With about a week before I depart for Papua New Guinea, I thought I'd use this post to go through my training regime for Kokoda.
I started my training in February, with the view that given the demands of working in a professional services firm and part-time study, I’d be hard pressed to dedicate the amount of time I’d need to get into peak physical condition for the Trail. As such, I had a long lead in and my focus was on getting as much training as early as possible to make the colder winter months that coincide with exam time easier.
I began by doing long walks – starting at about 12Ks on a Saturday, working my way up to 25K's + during March. However, this does not simulate the hilly terrain of Kokoda, nor does it provide you with the necessary strength involved with carrying a pack in extremely hot and humid conditions.
So, with my legs strong enough to carry me for 5+ hour walks, I started climbing stairs and steep hills in and around Kensington and Coogee. And for the past 3 months pretty much all I’ve been doing 2-3 times a week is climbing, climbing and more climbing. To add to the challenge of the climb, I’ve progressively increased the weight I’ve carried on my back. I started with nothing and have added barbell weights into my backpack and am now carrying about 12-14 Kilos.
Have no doubt, this is excruciating on the legs, feet, lungs and shoulder muscles but from the reading I’ve done of people’s training, there is nothing more important than getting hours under your belt and your legs trained to go up and down hills and stairs.
So, with only a few days to go I think I’m at my peak condition but only time will tell whether I’m good enough to finish the trail. I’ve heard real horror stories of people collapsing, having to be rescued by helicopters and also some deaths but also stories of achievement and triumph of spirit over body. Whatever the outcome, I’m sure this will be an experience I’ll cherish for all my life.
I will aim to post from PNG if I get the chance. Either way, I’ll see you on the other side!
Check back soon for my next update on how my journey went!