The secret to completing an endurance trek like the Kokoda Trail is all about preparation way before you set foot on the track. So here are ten fitness tips for getting your body and mind ready.
1. Ensure you do 6-8 hour day treks with pack, fortnightly, for at least 3-6 months prior to departure.
2. Ensure you train in all weather conditions on bush hills and stairs.
3. Train for emotional toughness by giving yourself mindless challenges to test yourself in readiness. Eg: ten sets of your most hated stairs trying to go up faster each time.
4. To prevent blisters on the trail wear your boots in training.
5. Start with a light pack in training and build up until you can carry at least 5kg more than you’re required to carry on your trek.
6. Include high intensity interval training to maximise your efficiency and results. Three hours with a pack on hills and stairs is as good as six hours trekking along a flat track without a pack.
7. Set yourself goals like an overnight trek with a full pack 8-10 weeks before you depart.
8. Get your gear list and ensure you train in the gear so that you know how to use it and what is likely to chafe or be uncomfortable on the trek.
9. Use trekking poles when you carry a heavy pack in training. This will prevent injury, and give you an upper body workout at the same time.
10. Ensure you do at least three cardiovascular sessions per week, and include core and stretching.