Fitness for hillwalkers and Mountaineers

Today was a quiet day at work so a few interesting chats cropped up. My friend Derek mentioned our climb up Ben Ledi and how hard he found it. Derek had gotten a stitch or cramp almost as soon as we had left the car park and Raymond the most experienced hillwalker of us was beginning to feel the strain about halfway before we reached any serious scrambling up or over rock. I do not consider myself fit. As maybe seen in some photos, I have a bit of a belly due to excessive beer intake but I was running about up there as happy as anything.

The difference was I believe, is that I did a little training in the week leading to the climb. The first thing I did was to cut out the beer for a few days or at least decrease it. I also stopped taking the bus to work in favour of walking and got so much into that I was leaving home hours early to walk around the Loch of my local country park. This in effect doubled the distance I was covering walking to work to 7 miles and walking direct home after shift to another 3.5 miles. I dont consider that much exercise but it was enough to make my climb and walk more enjoyable.

I have the Sport tracker app on my Nokia N95 mobile phone which helps in my training as it logs my speed, time and distance etc and draws my route on a map in real time. This is a great motivator as I now know that it takes me an hour just to walk round the Loch. Each time I cover that route I am trying to cut a few minutes off my last recorded time.

I had been considering joining a gym but since discovering the videos from fit climb I now realize I can train in my two local country parks for free. Strathclyde park has the Loch which can be walked or run around ( popular with joggers ), low timber barriers which can be walked across in balance training, picnic benches for step ups and much more. Its just a case of opening my eyes to what is around me.

All I need now is to draw up a personal fitness plan which is relevant to my walking and climbing activity which most importantly fits in with my limited free time.

The hardest part is getting my friends to join in. I have so many plans for training for free but so boring doing it alone.

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Comment by Ali Alami on January 12, 2011 at 5:45pm
Hi Alan,

Agree it's best to find a friend to train with, the best way I've found to do this is to increase my weekend trips to the country. Also I've started taking the stairs at work intend of the elevator and it makes a big deference. Thanks for the post.

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