Outdoor fitness has sky rocketed in the last few years in Ireland, races popping up all over the place and rightly so, I can’t see a more perfect country to get out and about in. I have lived in Australia for ten years, and done Adventure racing over there - a perfect place for such events! Those of you unaware of Adventure racing, its off road running, cycling and kayaking.
When I came home to Ireland, I realised how perfect a country Ireland is for such events - great weather (well kind of!), great conditions, and great terrain! Training couldn’t be easier, and anyone can get into Adventure Racing! It's not for the elite, and it's truly challenging, exciting, fun and such an achievement. Start off with a small event in mind and build on it. If you have children, get out and about with them put them in the buggy (a Mountain Buggy!), or on your back and hike up a hill - a great way to get everyone outdoors!
From around March / April, races start to appear - there is something for everyone. Every weekend right through to the summer, there is something for any level of fitness and what's great about the adventure races is that you are competing against yourself: you are challenging your body, your mind, your outdoors, and you have no option but to finish the race, if you want to get home... :-)
When I did Gaelforce West (a brilliant race in Westport, Co Mayo), it was me and me alone, with hundreds of others of course, I just didn’t know them personally :-) It was about 65kms all up, with running, cycling and kayaking... also not to mention a mountain climb - a steep, rocky, rainy, cold mountain climb! Before the final leg of a cycle I was running knee deep through mud, sliding down mountain sides, trudging through sludge, until I finally got to the finish line in about 7 hours. I was tired, hungry and sore!
But would I do it again? Absolutely!
Why? Because the feeling of achievement was insurmountable!
I tell you this to inspire you - not to boast. I believe everyone has it in them to do something out of their comfort zone. The rewards are priceless and will stay with you forever, or give you to 'bug' to continue doing them, as it has for me.
Training can start from a small walk. It's about building blocks. So get out there, get going! It's fun!
Have any of you mums or dads even done this before? Really physcially challenged yourself? Or have you got any questions about this type of challenge and training? Then Ask Alannah in the commenting section below! We'd love to hear from you!