5 mistakes people make when preparing for an adventure
By Lisa Marshall | Director Wild Women On Top
Your friend has just posted an amazing photo of her on the summit of an iconic mountain, worlds away. She heralds a flag, smiling brightly and you want to do the same.
So you buy the gear, find the confidence, book the flights and choose your mountain to climb.
As a coach, I constantly encourage women to step out of their comfort zone and create an adventurous life they can fall in love with. But as trekkers, we must remember that preparing for an adventure goes beyond having the latest gear and the travel plans set in stone. Preparing for a life changing adventure requires mental and physical training to prepare the body and mind for the uncertainties of nature, where sunny skies are unexpectantly replaced by blizzards and altitude sickness causes you to reevaluate why you are camping on an icy precipice in the middle of nowhere.
Finding the confidence to plan a Wild Adventure must be commended, but it MUST be met by a willingness to train and prepare. So before you set off to the mountainous ranges of Peru, Himalaya's or New Zealand make sure you avoid making these 5 mistakes.
1. Underestimating the amount and TYPE of training required.
There are many ways to prepare for a physical challenge such as climbing a mountain or taking on a long trek, but your training needs to include the following elements several times a week:
ENDURANCE: Long distances and time on your feet, walking on undulating terrain.
HIIT(High-intensity Interval Training): Short bursts of effort, interspersed with short rest periods where you go hard and fast to build up your cardiovascular fitness.
CORE/MOBILITY/STRENGTH: Being strong through your body in order to carry a pack for multiple days, and learning to mobilise or stretch the parts of your body that get tight and can lead to injury.
AGILITY: The ability to walk comfortably on uneven, rocky trails; rock scrambling and ankle strength. Join Wild Women On Top's Trek Training to get you Trek Fit for your next adventure.
2. Buying cheap gear and underestimating the conditions you will face in the wild.
Resisting the urge to budget on gear can literally save your life. Having quality trekking boots and clothing allows you to withstand all weather conditions, including torrential downpours and blizzards. After the purchase, you must trail and break in your equipment. A good pair of trail runners or hiking boots should be fitted by a specialist and worn for at least 2 months prior to departure to prevent blisters. Usually, you will go up 1/2 to 1 size bigger than your usual shoes. This is because as you trek your feet will swell, and you may wear liner socks plus trekking socks so you will need the extra room. Check out our exclusive Wild Women On Top Paddy Pallin offer to save you 20% on your gear and equipment.
3. Wanting to CONTROL everything.
Be prepared to relinquish all control to the wild, as conditions are completely at the mercy of the weather gods. Do your best to focus on the things you CAN control such as nutrition, mental health, emotions and hydration and ignore those that you CAN'T; weather, itinerary changes and the emotional state of others travelling with you. This will ensure you are in the best shape to cope with the unexpected. When unexpected situations arise, take a deep breath and trust the advice of your guide. Remember your guide is an expert in ensuring you make it back home safely.
4. Failing to plan…and then worrying about it.
Physical and mental training is not the only preparation that needs to be done before your departure. Minimisation of stress is paramount in a life changing adventure so as a coach I advise my clients to prioritise training, sleep and nutrition in the months prior and leave the last couple of weeks for general TO-DO's.
Once you walk out the door, switch off! Your guide will be contactable in an emergency and all other distractions such as social media should be left behind to ensure you can truly immerse yourself in the wild, trusting everything on the homefront is sorted.
5. Being consumed by the "What If’s"
You’ve put in the training, got the gear, sorted the kids, packed your bags and you are ready to go, but you can't ignore the crippling anxiety.
What if I get altitude sickness? What if I can’t keep up with the team? What if it rains? What if I get blisters? What if I don’t get to the summit?
These questions, whilst completely natural are poison to your self-confidence and potentially your adventure. Take a deep breath and be confident in yourself and the preparation you have done. But remember, you are not doing this alone. Ask for help when you need it, ask questions when you are unsure and trust in your guide.
The trek is a journey, one which will teach many lessons about yourself and the wonderful things you are capable of.