prepared for this additional work.

Distinctive Challenges of Journey Race Trekking

There are various obstacles in journey racing that aren’t current in most different sorts of races. Right here’s the best way to navigate them.


Get your hills in. Until you’re racing within the flatlands, anticipate hills. A number of them. You don’t essentially need to run the hills when getting ready; climbing them will do the trick as properly. And don’t neglect coaching for descents too. Giving your quads a superb pounding on a coaching run can pay dividends on the racecourse by constructing power and holding off fatigue.


Being comfy transferring rapidly overland will repay. Nobody must go prepare in a thorn bush or a thicket of mountain laurel, however you’ll encounter these obstacles with frequency in journey races. And the extra comfy you’re with off-trail journey, the extra environment friendly you and your teammates shall be. Follow figuring out previous path beds or animal trails that enable for sooner journey when off established trails.


Once you go away trails, you’re certain to search out rocks. Be ready for technical terrain. Discover a native boulder area. Don’t shrink back from rockier trails. Follow climbing and even working on uneven terrain to assist enhance your dexterity, power, and pace.


Don’t forgo pace coaching, particularly if you’re specializing in dash races. However do not forget that journey races are endurance occasions, and infrequently ultraendurance in nature. Be sure you get in some lengthy coaching periods on foot. Get in some additional hills and attempt to do a minimum of a few of your coaching off the pavement or treadmill.

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For these beginning out with beginner-friendly races, you may anticipate roughly 5-10 miles of foot journey in a dash race and roughly 10-20 in a half-day race. The mileage will increase with 24-hour races and longer. However do not forget that the mileage could also be damaged up into a number of levels.

You don’t must be educated to run a gradual marathon to complete an journey race, even a daylong one. For those who can run 5-10 miles at a pop with out killing your self, you most likely have sufficient of a base to a minimum of end beginner-friendly races. You may not be aggressive, and it’d damage extra, however you may end!

Adventure racer riding in the dark during a USARA Nationals race.
(Picture/Randy Ericksen)

Get on the Bike

In journey racing, you will want to be ready for all types of using. Even in a shorter race, you’ll doubtless encounter totally different flavors of biking.

Sure, the part could also be referred to as “mountain biking,” however AR using can and does contain a ton of selection. There will be paved surfaces, grime roads, previous jeep tracks, and singletrack trails, together with clean, groomed trails and gnarly technical ones. Some races even have sections the place one merely goals about using the bike they’re hauling on a shoulder, shoving from behind, or throwing right into a ditch. Briefly, be ready for something and every thing!

Coaching Concerns

Most significantly, all biking counts. Street using, singletrack, indoor trainers — all of them do the trick in serving to you construct endurance on the bike. As is true for all AR disciplines, be sure to spend high quality time within the saddle. Construct up your sit bones and attempt to sneak in an extended trip or two every week.


As with foot sections of ARs, get your hills in! Be sure you do some hill using. Discover a steep hill, an extended one, or each, and do some repeats!

Path Using

In case you are new to AR and mountain biking, increase your expertise on the paths will change your race expertise. You don’t must grasp bunny hops or get comfy dropping off a brief cliff face. However you’ll need to have the ability to deal with the standard rocks and roots that you just discover whereas path using.

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From our expertise, using quick, clean, flowing trails in an journey race is an exception. Extra usually, you can see stretches of the course that require an intermediate degree of consolation with rocks, roots, and elevation.

You don’t need to trip it quick, but when you find yourself getting on and off your bike each couple of minutes, you gained’t have a lot enjoyable. And you will have to skip different components of the course. It’s OK for those who do, however getting comfy on trails is perhaps the one neatest thing you are able to do for your self as you put together for biking in an journey race. You simply must make regular progress!

Pound the Pavement

Journey trails, however combine in some lengthy rides on pavement too. In daylong and multiday occasions, races usually embody lengthy stretches of highway using to attach extra attention-grabbing components of the course or to navigate round personal property.

Racers who’ve a small armada of bikes typically want this form of coaching on glossy highway bikes. However we encourage you to trip no matter bike you may be utilizing on race day (doubtless not a glossy highway bike).

Endurance, Terrain

When gearing up to your first race, think about {that a} dash race normally consists of roughly 15 miles of biking. A half-day occasion may embody twice that quantity, perhaps a bit extra, and you’ll anticipate 50 miles or extra in a 24-hour occasion.

Terrain and course design are inclined to correlate with distances. A course with important quantities of highway using may embody greater mileage on the bike, whereas these which are extra rugged could have fewer miles however require extra grit.

Crew Work Makes the Dream Work

Be a part of a neighborhood mountain biking membership or discover some buddies who trip. Getting on the market with fellow mountain bikers, studying from them, and dealing in your skillset whereas attempting to maintain up is, maybe, one of the best ways to be taught.

For those who can take a neighborhood skill-building course from an teacher, nice. However simply getting out and practising with different riders goes a good distance. And it’s a helluva lot of enjoyable.

This text is sponsored by Toyota. Discover out extra concerning the 2022 Toyota Tundra on-line.