EMBRACE YOUR INNER BEGINNER: tips on adventure sports for beginners

Have you ever dreamt of tackling an outdoor activity like rock climbing or trail running, only to quickly conjure up a long list of reasons why you couldn’t?

“I could never run an ultramarathon – I’m way too unfit!”

“I’m too old to start canyoning!”

“I’d love to kayak but I just don’t have the time!”

“Skiing seems like fun but it’s super expensive!”

While some of these reasons are totally valid, often it’s simply a matter of not knowing how to incorporate a new activity into your life, or where to start. And, if you have trouble getting started, you’ll end up in a vicious cycle of desperately wishing you were more adventurous all the while remaining indoors – glued to your couch, binge-watching Netflix.

So, how can you overcome never feeling ready? How can you become the gutsy gal you were born to be?  Here are out top tips on adventure sports for beginners:

Start small – Let’s say that your ultimate goal is to run an ultramarathon. If you haven’t been for a run since that time you puked during Year 7 cross country, the thought of completing an ultramarathon is probably pretty daunting. Hold it right there! It’s all about baby steps. Starting with a lunchtime walk every other day, you’ll quickly progress to a jog and before you know it, you’ll have the endurance to complete a 10km run. ​

If you do a quick google search, you’ll find a ton of resources to get you started in your chosen activity. The Couch to 5k app, for example, provides training plans to help almost anyone run 5km within 9 weeks, regardless of their initial fitness level. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you should be great at something from the outset. But professional sportswomen don’t just wake up one day having perfected their craft, and neither do we mere mortals! By starting small, you’ll either progress in an activity you love or you’ll discover that it’s not for you and move onto something else.

Join an outdoor group – Connecting with like-minded women is a fantastic way to get motivated. You’ll find these adventurous women at meetup events and in outdoor groups popping up all across New Zealand. Some such groups are: Wellington Intrepid Ladies, Hiking New Zealand, and Auckland Women’s Tramping Group. There are groups for every activity under the sun – from kayaking to climbing. They often have low membership costs, cater for a wide range of skills, and are a source of local and technical knowledge that is invaluable when getting started. You’ll soon discover a network of women with a wealth of experience and you may even make lifelong friends!  Groups are the perfect starting place in adventure sports for beginners.

Be open to opportunity – You’ve begun taking small steps and have surrounded yourself with supportive women. Now it’s important to pay attention to any opportunities for adventure that arise in your daily life. Got a spare couple of hours one Saturday morning? Go for a bike ride! Been invited rock climbing by a friend? Let them show you the ropes! Had a great meetup event pop into your inbox? Jump right in and commit. Rather than making the same old excuses, think of all there is to be gained from embracing opportunity.

Get off the couch, grab some fresh air and try something new! What have you got to lose?

Words by Amy O’Toole

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