News > How to train for a mountain race by Ricky Lightfoot
How to train for a mountain race by Ricky Lightfoot
So you want to run your first adventure race?
Well, there's more to it than just plodding around the streets every night on your usual 5 mile run, If you want to succeed and achieve your goal of finishing you need to set out a plan and stick to it.
For me if I'm training for a specific race it will often be 6 months or longer that I'll think about focusing my training towards it, for example, if the race is fast with flatter sections I'll concentrate on speed including aerobic and anaerobic sessions into my training.
There's more than one part to your structured training, you need to build a base, train specifically and most important you need to peak just at the right time.
To achieve the goal of finishing the race you need to set smaller goals first which all help you build towards race day, so by breaking it down into three blocks it makes it easier to digest.
Firstly you need to build a base, this to me is the most important part of your training and it's this which will help you cross that finish line with your arms in the air. Base training is where you'll build your strength stamina, aerobic system and endurance.
More often than not this is done in the winter months (for me anyways) when there's not much racing on, So November, December and January are spent building up the mileage and time on your feet.
Just remember, during these winter months the majority of your runs will be slow and long to build your aerobic capacity.
The amount of training you do dictates the level in which you will compete, if you just want to do enough to finish you can get away with a little less although don't be disillusioned, you need to put the minimum in if you are to achieve your goal.
Once you've finished your base training the next phase is the specific training, this builds on what you have already achieved during your base training but is also geared more towards the event in which you are training for.
I usually set my self a test or a time trial right at the beginning of that block of training so I can repeat it every 3-4 weeks and see how I am progressing.
The training in this phase is more structured and focuses more on quality than quantity.
So for me, if it's a short fast race with hills I'll concentrate on shorter faster intervals (including up and down) but although you are training more specifically now you still need to keep at least one long day in a week.
The Specific phase will last anything from 8-12 weeks.
It's not always easy to peak for a race and some times it takes a lot of trial and error before you find what works for you, I've found I can taper for 12-7 days and usually it works pretty well, during this time I will lower the intensity and distance keeping the sessions short and fast working at 70-85 % of my maximum effort.