Bivouac Outdoor Race Motivator Kristina Arthur gives us a pre-race update;
It’s not long now till our first race of the Bivouac Outdoor Wild Auckland trail series at Tāpapakanga. I haven’t been to this regional park before, so exploring it will be fun (the photos look awesome) and hopefully the weather forecast holds (as I write this MetService says it will be a high of 17°C and sunny!).
I’m signed up for the Discovery course, which we’ve just found out is 14.2km distance. Fun times! To be honest I’m feeling a little unfit going into this as I’ve been dealing with hay fever over the past week (hooray for spring), but as usually happens I’m sure once I get out there I’ll be fine. My training leading up to this first race has actually been a bit of a mix – a little less running, but I’ve kick-started a more intense gym routine for cross training. I’ve learned from previous experience that strength training helps a lot with trail running. It actually makes the running a bit easier, and helps keep injury at bay… At least the times when I’ve slacked off I’ve been more prone to getting injured, anyway. Generally, my routine involves general strength/resistance work, core work, and balance/stability exercises, with a particular focus on leg muscles and ankle stability. I’ve got some previous running-related injuries that I have to manage and strength training (and stretching!) helps with this.
Bivouac Outdoor sent me some gear for these events: Inov-8 Roclite 305 shoes and All Terrain mid socks, Salomon Trail Runner SS tee, and Camelbak Circuit Running hydration vest. While I’ve been a fan of Inov-8 shoes for years, the rest of the gear is new to me, and I look forward to testing it all out over the coming months. I’m quite excited to try the gear out in training and the races, and will provide a review of each piece across coming blogs as I’ve had a chance to properly test them out.
I have a pretty consistent set of gear I take out with me on most trail runs. Shoes, socks, tights or shorts, and top. I like to carry a small pack with a hydration bladder (I personally find it easier to be able to sip as I go). If I carry a mixed electrolyte drink I prefer having this in a separate bottle and have the option of both electrolytes and water. A couple of snacks will often make it into my backpack, and if the weather looks dodgy I’ll try to have an extra warm and/or wet weather layer. I’ll always have either a cap or beanie, depending on the season, sunglasses, and a buff. My GoPro (for photos) and phone (usually on airport mode, but there if I need it) finish off my usual kit for runs like the ones we will be completing for this series. And sunscreen, now we are coming in to summer.
I’ve got a rule of thumb I try very hard to stick to – “nothing new on race day”. I allow myself a little leeway with this with gear, but food and drink can have slightly more dramatic and immediate effects, so I’m pretty strict about that. Testing stuff out during training is important. Something that you might be able to handle when you’re sitting on the couch may not react the same when you’re in the middle of a 10km run, something I’ve discovered for myself a couple of times. This also includes the food you eat a day or so before. If you know something gives you issues, don’t eat it the day before a planned trail race… I’ve found a pre-race breakfast of porridge works really well for me, followed by a pre-race banana when I arrive at the event base, then high energy snacks (um… jet planes, wine gums, jellybeans, stuff like that) during the race if I need them. There are all sorts of options available, and training runs are a good time to find out what works. The same goes for electrolytes, different brands suit different people. Even different flavours of different brands suit different people.
Logistics for these races are relatively simple – driving around Auckland – road trip! I’ve made a note not to forget to print my carpark pass, and plan to give myself a little extra time to get to Tāpapakanga to reduce stress and last-minute rushing. To make the drive home a bit more comfortable I bring along spare clothes, socks, and shoes, and wet wipes so I don’t cover the car in sand or mud. An extra (full) drink bottle and some snacks generally make the drive back even more enjoyable, especially if it’s hot, as does knowing where to get a treat on the way home!
Looking forward to seeing you all at a Tāpapakanga on Sunday!
Race Motivator for the Bivouac Outdoor Wild Auckland Trail Series