Training for everest
The first question I'm asked when I tell people I'm going to Everest is (after WHY CLIMB IT?) what type of training I do.
The simple answer is, I’ve been training for it since I decided to climb the 7 summits back in April 2014. That’s four years of dedicated, intense training. Each mountain prepared me for the next one and ultimately for Everest.
Saying that of course, the last six months have been much more focused; working on my weaknesses and preparing my body for the two months expedition.
Endurance wise, I’m very lucky to have found cycling not just a great way to stay in shape but I also immensely enjoy the pain on the bike. I remember doing double spin classes to train for Elbrus (1st of my 7 summits) and now I have three bikes; hybrid with thick tyres for commuting, a light road bike which has been on the turbo for the last four months and a recently purchased steel bike I’ve been adventuring with. Spending hours upon hours in the saddle is one thing, the challenge is to get up the following day and wanting to get back on the bike. Fortunately, I found a reason to jump on it even on the cold and wet winter days we had in the UK.
I’ve been very cautious with running, had lots of niggles and silly injuries in the past that could have been avoided. A hamstring tear put me out of the game for 3 months before, I didn’t have that luxury of time before Everest so I have been running much less. Of course, it didn't stop my doing some sprint intervals and long runs leading up to the trip..
A friend of mine suggested I should get in touch with the guys at fit8 where he goes for physiotherapy and see if they might be interested in sponsoring me. Dropped Kieron at fit8 an email, I was over the moon to hear I would be welcome to work out in their gym in Wimbledon Village.
Only a short 5-minute bike ride from the place, I couldn’t be happier. I joined them on the week commencing the 22nd of January, and I can definitely see a huge difference.
There were weeks when I had 4-5 personal training sessions, on the top of my already hectic schedule. But the guys there are fantastic; they want to get the best out of you. I also love the small gym family vibe, and after only a couple of weeks I noticed they had a strong returning client base. Fun to see the same faces every morning at 6.30am!
Beyond long distances and big climbs on the bike, endurance and sprint runs, PT sessions in the gym, I knew there were less sexy exercises I had to do to prepare my body. I left my rucksack in the gym which I stuffed with weight, set the treadmill to 15% incline and just walked and walked. I also added either a half an hour treadmill run or step exercises with the rucksack. Oh yeah, sometimes both 😀
The PT sessions were great too. My upper body wasn’t very strong and I knew if I want to climb through the Icefall ‘comfortably’ (between EBC and Camp 1) I need to build some muscles in my back and arms. We did lots of circuit training and weight stuff, not my favourite but had to be done.
To top it, I spent the last month sleeping in an altitude tent which i set up around my bed at home. Starting at just over 2,000m I slowly built it up to 6,560m where I slept all week this week. Sleeping, ermm, not exactly. The most I got each night was a broken four-hour sleep which made (working full time and) training during the day a bit ore of a challenge, but I got through.
I’m leaving for Kathmandu this evening. I put my body through hell in the past couple of months and I can only hope it will pay off on the mountain.. I feel ready. Bring it on!
© copyright 2021 by Alexandra Nemeth