Training for Aconcagua

Hi all! we have just made it to Mendoza, and will be staying there until the 9th of January when our hike begins. I thought I’d share with you the training regiment I went through over the past year.

I have been travelling quite a bit in 2017 so my training has been through a lot of iterations to fit where I was and how much I could work out. The goal has always been to focus on cardio, and to train between 3 to 5 times a week.

Lots of running and crossfit.

At the beginning of the 2017, all the way to April-May, I would easily cycle 30 min every morning and continue with 10km of running three times a week before work. I was planning to run my first marathon in the autumn. Eventually I became a bit tired of this routine. My brother also advised me to join Crossfit, which I did in March-April. I absolutely loved the workouts, especially the atmosphere at the “box” but I had to stop as my knees, hips and shoulders were killing me.

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Crosstraining, cycling and running on my tip toes.

From May to December I have been pretty much travelling non stop. And it is not easy to stay motivated to workout when you’re sleeping in hotel rooms and feel exhausted from the travels. Fortunately a few years ago I discovered an app called Sworkit. And it is amazing! It provides for free tons of body weight exercises that do not require any equipment. I would do this 3 to 4 times a week.

I still tried to incorporate a lot of cardio to my training, with 1h of cycling every day when I was working in Scotland, or running when I was abroad. But my knees were still struggling to recover, and I tried to find other ways to still incorporate running in my training regiment, without needed a knee or hip replacement. I started reading and learning about barefoot running. At first it really helped me to continue running despite my back and knee pains, but I started loving it so much that I went hard into this. So hard that I got a tendinitis on my left achille’s tendon and a weird tendinitis on my right foot, both of which still bug me 4 months later ☹ I had to completely stop running from September to December, but eventually drinking collagen every day for two weeks really helped the healing process..

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Running on the Chariots of Fire beach in St Andrews 🙂

The last month before the expedition

A month before leaving for Aconcagua, I was starting a two week long trip to India with my mum. Not quite the ultimate training month I had in mind, and far from ideal for acclimatization or training. I was doing sworkit in hotel rooms, as I was too scared to go running outside on my own (and in the pollution). But luckily, after India I went back home to the French alps, and I could start training properly. There’s no better training to climb steep mountains with a heavy pack, that climbing steep mountains with a heavy pack. The only thing is, you have to train hard while being extremely careful not to hurt yourself. It’s all about finding the right balance 😊

So I would train every other day with a heavy pack (>17kg), wearing the boots I bought for our trip, and climb at least 1000m of vertical elevation on rocks or snow. The first days were brutal, I still very tired from my trip to India, and carrying this backpack was killing me, but my body rapidly got used to it, and the last few training sessions were actually quite enjoyable. Obviously, I was still training at low elevation (<2000m) but it’s better than nothing!

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The last days before the expedition

We have actually just arrived in Mendoza, at the foothills of the Andes. The town is not very high up but we’ll try to make the most of the few days we have here to hike at higher altitude, and most importantly rest and relax before the big mountain!IMG_20180105_185026