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Saturday, 17 February 2018

TGO Challenge 2018 Training

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Today’s pics are from yesterday’s walk at Dockray by Ulswater – Great Dodd, Calfhow Pike, Clough Head and return by the coach road. Lots of ice and not a vast amount of snow. No progress would have been made, though, without the khatoola spikes, which worked very well and were worn for most of the day.
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Hennyway – down to business. One of the Things Required for a successful and enjoyable TGO challenge is a reasonable state of general fitness. Some of this can be gained whilst actually walking on the TGO challenge and people turning up on the East coast of Scotland are usually lean, fit and tanned (down one side anyway) – and a bit smelly.  Most of it is In The Mind, but I’m not going to be training for this as I believe I’m OK on this point, having already completed 13 TGO challenges. This is not to say that I won’t have the odd “Oh bugger, I just can’t be arsed” moment, but , hopefully any of these will be surmountable. (This is not guaranteed by the way) Your heart has to be in it, see?
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But then there’s general fitness. I do need to train for this. The longest day on my TGO route is about 19 miles, so I think I need to be able to walk 20 or so. Other, previous TGO plans have not survived reality and, on one occasion, I walked 27 miles instead of the planned 15. This was partly because an old lady told me that it wasn’t all that far to the end and the “hotel” I had my eyes on, on the map, was now a family steakhouse and didn't have any beds.
And some of the days of my 2018 TGO have lots of contours on them – adding up to 4000 feet or so of uphill. I really could do with training for this.
I’ve done this before (13 times) and my settled method is to develop the distance walking by a) walking a lot (I already do this) and b) gradually increasing the distance up to about 20 miles by April. So, in February, I should do a 14 miles walk, March would be 17 miles and April would be 20. It hardly matters how much uphill is involved.
Secondly, I need to increase the amount of daily ascent. This means going to the Lake District a fair bit and doing lots of contours.
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Where am I now?
Yesterday’s walk was 11 miles with 2800 feet of uphill. Clearly, this is a long way from the target ranges. So, quite soon, I’ll be on a 14 mile walk and there ought to be more Lake District stuff as well. We have a trip planned for the Malvern Hills, which, although distances are short, the map shows lots and lots of lovely contours.
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What about other stuff? I don’t think I need to train for wild camping or cooking or the intermittent boozing that sometimes happens on a TGO (my TGO’s anyway) We have camping trips planned anyway – some wild, some not so wild and some pretty tame.
I’m hoping that documenting any progress that might take place might be helpful to any prospective TGO challengers out there. The key message from me is to do lots and lots of walking. Get a dog. Lose a bit of weight (I’ve gone from 86kg to just under 78 kg. Any more and my diabetic nurse might panic. My cardiac nurse will probably just send her weighing scales to be serviced.) (This doesn’t sound good, does it?)
This is not rocket science – it’s just general hill-fitness. The wild camping, in my view, is just camping without a tap or toilets. Carrying the loads is also a matter of conditioning and fitness – you just have to do it till it stops being impossibly difficult. Reducing the load helps a lot, though, and this is often a matter of experience and listening to good advice.
As far as the kit is concerned – I’m an utter idiot. My tent is heavy but comfy, I take heavy alcohol, my pack is second-hand, I take maps…….. but I’m seriously considering a kilt. Watch this space ------------->
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2 comments:

Louise said...

I can do the walking bit, but see those brown squiggly lines? Utter baskets they are, get me everytime. Nice shiny new pack though, lots of padding and less space so I can't carry too much, just enough. Going to try butteries and belvita soft bakes for breaky this year, pasta with heinz cup-a-soup mixed together followed by apple and custard for dinner. And I may carry a bit my dark, dark chocolate. With a bit of mint in the middle.
Maybe I'll get across this year.

Dawn Linney said...

Doing good Mike. Keep going like that and you will a lean and fit racing snake! Lucky looks a little disgruntled but I am sure he is enjoying all those walkies really!!