Top Tips for Coastal Challenge Training

The Cargo Plus Coastal Challenge was created to take you somewhere a little different and discover pockets of your backyard you would never have thought to visit. It’s an adventure like no other and thus requires some training and planning that’s a little different too. Here are the most important things I have learnt from years of playing on the coast.

- Stay light on your feet

The key to staying light on your feet is to slow down and increase your cadence (this is the rate at which your feet touch the ground). This will help you skip over the terrain and ease the load on each step, as well as provide you with much better balance and opportunities for foot placement. Being light on your feet is incredibly important for all activities and it’s good to constantly ask yourself “am I light on my feet”? Especially when moving on the coast.

- Run on your toes (forefoot)

Try to land on your forefoot (or midfoot at least), especially on the coastline. This will give you much more control and enable your Achilles to soften the impact/generate power. It should also help with propelling you forward and remaining light on your feet.

- Get out on the coast (specifically the North Shore coast)

Nothing compares to spending time on the actual terrain you will be running or walking on (that goes for all running or walking events). My advice would be to get out on the North Shore coastline as much as possible and begin familiarising yourself with the terrain. Although they all look fairly similar, different stretches of coastline can vary a lot when it comes to traveling along them (including sand). The North Shore coastline mostly consists of relatively smooth rock which can be very slippery in places (a green algae is usually an indication). This will increase your confidence and leave you much more prepared come event day.

- Pick a good line

Once the tide recedes there are a number of different lines you can take. Usually close to the water is where you will find the flattest rock/firmest sand, however make sure you keep your eyes ahead because there are natural and man-made features along the North Shore coastline that will save you a ton of time and effort - you will have to find these yourself : )

For the longer courses

- Train in wet shoes

Different shoes drain better than others so it’s important to first trial running in and out of the water in your preferred pair to make sure they don’t retain too much water (most shoes these days drain pretty well). It’s also valuable to run in wet shoes as much as possible to get used to moving with a heavier weight on your foot (a little water can make a big difference).

- Trial different clothing options

Just as important as shoes, different types of clothing hold more water than others, thus adding more weight for you to lift off the ground. Cotton clothes absorb a lot of water and are really the ones to avoid at all costs. On the other hand, synthetic fibres such as nylon do not hold much water so they remain light.

- Lube

If you're running in and out of the water, it’s always a good idea to wear some sort of lubrication (especially between your thighs and on your nipples - trust me). Salt water is especially good at causing some nasty chafage, so make sure you find some form of lubrication that works for you, and wear it! Vaseline works fine for me.

mark fordham