Rapid ascents and massive elevation gains are often incorporated into adventure races. Rarely will you pass through an area without visiting the peak of the highest mountain, scaling the slope of an impressive volcano or traversing a sky-high ridge.
You’ve put in weeks of training and preparation ensuring that your legs will hold up to hour after hour on the bike and trekking up hills. You’ve worked your upper body, ensuring that you’ll have the strength for climbing, rope ascents and paddling. But now, 3hrs into the race, you’ve developed developed a niggling blister on your little toe and heel.
The Little Mermaid, in love with a prince she rescues, makes a deal with the Sea Witch to exchange her intoxicating voice for a potion that transforms her fishy tail into legs. Little Mermaid drinks the potion, takes to land and meets the prince; mute, she dances for him, even though with every step it feels like she is walking on knives; a near-debilitating side-effect from the potion.
In adventure racng there is one element of the sport that terrifies even the most hardened competitor – sleep deprivation. There are many runners and triathletes who are eager to compete in an adventure race but perhaps the single biggest reason not to do so is the very idea that they could spend days without sleep.
My interest in sleep initially stemmed from my ability to sleep anytime and anywhere and then later from AR – particularly with regard to sleep cycles, duration and deprivation. AR-induced sleep deprivation is of special interest because in events it is easy to observe how each person responds differently, some having higher levels of tolerance than others.
After doing a medical standby at a recent adventure race, it became apparent to me that the contents of the mandatory first aid kit that was to be carried by each team was a bit of a grey area. Teams were producing first aid kits that ranged from minimalist to outright overkill. One team produced a first aid kit that could probably fit into my wallet while another team produced two kits.
Sport psychology is a broad field of study and application. In what follows I have tried to be as practical as possible ad also to make comments and advice applicable to adventure racing in particular. One myth:The mind and body can be separated – dualistic view i.e. Racing according to a heart rate monitor will not guarantee success because it does not take in to acount your mind.