Tips from our Past Participants
Preparing for a multi-day trek can seem daunting, especially if you haven’t done one before. So we headed to our very own gang of challenge experts to find out how they trained, what they packed and their challenge do’s and don’ts - who better to give you tips than the people who have tackled them head on; our wonderful past participants!
Lauryn Gardner (Southampton University, Kilimanjaro 2017) recommends ensuring your walking boots are properly broken in. 'Wearing your walking boots, either on a walk or just around the house is important, because they’re so different to trainers and it might sound silly but trusting your feet in your boots makes it so much easier when you’re trekking.'
Emma Underwood (Nottingham University, Kilimanjaro 2015) suggests doing something small everyday, 'even if it's just taking the stairs instead of jumping in the lift.' She also recommends taking some long practice walks with your small day bag to make sure it doesn't rub. She says 'a lot of the struggle is the length of the walking each day, rather than the difficulty, going on several long (8+ miles) walks is good to make sure you're prepared for the real thing!'
Lauren Brown (Exeter University, Machu Picchu 2017) recommends changing up your training routine so you don't get bored, whilst also helping you improve your general fitness. She says 'I tried to mix up doing swimming and running in the weeks up to the challenge, to improve my overall fitness and also my lung capacity with the swimming!'
Matt Morgan (UWE, Machu Picchu 2018) believes that good training needs to include a little incline trekking, ‘I would say try and walk up mountains. As I live in Wales, it's a little bit easier for me as I'm next door to mountains in every corner, but this will help you get used to walking up steep inclines, which I found definitely helps on a trek! It doesn't have to be super frequent, just give it a go, so your body doesn't go into shock when you see a hill in a few months time!
Lauren Feast (Exeter University, Machu Picchu 2017, Morocco 2016 and Machu Picchu 2015) recommends getting your strength up before you head out on your challenge, 'I would suggest going on a few walks or runs with a heavy rucksack to get used to carrying lots of water.' She echoes Lauryn's comments regarding walking boots, saying 'definitely make sure that your walking boots are well worn in!'
Laura de Haan (Hertfordshire University, Kilimanjaro 2016, Everest Base Camp 2017) thinks that you should do the exercise you normally do, or that you enjoy, to help keep you feeling motivated, 'whether you prefer walking, running, cycling or swimming, all these exercises will help you build up that cardiac stamina that will help you thrive when you’re out on your challenge. Choose something you really enjoy doing, that way you will stick to it and have fun at the same time.' She also highlights the importance of training with other team members, it'll help you bond with the rest of the team, whilst also getting you both physically prepared for the challenge: It also really helps to have a friend or fellow participant to train with. That way your body is still doing all the work, but you won’t notice it as much because you are busy talking to each other! Training doesn’t have to be boring!'
Callum Bradley (Southampton University, Kilimanjaro 2018) says ‘I would do some hiking in England beforehand - why not try and do the Three Peaks! I’d also suggest using your hiking boots before you go and if possible try and go on a camping trip to get used to sleeping in a tent! As a bonus trek training tip learn a few word games/riddles to fill the time when hiking as they can really can distract people when they are struggling!’
Sarah Kulkarni (LSE, Everest Base Camp, 2018) also suggests practising with a heavy rucksack, saying ‘I didn’t try using mine before the trek and really struggled when I got out to Nepal.’
Thanks to all our wonderful participants for sending in their top tips! If you think we’re missing anything, pop it in the comments below!