Going into your ski or snowboard season when you’re unfit sucks and it’s even worse when it’s you’re only going for a holiday. It’ll take a while to really get your legs together and you run a far higher risk of sustaining an injury.
I’ve done plenty of things pre-season to keep my fitness up. One of my favorites was rowing. I don’t think I’ve ever gone into a snowboard trip as ready to shred as when I was rowing several times per week. The strength you build in your legs and core really is great preparation.
This year though I’ve been trying something a little different. I say “trying”, but really this has turned into a bit of an obsession. You may well have noticed the massive rise in popularity of muddy obstacle adventure races; the likes of Spartan Sprint, Tough Guy, Tough Mudder, Total Warrior, etc. I’ve made it my mission this summer to take part in as many of those as I possibly can.
I’ve found training for them a lot of fun. I’ve been getting a fair few kilometers underneath me – three to four runs of 7km-15km per week, as well as a lot of strength exercises – press ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, dips, etc. I enjoy training in the outdoors, so haven’t bothered with joining a gym. Going to places like Richmond Park has been awesome though, there are plenty of obstacles that you can set up your own routine with. Jumping over tree stumps, climbing over walls and doing hill slaloms is great preparation for event days, and in turn is great preparation for hiking for fresh lines when the winter comes.
The events themselves vary in length from 5km to 20km and some are considerable tougher than others. The kind of obstacles that you’ll face in most races are cargo nets, monkey bars, tunnels, tyres, high walls and often a few electric shocks! Tough Guy Nettle Warrior, for example, is brutal. The 19km course is designed by a team of sadists, with a constant stream of challenging obstacles to climb over and through, many of which as high as a house. But if you want something a little more accessible, there are several 5km races, including Spartan Sprint and Rock Solid Race. They’ll still be packed with challenges but are achievable for anyone with a relatively good level of fitness.