Holly, Hayley and Sarah talk training for their first-place win in the Spirited Women Long Course in Wanaka 2023!
They also touch on what they would change about their training for next time and some awesome training tips and advice for beginner Spirited Women/Adventure Race competitors!
What did you do to train for the 2023 Spirited Women event?
Sarah: "I was lucky to have had a busy racing calendar that ended with the Spirited Women race. There were a range of events - multisport, cycling, running and other adventure races from 24 hours to 6 days. My body was pretty well accustomed to racing for 9 hours. And coming off the back of GodZone a couple of weeks prior... those weeks in between races consisted of not much training and prioritising sleep and recovery more than anything - turning up healthy to the event was most important."
Hayley: "Wicked Rogaines for navigation practice - the Canterbury Rogaine Series is coming up in January 2024 which is IDEAL training. I was running consistently, so my base fitness was good for race day and, there was a bit (very minimal) bike and paddling training in the mix."
Holly: "We did a bit of team training on the mountain bike on technical sections, making sure that any riding wouldn’t slow us down too much - especially when tired! This was great since the event was held at the Glendu Bike Park!"
What would you do differently next time?
Sarah: "We forgot to take a compass with us on the kayak - which was the start of the race and in complete darkness - navigating with no bearing was tricky! We got close enough with our guesses - and it was also fortunate for everyone else as they were all following behind us. Also, spending a little more time the night before the race planning / marking out the maps & route choices - we rushed one of the MTB maps and made a poor route choice (I’ll own that one) and made the team hike and bike up a steep hill only to be faced with deer fences all around us and deer during their roar - note DO NOT cross paths with them!"
Hayley: "In the build-up, I would spend time doing each discipline more evenly and increase biking and paddling."
What training tips would you give to beginners who want to do Spirited Women (and other adventure races)?
Sarah: "Train in all types of weather, not just when it’s sunny and warm. It’s a really great time to try out gear that you may otherwise never test out. You never know what the weather will be like on the day, so making sure you have a great rain jacket and trail shoes that suit varying conditions and that you are comfortable in can make so much difference on race day."
Hayley: "Set yourself goals, things you want to achieve and by when. Stick to them and then let that motivation drive you towards the event. Events like Spirited Women could not be better positioned for beginners. It's all laid on, couldn't be easier. They are really just an awesome day out with friends exploring new places. And if you're lucky and Hughie pulls out the sunshine then it's just gold."
Holly: "Get out to as many of your local rogaines as possible - you not only get great nav practice, but they also force you to get off-road - because you are not always on track during the race. It’s a skill to move well on rough ground (including bush bashing!)"