The rigors of a 35-mile adventure race like the one at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, April 18 can take a terrible toll. Heat injuries, dehydration, and strains and sprains are just some of the problems participants can face along the way.

Lt. Col. Kevin VanValkenburg, Laughlin's medical staff chief, who has been the medical director for the adventure race since 2006, offers the following advice to survive the ordeal.

1. Start training three to six months prior to the race, and do exercises similar to the events in which you will be participating.

2. Get acclimated to the climate in which you will be racing. One of the mistakes people make is they get on a treadmill inside an air-conditioned building and then all of a sudden they are outside in a race where they are being overheated. They are going to find themselves in trouble with heat stress.

3. Do not exercise too strenuously two to three days before the race. Only work out lightly to keep the joints and muscles warm and loose.

4. Ensure you are eating well so your nutrition levels are up. This is not the time to diet, as your body needs the energy to function properly.

5. Get a good night's sleep before the race.

6. Ensure you have a good pair of shoes. If your running shoes are more than six months old or have logged 500 miles, then you probably need to replace them to help avoid injury.

7. Inspect your equipment to ensure it is set up and ready to go before the race. A faulty bike or raft could lead to disaster. And don't forget protective gear, such as your helmet for biking and your life jacket for rafting.

8. Remain hydrated at all times. You should start out with at least 20 ounces of water before running and drink about 20 ounces every hour in temperatures less than 100 degrees and 20 ounces every 30 minutes in temperatures greater than 100. Forced hydration on a schedule is the best approach. If you wait until you feel thirsty to drink, it's too late.

9. Team members need to monitor each other every step of the way during these events. Some participants go in with the mindset they are going to finish the race no matter what. Sometimes they need a good wingman to tell them when enough is enough.

10. Watch out for traffic. Beware of the road hazards and the environment, to include vehicles going by at high rates of speed.