Upper Murray Challenge train like a Champion

For those who have done UMC before, you will know the awesome climbing and descending on the MTB leg, swift flowing clean water of the paddle and approximate half marathon run defined by the Mt Elliot climb. For newcomers you’re might be a bit worried about the climbing, and rightly so. This is no beach road course but it’s also not a 3-peaks equivalent.

Here are some tips to help newcomers and returning adventurers prepare to conquer UMC 2019. Before I start to detail a training plan, I want to touch on nutrition. It's often the most overlooked part and certainly the most misunderstood. The race is about 6.5hrs but you don’t need to eat so race nutrition is all sorted. If this sounds totally absurd, that’s ok, keep doing what you’re doing. If you’re interested to learn about how LCHF can help you with endurance events, there is plenty of information out there now. If you search “LCHF Endurance”, it would be a great place to start. 

12 Week Block

From the 10thof July, we are 13 weeks out from race weekend. Using the last week for race prep, this leaves us 12 weeks of useful training so let’s break it down. Winter is a far better time to run unless you’re riding indoors, so use the next 4 weeks to focus on running. Only ride once per week for maintenance. A good approach would be one hilly run, one tempo run, and one long run. Coupled with 3 paddling sessions and one ride, this gives us 7 sessions and a well-rounded focus on running and paddling.

For the next 4-week block, I recommend dropping the running back to once a week and focus on riding. Now into August, we have a little more daylight, but quality indoor sessions can be used to great effect (I almost exclusively train indoors over Winter for cycling and kayaking). Aim for one hill repeat session, one tempo session, and one long ride. Coupled with 3 paddling sessions and one run, this gives us 7 sessions for the week.

Now we are into September and the last 4-week block where we start to link everything together. Here you want to up the effort and intensity for a couple of hill repeat rides and runs during the week. On the weekend, or when you have more time, I would start doing back to back sessions such as ride then paddle or paddle then run. Just so you know how it feels and to somewhat practice transitions. A good spread of training would be 3 rides, 3 runs, and 3 paddles. Don’t overdo the intensity and make sure you have enough aerobic training and recovery. Longer sessions should certainly be mainly aerobic.

robbie savage smashing kayking leg at umc

Final Week and Race Day

So now you’re in the last week. Don’t do too much! The work has been done and last-minute cramming will only make you tired on race day. You want to feel fresh. Make sure you’re gear is working perfectly at the start of the week and don’t turn up with MTB or kayak issues. You have invested too much time and effort to be stingy about gear now. I recommend new tires about 1-2 weeks before race day, preferably in a tubeless setup. Make sure your kayak is comfortable and steers properly. And for the run, its pretty simple, tried and tested shoes (trail specific not required) and something to carry a little water. Arrive early and go for an easy ride over parts of the MTB course, not all. Maybe join a group course reccie with me (contact AJ for details closer to the event).

What have I left out? If time permits, strength training always helps so schedule in 2 of these per week. Don’t forget to stretch post training session. And enter the event early. Make the commitment and achieve your goal, whether it be to finish, improve from last year or shoot for the podium. The above training guide should be considered the base of what is needed for an enjoyable UMC. By all means, do more sessions but it gets tricky and I highly recommend a coach to tailor a plan for you, with your goals and time considered. Have fun over the next 13 weeks and see you in sunny Khancoban this October.

Luke Haines (read Adventure Cup interview with Luke)

Revolutions Fitness Studio

luke haines running umc run leg