The first, and arguably the most important, piece of advice I can share is to be absolutely certain that your whole team has the same goals and expectations. It might seem like plain old common sense, but I’m certainly not the only one to recommend that you’re all on the same page.
Here is some advice from previous competitors:
“Make sure you get on well with your teammates and have the same expectations for the race.”
You will either laugh because this seems silly “Of course I get on with my teammates” you’re thinking, or you’re laughing because you’ve been there and learned that lesson the hard way.
“Set team goals before starting. It doesn't work if one person is aiming to place and another is just out for a good time.”
So before you even start training, take the time to sit down with your teamies, with a sufficient supply of coffee - or wine! Have a chat about your goals and expectations for the journey to Spring Challenge, as well as the Spring Challenge event itself. Agree on these beforehand but also check in over the next few months after you’ve been on some adventures together.
What do you want to achieve? How can you help each other achieve the goal?
Maybe Spring Challenge is an excuse (and a great excuse at that) to keep active through winter and spend time with other super women. It might be to get a taste of adventure racing or to complete the course with flawless navigation. It could be to finish under a certain time or maybe you want to aim for the podium. If you want to win, let your teammates know. It’s no good finding out on race day that you’re gunning for gold and your teammates are just out for a Sunday stroll.
Fitness is an obvious topic of discussion. How does your current level of fitness rate against where you’d like to be? It’s totally fine if this is your first real step into getting active. And it’s also totally fine if you’re a 4 minute per km half marathon runner. Everyone is different. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Just have the discussion so you all know where each of you is at.
Another topic pertinent to Spring Challenge competitors that warrants discussion is….time! How much time do you realistically have available to dedicate to training sessions and adventures?
Don’t be afraid to be honest. These are your fabulous and trustworthy team mates and being totally honest with them from the get-go is crucial for the enjoyment and success you experience as a team.
Spring Challenge Geraldine 2017. Photo credit: Matt Searles.
And, of course, it’s all supposed to be FUN! Yes it requires some commitment, hard work, and discipline but overall it will be incredibly rewarding and fun. In case you haven’t come across it yet I must also warn you that there is the kind of fun that is miserable at the time, but fun in retrospect. This is known as type-2 fun. Here is an article that perfectly explains the different types of fun (albeit in quite American fashion) www.tetongravity.com/story/adventure/the-three-and-a-half-types-of-fun-explained.
Best of luck with the team talks, happy adventuring!