Friday, 26 July 2013

Training for Hill Walking

There are so many things to think about and hazards to avoid whilst out on the hill, being physically fit ensures you are better prepared to deal with whatever may crop up and avoids fitness becoming an issue in it's own right.

I started hill walking fairly late in life (52) so was lucky enough to have some residual fitness from the 20 odd years I played squash at a competitive club and county 2nd team level until my mid 30's.  The intervening 15 years or so I became a desk jockey building a business and packing on the weight.

Keeping fit and healthy is a life style choice that many of us put lower down the priority order in particular below work. I was no different but now I have more time I do make an effort to keep it at the priority it deserves.

In so doing I am able to walk further and for longer, which in itself improves fitness and thereby rounding the virtuous circle.

The benefits are well document for both short and long term. Short term I feel I am more mobile and flexible both of which can be taken for granted in our early adult life.  In addition the aches and pains that became more evident as I turned 40, while not going away completely, have definitely receded. Maybe a suggestion to me that I should have kept myself fitter after finishing with squash. Long term - who knows perhaps an extra few years? 

Exercise and healthy diet all help and if nothing else definitely makes you feel fitter. If you feel better you generally are better. And if there is something you can do that maybe weights the dice to your favor in the lottery of life , I am all for it.

I now work out at least 3 times per week in addition to leading an active life and any other physical activity like low level walking around Suffolk (not many hills). My first walking targeted training program was preparation for walking the Pennine Way back in October 2010.

The following is a diary, of the extra preparation I try to do before going on a few of my walking trip to the hills to ensure I feel fit enough and reduce chance of injury due to over exertion.

Training Diary (22 Jul 2013 - 27 Jul 2013) for
July/August 2013 trip to Black Mountains & Brecon Beacons

Review summary
Because I have to travel so far, thereby making me feel I have to have a packed schedule to fit in as many walks during the time away, planned rest days are kept to a minimum.

For the younger readers this may not seem a big deal but for those of us on the wrong side of 50 and  suffered from the frustrations of a bad back, fitness is no longer taken for granted. 

Normally I keep myself fit when not out walking by going to the gym at least 3 times a week, including a Personal Training (PT) session to ensure training remains targeted, progression monitored and I do not over doing things. Eating "clean" also helps concentrating on plenty of fresh fruit and veg, not overdosing on carbohydrates, whilst avoiding fatty meat and non processed food.

This approach has served me well over the last 18 months ensuring successful completion of recent trip objectives. The problem this time is I have just enjoyed a relaxing 3 weeks laid next to a pool in The Algarve where the most exercise involved walking to the fridge and opening a bottle of beer.

I therefore felt I was not prepared for the trip and decided to use up the unused PT sessions I should have had during my holiday and arrange four intensive PT sessions in my gym at Grange Fitness to prepare me physically for this trip.

In the space of 1 working week I now feel ready to cope with all walks for forthcoming planned trip to The Black Mountains & Brecon Beacons.

"Feel" is the operative word, the weeks training did kick-start me physically but the main benefit was the mental preparation.

I had lost some fitness from the 3 weeks of inactivity but this seemed to be offset by the rest my body had from regular weekly exercise in the gym to rehabilitate old injuries & weaknesses, build up core strength and work on endurance. Previous walking trips then consolidated this work allowing me to improve fitness whilst walking rather than tiring myself.

Post trip I realise I was being too over optimistic after only the 2nd walk and end of 3rd walk I was feeling discomfort in the muscle to the left of my left shin (Tibialis Anterior). Not sure if this was a strain injury or referred symptoms from weak upper leg/lower back muscles. Whatever the reason it affected my left knee to the point I could not bend it without severe pain coming off the hill on the 4th and 5th walk and final walk. To the point if the trip had been any longer I would have been coming home early to avoid further injury.  After a weeks rehab it has now recovered but indication enough that more preparation is required to establish endurance required for a multi-day long distance walking with lots of ascent and for the knees tougher descent.

