Ellen Goes to Everest: Training for Everest Base Camp Trek

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Everest Basecamp – one of the most challenging experiences you could imagine. Few would dare to tackle this epic feat…one of these few is our very own Ellen Macgregor. As part of our online team she spends her weekdays behind a desk but come the weekend it’s a very different story, spending her spare time exploring the majestic mountain ranges of Scotland. Now that she’s conquered much of what Scotland has to offer, she’s now seeking something just the teensiest bit more taxing. Why the madness you ask..? Well, Ellen taken time to discuss her training regime for the pending challenge.

What kind of training does it take to be ready to tackle this trek?

The trek itself isn’t a technical one, meaning there is not crossing of ice glaziers or climbing using rope etc. So luckily the type of training I have been doing hasn’t actually involved learning any new skills. My training has mainly been focused around building my hill fitness, strength, stamina and reducing recovery time needed.

  • Hill Fitness

Unfortunately I can’t spend every day out roaming the Scottish hills but I dedicated at least 70% of my Sundays over the last 12 months to hill walking. I have seen my strength, stamina and fitness develop massively through scaling the mountains and can comfortably summit multiple Munros in one day or spend consecutive days on hills.

One of my favourite hill training challenge was the Cairngorms 4000s. This is where I went with a guided group to summit the 6 highest Munros in the Cairngorm region over 2 days with a night of wild camping. I went with Kingdom Guides, who were very knowledgeable and great at pushing you to the best of your ability.

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  • Strength

ALL THE SQUATS! I hated squats with a passion when I first started going to the gym, now I squat almost every day and can comfortably squat 60kg. I have worked at building the strength in my legs through squats, lunges, step ups and leg presses. I attend at least one or two body pump classes each week as well which always have a leg focused round.

Recently on the run up to my trek as well I have incorporated some back strength training into my routine through Olympic deadlifts, chest presses and assisted pull ups. Although my day bag will be light strengthened back muscles will help make the trek more enjoyable.

  • Stamina Building

Good stamina is super important for my trek as it is continuous walking for 16 days. I have built stamina through my numerous hill days, swimming, walking and gym sessions. I walk at least 8,000 steps a day, most days double that and hill days four times that. I attend general fitness classes three times a week such as circuits and hiit to keep my stamina good.

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  • Reducing Recovery Time

I was recommended to try and get my body used to a reduced amount of recovery time by have a consistent gym and walking routine. This meant I have had to be very dedicated and not miss work outs which has been slightly annoying at times! I can happily say have been really consistent with attending the gym 4-5 times a week and never missing out on a Sunday Munro walk. Due to this I am able to complete a big walk on the Sunday and still be up and in the gym for 6:30am on the Monday!

Do you feel prepared for success now because of training?

I feel confident that if it was just walking up hill for 10 days and down for 6 with no other contributing factors especially the altitude that I would be able to complete the trek with no real difficulty.

Realistically I am going pretty high up and altitude is real and even the fittest, most prepared person can be struck with altitude sickness and have to turn back. I honestly think that turning back will be harder than going forward for me, I am pretty suborn person but of course I will need to listen to my trek leader at the time. So I am going to take my time to acclimatise, listen to the guides, do the extra small hikes on rest day to better my chances and keep my fingers crossed my body can handle the 50% reduced rate of oxygen at the higher altitude.

See my journey at: ellengoestoeverest

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