Training for the event

Getting ready for the big day requires preparation and commitment. We've asked a few people to share their programmes with us so you can get an idea of what to plan.

The need for a training program

The attraction of traversing 60 kilometres through mountains in one of New Zealand's remote wilderness National Parks whilst running on a fairly comfortable trail has been drawing runners from around the globe to compete in the Kepler Challenge. There is no doubt about it that a run like this is not the sort of event that one can just turn up to and knock off on the day, not without sheer pain and likely injury. It requires training and there in lies the difficult question. How to train for such an event?

A general overview

Different people have different approaches depending on what they want to get out of the event. There are however some basic things to think about, common to all competitors wishing to train for the Kepler Challenge. Here are some tips - for personal advice we suggest you speak to a professional.

  1. Firstly and importantly - learn to run with a pack or bumbag. Because of the potential risk of extreme bad weather the minimum equipment list requires carrying thermal top and tights, a woolen hat, wind and waterproof jacket, gloves and survival blanket. You will also need to carry food and liquid.
  2. Learn to eat and drink whilst running. Work out what foods your body can handle. Complex carbohydrates such as bread, energy sachets as well as muesli bars are good. Drinking small amounts all the time is recommended. Here are some pointers on nutrition for runners.
  3. Allow the body time to adapt to increasing distance in training. If this is a first time for running an endurance event it is a good idea to take 3 months to gradually increase the kilometres. It is advisable to have run at least 70-100% of the distance in a single run at least 3 weeks before the event giving enough recovery time before race day.
  4. Have spaces between long training days to allow recovery and help to prevent overuse injuries.
  5. Choose similar terrain to the Kepler Track to train on. Use trails, which are softer under foot rather than roads. This lessens the impact on the body. Do some hill training and be prepared to learn to walk hard up hill. The majority of competitors will walk some part of the course. Doing long tramps is excellent training as this race is about time on the feet and climbing up and down hills.
  6. Learn to stretch at risk muscle groups. If niggling pains occur it is probably best to seek advice from a Physiotherapist. Everyone is built bio-mechanically differently. Prevention of injury is so much better than cure.
  7. Allow 3 weeks to wind down the distance prior to the event to allow the body time to rest in preparation for the mammoth effort on race day.
  8. The primary important ingredient is to HAVE FUN in your training. Find others to train with. There is no better way to cement a friendship than spend hours on a beaten track together. Keep the respiratory rate to a level where you can still talk on the longer runs and push the speed factor only on the shorter runs.

Listed to the right are some different people's training programmes from previous years and tips they would like to offer.