Everest Base Camp training – here is a description of the first 3 months of 12 months of training to Everest Base Camp
View on the way to Everest Base Camp

View on the way to Everest Base Camp

It’s called periodisation and what this means is to chunk your training into bite sized chunks, or goals that are achievable and attainable.  You are not going to be ready for a trek to Everest Base Camp overnight.  Your Everest Base Camp Training needs to be specific to the requirements of the trek.  What’s hard about it?  It is not a technical walk, but it is high, 5,300 meters high and the air is thin.  How thin?  50% as much oxygen in your air if you are comparing it to sea level oxygen levels.  I live by the sea.  Climb another 500 meters and you are ‘in the death zone’ – 1/3 oxygen of the air we breath at sea level.  Can I still hike for extended periods? I used to many years ago (OMG was that really 15+ years ago?)  How would I fare with half as much oxygen – I really can not imagine that.  So all I can do is use the expertise I have as a PT to plan out my training, and ask questions along the way.
As time goes on the training will change as I get fitter and closer to my ultimate goal.   My ultimate goal is to be able to:
  • trek for up to 10 hours a day,
  • with around 8 kilos on my back,
  • in all types of weather,
  • with every reducing levels of oxygen available to me
  • for 10 days straight
 I need to be able to hike when I’m feeling sick and head achey. I need to keep my thoughts to myself when someone is irritating me (my hiking buddies).   I need to be fitter in mind and body than I’ve ever been before because there is no knowing how my body will react to altitude.  No-one can tell.  But what I can draw on is my years of experience in life, that slowly does it, that being first does not matter.  I’m not a big strong bloke.  I’ve never been blessed with a naturally high vo2 max, but I am steely, determined, and patient.  I can do this – just not quickly.  That seems to suit the ethos of the ladies I’m going with – a bunch of ’40 something’ women who like me, have come out the other side of raising a litter of children and now are seeking adventure.
 The aim of my training in this first 3 months of training is multi pronged.  I haven’t hiked for years so this is a priority.  I’ll need superior core strength, thigh, glute and hamstring strength and I’m TOLD HITT training will be very beneficial.  Here’s what I did each and every week for 12 weeks:
1 90-120 min hike / week on a mountain
1/2 Pilates or Bikram yoga class / week
1 water based hypoxia training session – 30 mins
1 workout 60-90 mins long encompassing both cardio and strengthening
1 30 min PT session + 1 30 min interval cardio session
Approx 6 hours of training per week
I decided over the next 12 months I would walk every walk within the mt Wellington park
one of the many huts on Mount Wellington, Hobart Tasmania

one of the many huts on Mount Wellington, Hobart Tasmania

I bought hiking boots to wear on mountain walks
I bought a 4 season sleeping bag and down jacket
I determined to ‘do more’ stuff myself rather than delegate a job to someone in the house – to become more self sufficient – this varied from getting lids off jars rather than handing it over to my husband to using power tools – my husbands skills were not redundant but I wanted to rid my mind of delegation of things outside my expertise
I went camping with the local scouts in winter sleeping in a tent rather than the warm hut.  This gave me confidence in my sleeping bag and also I realised I really was too bloody old to be sleeping on a thin foam camping mat.
If the thought process entered my head ‘I don’t want to’ then I had to.  Examples included getting out of a warm bed/ tent to pee in the wilderness, hiking in the cold and rain, picking kids up from evening activities when my husband was offering too ( and it was nice and warm on the couch)
After 3 months of this training I have to say I was feeling very focused in life.  I needed my business to succeed so I could afford the trip, I needed to manage it so I could disappear for a month and not go broke.  I did all of this and fell in love with Tasmania all over again.  I could not believe I had barely visited Mount Wellington since my kids were born (my oldest was now 13).  I felt a new aliveness and I had a mission.

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