In this article we look at using running to get fit for adventure holidays. And how training for activity breaks is well recommended. Not only will you find your adventure easier but you will get more out of the holiday if you are in good shape.
Adventure sports holidays are a great way to get away from it all, experience something new and challenge yourself physically. But it can be a daunting prospect if it’s something you’ve not done before. Even more so if you know that your general fitness is not that great.
It’s important to be in good shape before you go away. Otherwise you might find yourself struggling to keep up with fellow hikers, having to ditch your skiing at lunch time or not making it out on the water for your second day of a surf holiday.
Not only will you struggle to keep up, but if you are out of shape you will have to deal with aching muscles. Plus the less fit you are the more chance you will pick up an injury.
Running is one of the best ways to get in shape as it improves your overall fitness very quickly and effectively. Furthermore, jogging is weight bearing so it strengthens bones and builds muscle, both of which help when doing action sports – particularly if you will be taking a few spills.
Here’s how to get into running and some ways it will help with training for activity breaks.
Pretty much anyone can start running. It is one of the most accessible sports around as the only specialist equipment required is a good pair of running shoes. Check out this article about running gear you need to start jogging for lots more tips.
When buying running footwear we’d always suggest you research properly – getting the right trainers for your feet and gait will make a huge difference. First up not any old trainers will do, at the very least avoid flat soled sneakers as these will do more harm than good.
Specialist running shops, such as my local store RUN in Hove, will give you plenty of good advice. But you will end up with some expensive trainers. While any old pair of trainers won’t do, cheap running footwear can be found (just not in the specialist shops!).
Every foot and ever runner is unique plus there are a variety of running styles. So the bewildering amount of options can be daunting. For example, you ‘should’ consider the height of your foot arch, your running gait, and various other factors to get the right trainers for you.
However, if you are just starting out it is likely you will be building up to five kilometres and then pushing a little beyond that. Expensive, specialist, gait appropriate trainers will suit your style better and help you avoid injury. But until you start clocking up more than 10 or 15 kilometres a week you can do without them when training for activity breaks.
Once you have your shoes, you are ready to run. If you are a complete novice, it is best to follow a beginner training programme such as the NHS couch to 5k plan. Furthermore, if you’ve any health concerns consult your doctor before running to get fit for adventure holidays.
Beginner programmes are designed to help you build your fitness slowly. This is important as if you try to go too fast, too soon, you will leave yourself prone to injury and frustrated with your new sport.
That said, you can go a little faster than the programme says, as long as you are willing to fall back if the going gets tough. Being able to run 5k in 30-40 minutes is a good goal for general fitness, and will take most people around two months to achieve from nothing.
If you get into running then you should stretch to reduce aches and avoid injuries. Mobility bands will increase the range and depth of stretches and can also be used to strengthen specific muscles. Yoga is very good at loosening muscles after a run, it also improves strength and balance which are useful training for activity breaks.
While running to get fit for adventure holidays is a good start it is not the entire picture. It will improve your overall fitness but remember it won’t target the muscles needed for your sport of choice. So do specific exercises, for example planks and squats for snowboarding fitness or push ups and pull ups to improve climbing strength.
Running can, and often does, put quite a lot of additional stress and strain on your muscles and joints. If you are new too it you are likely to get various aches and pains. These could be caused by your trainers so this is possibly a sign that it is time to visit a specialist store. But some aches will be avoided by stretching or yoga after a run.
Many pains are caused by inflammation due to repetitive impact rather than muscle strains. When I was getting persistent knee issues through inflammation my doctor recommended taking ibuprofen before going running which worked wonders. Or for a more natural solution hemp lotion is reported to work wonders for aches and pains.
Also where you run makes a difference. If you are pounding the pavement there is zero give and your feet come down in the same spot every step. Running off road is a little more forgiving, not only is the ground often softer but you feet and body are constantly adjusting so the impact is not always the same.
Many people find the first few times running a struggle. The key is not to go to far or fast, as while you can do it you will feel so bad after it could put you off running again. Running quickly gets easier, so persevere – after all if Forrest Gump, leg braces and all, can run anyone can.
Once you have got over the initial ‘fitness hump’ and started to feel more comfortable, you will start to enjoy going for a jog. I find running gives me time to think, some people listen to music or a podcast but most feel it helps them mentally as well as physically. Just take care to not get hooked as running is surprisingly addictive!
Being out in the open air, with the wind in your hair as you speed along under your own steam is a fantastic feeling. And running to get fit for adventure holidays gives you a taste of those magical endorphins you’ll get during your adventure sports holidays.
Running is probably the best training for activity breaks. It can give you the strength, confidence and power you need to have the adventures you crave – and running gets you fit, fast!
We hope you found this guide to running to get fit for adventure holidays useful and interesting. If you want to book an active break then check out our action sport and adventure holidays from around the world.