Training update – late December

Now things really get going!! I’m launching into phase 2 of my training and it’s all about steps, hills and weight.

I hit the stair master for a 10 minute blitz wearing a backpack to ease myself into it. Even without knowing about the backpack, the machine reckons I burned more than 100 calories – just as high intensity as swimming!

After the stair master I spent about 40 minutes on a treadmill. Some of it pretty steep to keep building up my leg muscles but not pushing myself too hard on the first session.

My aim is to get out hiking as much as possible but it’s certainly not a great time of year to count on the weather. So I did a few sessions on the stair master with a weighted backpack over this fortnight.

For my first real hike I met up with my friend Stef and his friend Rachel. We went to the Brecon Beacons to hike the horseshoe, a route which takes in 5 of the Beacons including Pen y Fan.

Stef, Bonnie, me and Rach at the top of Pen y Fan

The first part of the hike took me by surprise – there were so so many steps!! It was amazing how much the weather varied throughout the hike – initially we were in the mist, but for most of the hike the weather was glorious!

Gorgeous natural steps of Corn Ddu
Me reaching the top of Corn Ddu
Beautiful Dragon’s Breath in the Valley

We hiked just under 14km. We didn’t go for a particularly early start so we cut off the last peak from the trip and hiked back down the valley instead of tackling the ridge in the dark. It was a good hike but it is immediately obvious just how important it is going to be to hike as training for the expedition.

I did a 9km hike in Bristol, from my house to a really decent (and surprisingly huge) park, up some muddy hills and then back home. My poor beautiful walking boots are so tired! The tread on them is so worn out from the hundreds of miles we’ve travelled together. Anyway, it just meant that they were INCREDIBLY slippy on the mud. With a 12kg daysack that wasn’t too terrible but with a heavier backpack I predict some drama.

My hike in Stoke Park near the iconic Dower House

The swimming pool was closed for a week over Christmas so I fitted in my last swim on the 22nd and easily managed a mile. Then on 30th I felt pretty faint due to low bloody sugar and so I only managed 40 lengths before treating myself to an early finish!

The Couch to 5k mostly took a back seat over the Christmas break but on Boxing Day I did run 8.2 and it came in at 5.7km which I’m really happy with.

Overall, the training is going ok. Looking forward to getting some more decent hikes in with some company.

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