The Everest adventure is bringing together a group of 6 Love Her Wild women to take on an epic expedition. Over 5 days in the Lake District, the women will hike the equivalent height of Everest. That’s 8,848m over a distance of 114km and 44 peaks.
The women come from all backgrounds and abilities and have only met once before. The purpose of this expedition is to prove that adventure really is open to everyone. And you don’t need to go far to find it! In fact, you can even follow in our footsteps and take on your own #EverestAnywhere challenge.
This blog was written by one of the members, Nichole Young, who has been taking a key role in ensuring we all stay on track with training.
I applied to join the LHW Everest Adventure with a fair bit of solo wild backpacking under my belt, but with very little experience of being part of a team working toward a single goal together. Obviously, I was thrilled when I was accepted to join the team, but I was also honored when Bex asked me to take charge of the fitness training plan for the other ladies who would be “climbing Everest” with me.
It felt like a big, important responsibility and I was excited to get started.
A little about my background – I am a registered yoga teacher and a hiking nut. I did my 200-hour yoga training in Bali, Indonesia in August of 2013. I also did a biology degree that included foundational anatomy and physiology, and an Emergency Medical Technician course that built on the A&P I had learned as well as basic first aid.
I started backpacking in 2013 with a short trip in Zion National Park in Utah, followed in the next few summers by trips to the Grand Tetons and Yosemite. In April of 2016, I started the Appalachian Trail in Georgia, and 5 months and 2,200 miles later, I finished in Maine. I’m completely hooked on backpacking and wish I could hike all year long.
When I thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail, I did a little yoga to get ready but that was it. I was more focused on the logistical preparation and planning rather than the physical- for a long hike like the AT, most people choose to get in shape by hiking slowly to start, rather than doing much training ahead of time. Although I got through the first few weeks, I was in a lot of pain and discomfort initially. My tagline quickly became “Everything hurts and I’m dying!”
With this training plan, I hoped to spare us all that same experience. We only have 5 days to complete our challenge – we don’t have time to be dying!
In addition to getting everyone in shape to hike, I also wanted to do my best for injury prevention. I’ve seen countless strong, capable hikers suffer or quit because they weren’t prepared for such an intense hike, or pushed beyond what their bodies were comfortable with.
There were four main components of our program: cardio, strength, stretching, and time-on-feet.
There were several options within each of these categories; for example, I could choose a long, slow run for cardio or a short, high-intensity interval session.
If I wanted to work on strength, I could do a circuit-type workout with body weight (think: squats, push-ups, lunges), or I could do a yoga session.
I broke our training into four 4-week chunks: Month 1 was building a foundation, Month 2 was ramping up in intensity, Month 3 was maintaining, and Month 4 was tapering.
I also provided a suggested number of workouts – for example, in Month 3 you should be sneaking in 5-6 sessions per week: one or two sessions each of cardio, strength, and stretching, plus one long walk with a weighted pack each week. We had the option to combine activities as well, such as running stair repeats which would work on both cardio and lower body strength.
Although we have yet to tackle our challenge, I am optimistic that the plan – and more importantly, the dedication of the women on the team – will contribute to our success. I tried to check in with the team regularly, even if it was just to tell them what workout I had just done to provide ideas for different activities they could do.
Team leader Bex reported using YouTube to get back into a more regular yoga practice. Kate seemed to really enjoy high-intensity interval training workouts – she found some circuit classes and also did some solo work at home. Naomi, as a proud member of the London Fire Brigade, always maintains a high level of strength and fitness and seemed to have no problems keeping up with our training schedule!
By far it seemed the most popular option among the ladies was simply going for a long walk with a weighted pack. Becki participated in a 100km walk over two days early in our training, so she set the bar high, but I think everyone was able to take a few hours here and there to knock out some mileage while practicing carrying a heavy backpack. Seanna did an 18km walk around Lake Como and was pleasantly surprised by how good she felt. I did two separate shorter hikes in Vermont and a longer one in California, feeling stronger with each mile.
Personally, I think this is the single most important kind of training you can get for a big hike. Even if there aren’t giant hills involved, simply getting your body used to being upright while supporting a heavy load for hours at a time can do wonders for your comfort level once the actual hike comes around.
I’m excited to get out on the trail with the other inspiring ladies on the Everest Adventure team. Although I’ve always enjoyed the freedom of backpacking solo, I think the presence of 5 other amazing women is going to make such a difference in mood and attitude. Even when our muscles are tired and our bodies have had enough, it will be each other’s company that keeps us going strong.
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