22 July 2013
I asked for a light session to break me in concentrating on warm up flexibility and light aerobics avoiding heavy weights. Here's what I got:-

  • 5mins arc-trainer
  • muscle release on foam roller
  • mobility exercises

  • Smith machine squats (20kg) x12
  • High pulls-short bar with 5 kg plates x15
  • 8 kg Vipr wood chops, low to high x10 each side
  • Standing 'Y' shape frontal raises. 5 kg dumb bells x12
  • Weighted butt raises. short bar and 5 kg plates x12-15

REST then repeat

  • Row 3min level 10
  • 30 sec moderate speed, 30 sec full speed. Repeat pattern for 3 mins total (managed 776m)

REST then repeat above circuit once


Not quite what I expected, I got the warm up and avoided heavy weights, but the circuits were a killer with a by-product of intense aerobic exercise. Soaked in sweat, absolutely knackered but really buzzing. Seems the rest has done me good. GREAT WORKOUT

23 July 2013
No adverse affects yesterday from gym session but found it very hard to get up early in time for 8am PT session today. No weights today concentrating on core strength and light aerobic work. We will see how light the aerobics are at the end of the session. Here is the session:-

  • 5mins arc-trainer
  • muscle release on foam roller
  • mobility exercises

CIRCUIT(45secs each exercise - no rest)
  • Burpees with 9kg medicine ball
  • Mountain climbs
  • Stair runs
  • Crunches
  • Squat jumps on TRX

REST (1min)

CIRCUIT(45secs each exercise - no rest)
  • Hamstring curls on swiss ball
  • Abs cycle
  • Calf raises, both legs, each leg single, inside & outside foot single leg
  • Squat thrusts
TREAD MILL (5min incline walk at 6.4km/hr carrying 10Kg weight vest - 2% 1st min, inc by 2% each min to 10% 5th min)

REPEAT both circuits but for 30secs each exercise)

TREAD MILL (5min incline walk at 6.4km/hr carrying 10Kg weight vest - 2% 1st min, inc by 2% each min to 10% 5th min)


Once again tougher aerobically than I expected but encouraging that I coped with it, just about.

24 July 2013
REST DAY from gym which was well timed.  

25 July 2013
Fully recovered today for PT session with my regular trainer. Focus today for the first time will be weights based on my regular programme that I have not done for 4 weeks

  • 5mins arc-trainer
  • muscle release on foam roller
  • mobility exercises

SUPERSET 1 (repeat 3 times increasing weight and reducing reps as necessary)
  • Bench press - 17.5kg * 12, 20kg * 10, 22.5kg * 8
  • Bent over rows - 17.5kg * 12, 20kg * 10, 22.5kg * 8
  • Pullovers - 22.5kg * 12, 25kg * 12, 25kg * 10

SUPERSET 2 (repeat 3 times increasing weight and reducing reps as necessary)
  • Alternate lunges - 7.5kg * 24, 7.5kg * 20, 7.5kg * 16
  • Military press standing - 7.5kg * 12, 7.5kg * 12, 7.5kg * 12

SUPERSET 3 (repeat 3 times reducing reps as necessary)
  • Single leg hamstring bridge on medicine ball - * 12, * 10, * 10
  • Commando alternate press ups - * 12, * 12, * 10

SUPERSET 4 (repeat 3 times increasing weight and reducing reps as necessary)
  • Prone flyes - 7.5kg * 12, 7.5kg * 10, 7.5kg * 10
  • Reverse abs curles - * 12, * 10, * 10


Really pleased with this session. Managed weights I was lifting before holiday. It seems I had not lost as much fitness as I thought

26 July 2013
The final session of the week before departure tomorrow really consolidated on weeks work with more of the same concentrating on interval training circuits, giving a total body aerobic work out

Training Diary (07 Feb 2012 - 22 Feb 2012) for
February/March 2012 trip to Yorkshire Cumbria & Co. Durham
TRAINING COMPLETE - 22 February 2012
Just a full sports massage to straighten out any knotted muscle and provide facia release.

Review summary
Have not seemed as well organised with training plan this time. All the time have felt I am not as fit as I was when I returned from Lake District trip due mainly to over indulgence during Christmas and lack of effort and commitment to get back into gym training routine. 

Start of targetted training did provide an element of focus for gym training but really felt rushed and un organised because I had to sacrifice time training in gym for time spent on treadmill to accustomise myself to walking uphill in flat old Suffolk.

Furthermore I only managed 2 training walks as opposed to 6 for the trip last November.

However, after yesterday finding the training programme followed last November it turns out I am carrying more weight on the treadmill at a steeper incline over a longer period for more time. Furthermore I started at about the same level I finished at on last Novembers programme.

I guess I am retaining some of the fitness built up last November. So providing the weather is not too severe I hope to use the early walks to build up my endurance and finish the trip stronger than when I started rather than exhausted.

