When I hiked the Hume and Hovell Track in 2019 I made the assumption I didn’t need to do much physical training. This contrasted with the preparation I did for the Bibbulmun Track in 2018 which I was supremely prepared for in a fitness sense. Boy did I pay the price for assuming Hume and Hovell didn’t require preparation – it ended with me getting off trail early because of a knee issue. I discovered post hike that my knee issue was Bursitis. In contrast, Gill trained for Hume and Hovell because she was concerned she wouldn’t be able to keep up with me! We still have 116 km to finish off on that walk and once the fire affected areas re-open, we will.
This year having learnt my lesson I’m placing emphasis on my physical preparation going back to the regime I put in place in 2018. Over the past six months my focus has been on maintaining a reasonable level of fitness which during this time of COVID, is not as easy as it sounds. I’m also targeting my problem areas as best I can. In the final month leading up to the start of my walk, I’ve upped the intensity again and I’m using a heavier pack for pack training. I’ll reach my full pack weight for the trip over the next week. I’m also focusing on my leg and hip strength which was my weakness in 2019. This has all come together in the past week and the work I have been putting in is delivering big improvements – the ongoing residual weaknesses in my legs have all but disappeared. My training intensity will peak over the next week before backing off just prior to the start of the trip to ensure I’m physically rested at the walk start.
There have been pros and cons for me cancelling my Australian Alps Walking Track (AAWT). All my preparation has been based around a trip of 680km in length in Australia’s alpine region with all the steep ascents and descents that go with that, instead I am now walking 260km Great North Walk. On the plus side while it will be physically demanding, it won’t be in the same league as the AAWT so my preparation should be more than adequate.
On the down side there are two issues. Firstly no matter how well you train nothing can replicate ‘trail fitness’. I find that on a long distance walk I reach my peak fitness at around week three. This walk is only 11 days long so I will certainly gain fitness but won’t get the full benefit of my hard work while I’m on trail. The other negative is that due to the 11 day length of the trip, I will will be carrying 10 days worth of food (caching and pickups were going to be too fiddly). Even with being ruthless with my pack contents, my total pack will be be around 21 kg at the walk start which is heavier than I have carried for a number of years. Not long to go now!
When I hiked the Hume and Hovell Track in 2019 I made the assumption I didn’t need to do much physical training. This contrasted with the preparation I did for the Bibbulmun Track in 2018 which I was supremely prepared for in a fitness sense. Boy did I pay the price for assuming Hume and Hovell didn’t require preparation […]