No matter where your training begins. There are are some keys processes you need to go through. Let’s think about the trek and the different elements involved in making this journey.
– 14+ days of continuous hiking
– Carrying a backpack with 5+kg/ 11+lbs for hours up and down hills
– Hiking for 5+ hours each day
– Covering over 6,000m/ 20,000 feet of ascent and descent during the journey to Annapurna and back.
– On the way down you will be hiking 15+km/ 9.3 miles per day on uneven terrain up and down hills
– All of this will be done in at high altitude and extreme altitude between 3,000m/ 9,842 feet and 4,200m/ 13,779 feet where there is 30% to 40% less oxygen getting to your muscles to help you move.
Here is some training advice for our Annapurna base camp treks. Check out our top 10 tips for Annapurna base camp treks. I have climbed Everest, Kilimanjaro 20+ times, Island peak 9 times and lead 19 treks to Everest base camp.
Distance: The daily distances on the Annapurna base camp trek will range from 6 to 15km per day. Essentially you need to be able to walk 15km a day in your training on a multi day basis as you built up to the trek. On the trail you will need to have a proper back pack with waist strap and you will carry 5kg+/ 11lbs+ with a lack of oxygen in your body, so you need to building up to training with double the weight you will carry on the trek.
So how do you prepare for this? When you arrive in Pokhara airport at 850m/ 2,788 ft. You start hiking up above 3,500m/ 11,500ft entering the realm of high altitude with 30% less oxygen than sea level running through your blood stream and muscles. You have to walk for 7 days to reach Annapurna base camp at 4,200m/ 13,779 ft and then you have to walk all the way back.
Then you have to return back to Pokhara walking longer distances. You have to walk 60km+ return trip from Pokhara to Annapurna base camp and back. If you want your muscles and body to cover this distance in this environment you need to train and condition your muscles prior to arriving in the Himalaya’s. You need to be getting this muscle conditioning or muscle memory in your body, by walking up and down hills prior to your trek. I like to head out once a week walking 3 – 5 hours up and down hills building the weight in my back pack from 5kg to 10kg (11lbs to 22lbs) over a period of time usually 3 to 5 months before my treks. I also add in 3 to 4 other training sessions per week depending on time available. These will range from 6k to 10k jogs, weight training, walking up hill with weight on a treadmill or stair master, bike sessions all using a weighted back pack. The key is getting active and trying to get as much hill work in as possible. I hike at a slow and steady pace trying to drink a liter of water for each hour of exercise. Let us help you prepare as we know most of you are coming from sea level with limited or no access to hills to training on.
Altitude: Picking the right itinerary is critical. We have added extra days on our Annapurna base camp treks. Giving your body time to acclimatize to the low levels of oxygen is critical. These extra days help you adapt to the low levels of oxygen. Likewise when you are training for this 13/14 day trek to Annapurna base camp or any Himalayan trekking adventure you need to train in similar terrain where possible. By adding more weight in your back pack at sea level you are making your body work harder and conditioning your muscles for a harder work load when we have a lack of oxygen in the body at high altitude. I hope this makes sense. If not pick up the phone a call us. We can take you through this key training advice for our Annapurna base camp treks. This specific training will help lesson the muscle fatigue at altitude and help your recovery time at altitude so you can get back out on the trail fit and ready for the next day, and day after that.
Mutli-day training: Getting multi-day training or hiking prior to your Annapurna base camp is really important the closer you get to your trek. You will be walking and on your feet for many hours at a time with 3 liter of water, down jacket or fleece (depending on the day) Rain gear, snacks, camera, medical kit, valuables and sun cream all adding up to 5kg+ If you haven’t been training with this weight, plus additional weight you are going to get sore leg, back, shoulders and generally feel like crap. You need to get out training on a multi-day basis 6 to 8 weeks prior to you trek. These back to back hikes and training sessions will help your fitness and specific physical conditioning needs to make a safe and enjoyable journey to base camp. You need to manage your time. You have invested the money to do the trek, you have bought all the gear.
You need to consider the group you are trekking with and don’t show up unprepared. I don’t want to have to turn you around and send you home because you couldn’t find the time to train. Remember is a potentially life changing journey. You need to respect the mountains, the team you are going with and our team on the ground. So come prepared and make sure you find the time to train and make sure it is the right training. As I always say we are happy to talk you through a specific training plan that will work with your time and the facilities you have available.
There is no one size fits all training plan. So I don’t delay. We need to talk to you individually about the best way you can prepare for your trek. You might be living in New York city, Melbourne, Hong Kong or Dublin. Where you live and what facilities you have available to you will determine the training program that will work for you. By starting with easier treks like the Inca Trail, or climbing Mt. Toubkal in Morocco you will build your experience for longer treks to higher altitude. If Annapurna base camp is for you then you need to come prepared. Please don’t show up on one of our treks without having done this prior training. This training advice for our Annapurna base camp treks is tried and tested over the last decade. I have trained numerous people for this trek, climbing Everest and other major peaks. You need to come prepared. Call us, set up a skype call. We want to help you prepare fully for your Annapurna base camp experience and get the training advice for the Annapurna base camp trek
In the final two months of training before your trip you can add interval training to your weekly training schedule. Ask us for more information and watch this video.