21 February 2012
Light gym session, just a gentle workout to keep muscles loose and jonts mobile.

20 February 2012
Don't really feel like beating out more miles on tread mill so nearly persuade myself not to bother. However I pull myself together and get myself in gear and go to gym with Gina. End up doing full training session including upper body, core and leg work. Decide I have done enough miles and am prepared enough for forth comomg trip. I also find November training programme and realise I actually started at the levels this time which I actually finished at before the last trip. This is very encouraging and am therefore hopefull that if I am as lucky with the weather this time should achieve all walks and visit all planned peaks. 

19 February 2012
Again too tired to train. Beginning to think I have overdone things again but at least it is because I am physically tired not because of an injury.

18 February 2012
Again an unsettled nights sleep due to being over tired. Woke up feeling really tired and agreed with wife that I was due a rest day as had not had one this week.Only activity done today was walk to Portman Road from bus stop and watch Ipswich beat Cardiff 3-0 so also had to jump up 3 times to celebrate. 

17 February 2012
Intended to repeat yesterdays treadmill work.

Time walked:- 40minutes
Ascent:- 10%
Average speed:- 3.5mph (5.2kmph)
Pack weight:- 50lb

Managed at the slower pace which again is faster than I am likely to walk on the trip. However combination of being tired and bored resulted in me calling it a day after only 40 mintes,  dissappointed with this but think it is motivational rather than physical.

16 February 2012
Have been beating myself up recently as do not think I have done anywhere near as much training as I did in November. Dissappointed I have not done as much gym work especially as not got into a great routine in gym since the abuses inflicted by Christmas. Anyway, increase weight to 50lbs.

Time walked:- 45minutes
Ascent:- 10%
Average speed:- 3.5mph (5.6kmph)
Pack weight:- 50lb

No time to walk for full 60 minutes but was struggling to maintain speed at 5.6kmph so would have had to reduce speed anyway. Even so do not expect to be carrying 50lbs on trip or indeed walking at 10% incline for 45 continuous minutes so at least I am managing to overcompensate in training for lack of hill walking available in Suffolk

15 February 2012
Gym work now restricted to little bit of upper body and core work concentrating on treadmill work.

Time walked:- 60minutes
Ascent:- 10%
Average speed:- 3.75mph (6.0kmph)
Pack weight:- 30lb

Again worked up a good sweat and managed to increase speed

14 February 2012
No Gym work today or any walking.
Too busy doing other things

13 February 2012
Had unsettled nights sleep seeming to wake up every time I turned over with very stiff tops of shoulders. A little concerned about training tired muscle so opt for a consultation with Grange Fitness with a view to having a sports massage then doing a bit in the gym. By time appointment comes round mid afternoon decide to ditch training but massage on traps and upper back help a lot along with reassurance nothing injured.

Did have a job getting my pack to sit properly on shoulders and although plenty of strap adjustment under arms there is no over sholder adjustnment to lift weight higher up my back. Further more I did not spend any time to make comfortable so ended up carrying pack unevenly resulting in slightly bruised traps.

Decided therefore to use my 70litre bag on trip, which does have over shoulder adjustment and take particular care that I do not over pack.

Subsequently packed rucksack and total weight for everthing without water and food is only 35lbs, so expect to carry less than 25lbs as day pack.

12 February 2012
Last day of snow on ground today. After week of sub zero temperatures so decide to do next leg of Melton to Lowestoft Railway walk between Darsham and Halesworth.Only planned to walk 10.5 miles today but due to missing un-marked footpath and not paying enough attention to map ended up walking nearly 1 mile further.

Distance walked:-11.79miles
Total ascent:-162.71metres
Average speed:-2.18mph
Time walked:-5hrs 24mins
Pack weight:-30lbs

A good test today and apart from aching shoulders from pack, no illeffects on the old body. Apart from ascent almost everything else comparable to walking in the fells including snow.

11 February 2012
Rest day

10 February 2012
Planned country walk today with Gina.

No ill effects for either of us following our trip to Scotland and Dent and in particular non for Gina managing her first 12 mile walk to Steall Falls and a 10 mile Fell walk round Dentdale since recovering from her back injury.

However increase in her strength training has probably tweaked some of her unused muscles resulting in her wanting a shorter walk.Decided to do the next and shorter leg of our Melton to Lowestoft Railway walk between Saxmundham and Darsham.

