Thursday 27 March 2008


Since last week’s post I have spent the majority of my time in bed sick. A virus for four days with the aches, pains and temperature that come with it; I haven’t trained for nearly a week. Being ill is one thing, but the break in the training momentum makes me feel instantly unfit aaagggghhhh! Now I really need to get back into it.


Perhaps one advantage of the enforced rest was that it made time to reflect on the progress of the last couple of months and to consider what I need to do next. As everything gathers pace, the number of people on the team is growing which is really helping to energise the whole project. For example, I am speaking with a number of people to create a documentary about the race.


Linked in some part to the documentary are people and negotiations to secure media partners and, of course, there are increasing numbers of people involved to try and secure the all important £100,000 sterling to fund the basic entry fee and gear for the project.


However, being sick in bed my thoughts primarily turned to the training. I realised that the race to the South Pole is going to need my absolute commitment from now on. Training for other events has told methat it it means more than just the physical conditioning. For me there are three strands of training: 1. physical; 2. mental; and 3. survival.


I’ll deal with the physical issues on this post and write the mental and survival thoughts in the next couple of blogs…


The first question is: Can I pull a 200 lb sled for twelve hours a day, for forty five days, in possibly the most inhospitable conditions in the world? Right now I just do not know if I can physically do that!


I have never pushed my body to that extent and I know that I will have to be at a new level of physical fitness – there will be no room for ‘scraping by’ as I have for a couple of other races. I have two months of training under my belt with no injuries and now I have to start the training proper.


Apparently traditional cross country skiing is as much about technique as it is about strength. We will be on skis, but it will certainly not be traditional cross country. As we will be man-hauling heavy pulks, brute strength will be a much greater factor and therefore a major part of the training.


So, I am starting a weights circuit today that I will have to do three times a week. I will mostly use my body weight (chin ups, press ups, dips etc) along with some barbells (squats, bicep/tricep curls etc). I love this sort of training and am purposely doing exercises that do not isolate one muscle – there will be no gym exercise at the South Pole and my thinking is that raw, free movement training will be much better than machine weights in a hi-tech gym. Maybe my memories of Rocky 4 are taking over though!


I will also do an aerobic session each day that I will try to keep interesting – the important thing for me is to train with someone, as these are the sessions I know I will miss once they get dull. So, if anyone fancies running or hiking or swimming or cycling– you know where to find me!


Finally, I will need to get used to being on my feet for up to 16 hours a day and the only way to do that is to train for a long time on them! Each weekend I will have to go for increasingly long hikes, with increasing amounts of weight on my back and also mix in some tractor tire pulling to substitute for the sled. Over time I will include some all-night hikes. We also have some cold weather training in May, survival training in July and I also plan to do a mini-expedition in the snow in August to test our gear and fitness.


I am really looking forward to it…