Fitness training for Mont Blanc
Nia Jenkins talks us through how she’s been getting her fitness training in order for her Mont Blanc ascent . . .
I booked on to the Mont Blanc summit expedition in 2016 so I knew I had at least 12 months to train and get myself fit enough to tackle the Alps! I’d like to think that I’m a generally fit person but I knew that I needed to train and concentrate on more specific aspects.
Weekly fitness regime
• 1 long hike (2 if possible!) 5 hours+
• 3 CV session for at least 30mins
• 1 Climbing session
• 1 Yoga session
Hiking is the bread and butter of my fitness training! I spend most of my weekends and spare time in the mountains anyway so fitting in a 5+ hour hike a week wasn’t much of a chore for me 😊 . I make sure that I get 1 long hike in on the weekend (if not 2).
We’re spoilt for choice in Snowdonia when it comes to mountains but I usually go for the highest peaks such as; Snowdon, Carneddau and Glyderau. This increases the number of hours I get on the hills then. I also managed to squeeze in a day on Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis at the beginning of the year and they were 2 good quality days for training (even though the weather was pants on Scafell Pike!)
When I’m out on hikes I always make sure that I carry a large rucksack, usually a 35L and I fill it up so it’s quite heavy. I’ve put in a couple of hand weights before now to increase the weight! This adds to the fitness training and prepares me for carrying all my kit when I’ll be on Mont Blanc. We will be hiking/climbing for approximately 9 hours every day on Mont Blanc so it’s important than I’m used to carrying a lot of weight for a long period of time.
If I’m out hiking alone I’ll always mix it up with some running and power walking. It’s not ideal running in big bulky hiking boots but if I get the chance I’ll always speed it up to make sure I get a good sweat on or just run down the mountain (safely of course!)
Cardio Vascular Training
I used to do a lot of running when I was younger but since running a marathon my knees can’t handle the impact of running on concrete anymore, so I don’t do as much road running these days. Because of this I had to experiment a little with my CV sessions.
Luckily, I only live 3 miles away from work so I usually run home from the office a couple of times a week which adds up to 10k of running a week. I’ll also try and fit in an extra 5k on the weekends.
I cycle to and from work at least once a week too. This usually takes me approximately 20 minutes each way so that’s another 40 minutes of cardio in the bag!
After returning home from a run/cycle I’ll always do some abdominal workouts and squats before I cool down – this helps and improves my core and leg strength.
Climbing is an important one as I want to be make sure that I’m as comfortable as possible with the height, ropes, and gear before my trip to Mont Blanc. I’m a member of the local indoor climbing centre, Beacon, so I make sure I get a good session there once a week. I’ve seen a big difference in my arms since climbing and my upper body strength has massively improved.
Since I’m also a Mountain Rescue team member I get a lot of practice with abseiling/climbing/ropes work once a week there as well. It’s all about being comfortable on the rocks!
I absolutely love yoga! I started lessons about 5 years ago now and I’m completely addicted since. I usually do about 2 hours a week and concentrate on my flexibility. Breathing and meditating, of course are a big part of it but I mostly take advantage of improving my flexibility and strength. I was a gymnast when I was younger so I believe strongly in flexibility and I’ll always make sure I do plenty of stretches after any sort of exercise to loosen up my muscles.
Check out Nia’s progress on her fitness training for Mont Blanc via our social media, and keep an eye out for her full trip report, as well as a couple of gear reviews courtesy of Crib Goch Outdoor World, Llanberis.