Distance walked:- 6.07miles
Total ascent:-   84.03metres
Average speed:-  1.82mph
Time walked:- 3hrs 20mins
Pack weight:-      None

No weight carried as a lot of snow on ground and aiming to not over do training

09 February 2012
Awoke this morning feeling very tired in leg muscles.Decided on just a light workout in gym on cross trainer and mobility exercises.Not a lot of weight work but pleased went to avoid me beating myself up for not doing anything and more importantly stopping muscles tightening up.

08 February 2012
No ill effects from yesterdays treadmill work so instead of doing a full gym programme have limited it to warm up, muscle release and mobility exercises followed by some up body work and core training. This took about 30 minutes so used the rest of session to walk on tread mill with 9kg weighted jacket.

Time walked:- 60minutes
Ascent:- 10%
Average speed:- 3.375mph (5.4kmph)
Pack weight:- 20lb

Had intended to walk for only 45 minutes but against better judgement overuled myself and carried on for a total of 60minutes. Managed to increase pace to 5.4kmph, but more importantly kept at that pace. A little tired at end of session and sweating a lot

Great workout

07 February 2012
I find training in the gym beneficial as preparation, as well as maintaining fitness levels for future walks. But without a purpose or specific goal can be boring and very difficult to remain motivated.

Having fixed dates for next trip from 24 Feb - 10 March by booking train tickets and accommodation I find I have only 2 weeks to increase fitness levels along with specific targetted training to concentrate on my ability to carry a heavy pack and walk distance at increased incline.

Following success of last walking trip completing all walks and visiting all planned peaks I have decided today after completing session in gym to get some miles in walking on treadmill at an incline carrying weight. To avoid same mistake I made last time will start off at a steady pace

Time walked:- 15minutes
Ascent:- 10%
Average speed:- 3.25mph (5.2kmph)
Pack weight:- 20lb

Weight was a 9kg training vest rather than my own backpack.

Training Diary (17 Oct 2011 - 04 Nov 2011) 

for November 2011 trip to the Lakes

TRAINING COMPLETE -Friday 04 November 2011

Post trip analysis
Apart from the walk to Grey Friars on the 2nd day of the trip the weather was very kind with clear weather on the tops on all walk days, sunshine on some and even clear blue skies  on a couple.
Because of this one major factor of difficulty did not apply and hence fitness was only tested to the point of endurance, weight carrying and ascent. Even so by not overdoing things on day one and gradually increasing the miles over the whole trip, the walks became an extension to the training programme rather than them exhausting me.
The only day a rest day was required was after 4 consecutive days towards the end of the trip which prepared me for the final walk to Great Calva; over 17 miles and 1250m of ascent in just over 7½ hours.
I managed all planned walks and visited every Nuttall on the schedule, something I have never achieved before and in so doing avoided having to make an extra trip in the future to mop up any isolated tops.
With the cost of travel to Cumbria from Suffolk, this alone is reason to consider the trip a success but really the main success for me is being able to walk long distances in hilly terrain and still be fit enough for more at the end of the trip.
In other words for as long as I can remember I am satisfied with my level of fitness, let’s hope I can maintain it.

Review summary
No training today. Not because I need a rest day, but because I need to pack and buy supplies. Not forgetting printing off maps and route cards from Anquet.
Training is never really complete. However I have done as much as I am going to do before leaving for the Lakes on Sunday, other than maybe a light workout tomorrow.
Question:- Am I as fit as I want to be?
Answer:- No, but when will the answer ever be Yes? In any event it is more preparation than I have done before a walking trip, so am confidently setting off feeling I am fit enough.
My training objective was to be fit and strong enough to eliminate fitness being a constraint during the trip, aiming to carry 50lbs and walk for 15 miles on 2 consecutive days without being absolutely spent. Far in excess of what I was likely to do on the trip in an attmpt to compensate for tougher terrain and worse weather condtions. That is why I pushed my first walk to carry 35lbs for 9 miles on the first session. Seemingly not an unreasonable aim, bearing in mind I had carried 70lbs for 12 miles and 60lb for 21 miles only last year on the Pennne Way.
Unfortunately, at my age, I am not able to maintain this level of fitness and strength without regular refresher training sessions or keeping up this level of activity This in all honesty is neither practical or desirable or even achievable. What would there be to train and look forward to?
35lbs for 9 miles was too ambitious for a first session and yet again I need to learn the lesson to not do too much too soon to avoid any set backs that halt progress
After 3 weeks including 3 days recovery from the set back of 1st session I am comfortably carrying 30lbs for 12 miles and carrying 30lbs on a 10% simulated incline for 1 hour.
Maximum walk will be 12miles with 1400m of ascent carrying my day sack weighing 23lbs not quite the overcompensation I wanted but close enough. Only time will tell if it was enough. Weather will be the biggest influence but with combination of shorter walks planned and options to shorten longer walks if conditions are too extreme I am hopefull I will be able to visit ALL of the 21 planned, unvisited 2000ft tops.

