Olympic gold medal-winning rower turned adventure athlete James Cracknell is training for the Adidas Terrex Coast to Coast race at the end of this month. The four-day race sees competitors run, mountain bike, kayak and swim across the country. Here Cracknell shares his training tips for epic endurance challenges.
Work on weakness
Focus on your weakest discipline. With kayaking I'm on top of the water – hopefully! – where I’m fairly strong, but I've dedicated a lot of time to the open-water swimming challenge that lies ahead. Mental preparation is also key so I’ll be familiarising myself with the course so there aren’t any nasty surprises.
Get used to your kit
You have got to be comfortable in your kit. When pushing yourself to the limit and facing adverse conditions, the last thing that you want is blisters or chafing. So I’m training in the shoes I’ll be wearing for the race.
Train at the right intensity
While we are pretty much born with our VO2 max, we can improve our anaerobic threshold. If you work it out you can train more efficiently at the right intensity to increase it. Treat lactic acid as your friend and you'll see an improvement in your race time.
You’re not going to get anywhere fast if you don't look after your body and eat a healthy diet. There is no need to calorie count, but exercise portion control and make sure your meals are well balanced. As my coach used to say, “You don't put diesel in an F1 car”.
When it's cold and wet it’s hard to persuade yourself to step outside. Set realistic but challenging goals to motivate yourself and train in a group. A shared sacrifice with others will make you carry on.
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