So, how do you train for a 6,500 mile walk?
It’s a good question and unsurprisingly, there isn’t a huge amount of literature available on the subject – something of a niche problem!
As such, we have had to piece together our own programme, as to whether it will work or not, only time will tell! The fundamentals are straightforward, as with any endurance challenge we have had to address both our cardiovascular fitness as well as our muscle strength.
If truth be told, neither of these are really too much of a problem for us, we both have always worked out – currently, we run sub 6 minute miles and can bench press and dead lift over 220lbs. The thing then for us is to make sure that we maintain this level of fitness and work on our endurance; whichever way you cut it, 6,500 miles requires a high level of endurance!
But what is endurance? If you type it into ‘google’ you get this answer; ‘the ability to endure an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way.’ Well, I think we all could have come up with a similar answer if asked. But there are clearly two sides to this coin, the physical and the mental.
As mentioned earlier, the physical side of things we are fairly good at already. We are now working on running for longer, cutting back on the heavier weights and going for high repetitions on a lower weight. All of this will build our stamina which is exactly what we need, more on our specific work out programmes to come!
But the mental? Can you ever fully train yourself mentally for a 10-12 month trek? We will face every single type of weather from the heat of high summer to the sub-zero windswept plains of the Tibetan Plateau where we will
walk above 5000 metres and where the levels of oxygen are about half of what we are used to, blisters and aches and pains are going to be daily companions (and the chaffing!), sleep deprivation, probable food and water shortages…
The list of what we are going to face is extensive, we know this. And I think, that is the best training we can have.
Mental preparation comes in an unadulterated awareness of the possible and indeed the probable. We know this is going to be tough, without a shadow of a doubt the most difficult thing either of us has ever done.
There will be lots of times when we want to stop. But we can’t. So long as we remind ourselves of the reason why we are doing this hopefully, that will be enough…. That and a tonne of Sudocrem…. Oh the chaffing…
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