03 November 2011
Realised/accepted I am not going to get in 3 consecutive days of walking before my trip.
Not the end of the world because I have done more preparation than ever done before a walking trip.
Decided to do more "hill training" on gym tredmill. I have already exceeded distance I will walk in the Lakes and carrying more weight.
It is more important to do conditioning for ascent.

Distance walked:- 4.81km
Time walked:- 60minutes
Ascent:- 10%
Average speed:- 3.0kmph (4.8kmph)
Pack weight:- 30lb

Increased incline to 10% and set starting speed to 5.0kmph dropped to 4.8kmmp after about 15mins so increase from 8% to 10% cost 1/4mph.
Not true reflection of hill walking because will not be walking for 60mins up 10% incline. Non the less is seems to be good conditioning

02 November 2011
Decided to have a rest day today. Not because I am tired or need a rest but basically have other things to do. Like go up town with my wife.

01 November 2011
Only 5 days to go before set off for Lakes and still want to fit in 3 consecutive days country walking. Have not had a rest day in 10 days but still feel fine. Body feeling generally well exercised and used but without any niggles.
Went to gym today mainly to do mobility and muscle release work followed by light upper body workout.

31 October 2011
Just returned from gym after intense 1 hour session on treadmill.

Distance walked:- 5.24km
Time walked:- 60minutes
Ascent:- 8%
Average speed:- 3.25mph (5.2kmph)
Pack weight:- 30lb

After warm up and mobility exercises gradualy increased speed to 3.5mph and 8% incline over 5 minutes, then started off on 60min programme. Quickly realise 3.5mph was too quick so reduced it to 3.25mph. Idea is to condition myself to carrying weight up an incline. Not do it as quickly as I can.
Did try to increase speed again to 5.4kmph after 20mins but realised would not complete hour at this pace so dropped down to 5.3kmph for 30 mins. Did manage last 10mins at 5.4kph and apart from being hot and sweaty felt fine.

Great workout.

Also this is after consecutive 2 days walking nearly 20 miles in country so today will have to count as 3rd consecutive day walking as will not have time to do this in the field.
Also realised not had a rest day since a week last Saturday but feel fine. I guess the days in the gym (not on tredmill) count as rest day as I only do warm up, mobility, muscle release and gentle upper body/core exercises.
So far so good. Feel like I am making a difference, 2 more days walking planned this week + 2 gym sessions + tredmill,
hopefully increasing weight to 35lbs and ascent to 10%.
Expect ascent to be greater than this, but only for short periods and expect pack weight to be about 25lbs + water. So should spring up "dem dar hills" with a "light" load.

30 October 2011
Shorter walk today but decided to increase weight by 5lbs to 30lbs.
This will be well in excess of what I will be carrying in the Lakes so am now in the realm of over training in Suffolk to compensate for harder terrain and weather in he Lakes.

Distance walked:- 7.97miles
Total ascent:-   111.70metres
Average speed:-  3.05mph
Pack weight:-      30lbs

Also went with Gina who helped me maintain a good 3mph pace and more importantly no ill effect on her following her back injury which not only stopped her walking but doing any sort of load bearing or impact exercise. After 2 long hard years she is well and truly on the road to recovery.
Well done My Darling.
Today is also the first consecutive day walking carrying a backpack. Not sure I will have time to walk 3 consecutive days this week as feel it is important to continue with upper body and core strengthening in the gym along with a couple of sessions on the treadmill carrying weight and increasing incline to at least 10%.

29 October 2011
After walking 11 miles without weight 3 days ago it is time to increase the distance whilst carrying a backpack. Planned a 10.8 mile walk to Levington and views of the River Orwell. To keep the mileage down Gina dropped me off at Long Strops car park on Bell Lane.
As distance is being increased did not increase backpack weight keeping it to 25lbs.
All was fine until I misplaced the footpath just after decoy cottage and ending up on NW corner of Mills reservoir.
Following the field boundary trying to return to the path proved impossible because of thick Brambles so ended up being squirting onto the road near the old Fisons offices on Levington Park through the bottom of a hedge.
At this point I decide to return via Levington Heath and Newbourne as it was closer to home but still resulting in an increased mileage.

