Endurance Training: 18 Tips on Maximising your Support Crew.

You've signed up for an endurance event- great!

Your family want to be there for you at your checkpoints as Support Crew - awesome!

Then you don't tell them how to go about it......Big Mistake.

During events such as Oxfam Trailwalker or Coastrek, if you want to get your team finished by a certain time, you MUST have a checkpoint strategy. Because one thing is true, TIME FLIES when you're at a checkpoint. You can blink and 30 minutes have simply disappeared.

If you're on the ball you can grab your Free Support Crew Organiser inside this post. Otherwise, here's how to maximise your Support Crew efforts.

Firstly, discuss amongst your walkers or team members what your wishes are by using the list below. If it all gets too overwhelming, you can grab yourself a Free Support Crew Organiser here:

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Even if you're not too focused on completing your event under a certain time, these tips aren't essential but still makes for smooth sailing on the day and helps your Support Crew stay organised at checkpoints.

[perfectpullquote align="right" cite="" link="" color="" class="" size=""]Time goes quickly when you're at a CP, resting.  10 min feels like 2min and 30 mins feels like 10 mins.[/perfectpullquote]

The things to consider as a team and then discuss with your Support Crew before Race Day:

  1. How long are you going to spend at each checkpoints (CP's)? Choose a number as a maximum eg. will it be 5min? or 15 min?
  2. Why? (that long at checkpoints) What are you doing at Checkpoints to take that time up?
  3. Are these things you're doing at Checkpoints essential?
  4. What tasks do you literally want your support crew to do? Rather than just turn up and wait for instructions, they should know and be briefed on what your expectation of them is. Be very clear with instructions before the event, so race day runs smoothly and people are motivated to help you before you arrive at the CP's.
  5. Draw up a phone list with all walkers and Support crew mobile numbers on it. One walker could carry this in their backpack and all Support Crew members could get a copy. Or you can sign up for my Free Support Crew Organiser here.
  6. Who is driving you all to the start line? Organise a meeting point somewhere, then car pool it with one Support Crew driving you all- often it's a super early start in the dark, but at least you're all together and turn up at the start together.
  7. Phone call contact - Designate one Support Crew member to be staying in touch with the families of the walkers either by phone, text or facebook posts. (SC should act as buffers for the walkers as they might not want to be talking to family during the event/uses up energy/distraction or it could buoy up morale...)
  8. Phone call contact - Designate one walker to be in charge of communicating with Support Crew
  9. Conserve Energy -  Sit down and rest. Let Support Crew wait on you hand and foot, fill you bladder, get you things. Conserve energy and don't waste it on rummaging through the car or trying to find things. Save energy at CP's for more important things like walking to the toilets etc
  10. Have the team's estimated arrival times mapped out at CP's to give the Support Crew an idea. Of course ring ahead and keep them posted on the day.
  11. Do the support crew need to give your neck and shoulders a quick massage at the 50km mark? Do they need to wrap you in a sleeping bag in the middle of the night and rub your back to keep you warm?
  12. As a back up, Support Crew could be called in to bring coffee/pizza/whatever takes their fancy to the next checkpoint.
  13. Agreeing on the change over shift times for Support Crew - unless they want to go with you the full 24-48 hrs!
  14. Advantage parking spots- Do a Reconnaissance Mission to suss out the best/ideal places to park at CPs so your team can conserve energy, be away from crowds, closer to amenities, closer to the CP exit etc is less distracting and able for a quick entry and exit for your Support Crew.
  15. Gear for each walker: Each walker will have their Support Box with their gear in it. Walkers have agreed that Support Crew will not be responsible for organising any of their gear prior to the race. Includes their fluids/water/electrolyte drinks pre-mixed to their requirement and in bottles that can be easily emptied into their camelbaks (Support Crew's job at the CP)
  16. Set an alarm for 5 min intervals or have a Support Crew keeping an eye on the time and calling it out as 5 min, 10 min passes. You will be shocked how quickly time passes at checkpoints! Its SC's job to keep them to time and give the walkers warning and to help them make a quick transition and get them on their way again. The strategy is agreed by the team and then implemented by the Support Crew.
  17. It was suggested that the team members puts money into a kitty $200-300? and all expenses for pre-requested team shopping lists, requested food on the day by the team eg coffee, petrol comes out of that. This way the SC has the money to spend on the day ready to go.
  18. Finally, arrange a meeting to brief your Support Crew with all of this information. It will be for the benefit of the team to clearly communicate your needs to your Crew.

Having the walkers and Support Crew on the same page makes for a happy and organised event for all involved. It's an incredible feeling knowing your Support Crew is behind you 100% and will do anything to see you succeed. The bottom line is keeping communication lines open and asking for their help, as they're your lifeline sometimes.

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After it is all over, it's the Support Crew that get the biggest hugs. This is team work to the Max!

If you're sporting any new injuries or simply suffering from muscle fatigue (totally normal) after your big day, be sure to consider some Massage or Osteopathy to speed up that recovery process after coming down off your new high!

You can download your Free Support Crew Organiser that summarises what we've discussed here by clicking on this button:

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Happy Walking!

For more information on Endurance Training & Preparation, check out these posts:

Endurance Training: 3 Reasons Why winging it fails and Preparation Succeeds

4 Mistakes that became Endurance Training Lessons

Endurance Racing: Why Physical Training is Not Enough

Preventing Blisters: 5 Quick & Easy Ways

Endurance Training: The Edge to a Full Endurance Recovery


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