Distance walked:- 11.37miles
Total ascent:-   186.01metres
Average speed:-  3.02mph
Pack weight:-      25lbs

All in all a satisfying walk with no ill effects on the old body, though lots of stretching and a hot bath at the end helped release tight muscles. Matched the furthest distance planned in the Lakes. No substitute for the terrain or even the weather but done at a good pace of over 3mph, but with 1 week to go fit enough to walk tomorrow preparing for consecutive days in the Lakes.

28 October 2011
Light session in gym again concentrating on upper body and core strengthening.
Think the legs are getting enough training with all the walking and stretching they are doing.
No walking today. Will be helping Howard & Lizzie move into their new house this afternoon.

27 October 2011
Feel like I am doing proper targeted training for Fell Walking so fitness is not an issue. (We will see.)
That just leaves weather, terrain, daylight, hydration and nutrition to think about.
Walking on treadmill in gym with my backpack.
Great way of training got a great buzz and worked up a real sweat.
Must do a couple more times but must also get in consecutive days walking longer distance with full pack (about 30lb)

Time walked:- 60minutes
Ascent:- 6%
Average speed:- 3.5mph
Pack weight:- 25lb

Going to walk 9 miles tomorrow with 25lbs, just about what I tried to do 10 days ago when I over did it. When will I ever learn to start slowly and build up?

During today's training session 27 October 2011
26 October 2011
No walking today. Will be look to introduce walking n 2 consecutive days later this week and then do 3 consecutive days next week. That will match the planned schedule for the lakes but not of course including hills.
Well you can only do so much and this is far more prep than I have don in the past.

Back from early morning gym session concentrating on upper body and core concentrating particularly on obliques to mitigarte against last weeks back problem..
No ill effects and starting to feel prepared for being able to walk every day without fitness being an issue.
Well we will see wont we, specially if the weather has anything to do with it.

25 October 2011
Decided to go for a walk first in the morning then gym in the afternoon.
Need to get some miles in so planned an 11 mile walk round Rushmere/Playford & Bealings without carrying any weight other than water.
Ended up doing 11.32miles at a respectable 3.62mph.

Distance walked:- 11.32miles
Total ascent:-   187.96metres
Average speed:-  3.61mph
Pack weight:-      None

24 October 2011
Little bit annoyed I have not managed to fit in a gym session or walk today.
At least no ill effects from yesterdays walk so all set for an early start tomorrow in gym then maybe a walk in the afternoon.

23 October 2011
Back seems to be fully recovered will go for a walk with Gina & Joss and carryng a backpack, but not so heavy this time.

Distance walked:- 7.01miles
Total ascent:-   133.26metres
Average speed:-  2.77mph
Pack weight:-      25lbs

Will use this as a lesson (again) and temper my enthusiasm to NOT walk too far and carrying too much weight too soon.
Have managed 25lbs without any ill effects so do not intend to carry more than 35lbs on local Suffolk walks during the next 2 weeks.
Expect to be walking 15 miles within 2 weeks but this will be at a faster pace than in the fells. But more importantly subject to my progress and fitness.
15 miles in the fells would be a full days walk (at least 10hrs).
Since the longest planned walk is 12 miles, 15 miles in Suffolk carrying 35lbs should be adequate preparation provided the weather is not too severe.
In any event the days will be as short as 9hours 12 miles will be more than enough.

22 October 2011
Rest Day.
Not very restfull though - watched ITFC lose 1-0 to Crystal Palace.

21 October 2011
Early start and go to gym at 07:00 concentrating on warm up, mobility,upper body work and core strengthening.
Touch wood severe ache in lower back is alot easier and can get in car without pain.

20 October  2011
Is a little bit fed up with a stiff lower back.
Just 3 days after being so pleased with myself for covering 8.8 miles with 35lb backpack.
Has realised probably started with too much weight and too much distance too soon. AGAIN!!!
Walked 6.5 miles and no backpack yesterday with Gina but still stiff today.
Going to see Matt Brennan at Grange Fitness hoping it is just a knotted muscle that can be freed with a sports massage.

Examined by Matt Byam who eliminated vertabrae/spinal problems.
Good sports massage by Matt Byam along with slight postural adjustments seems to have done the trick.
Hamstring lengthening as well as core strengthening exercises suggested to help with posture adjustments.

19 October 2011
Back is no better in fact it hurts when I have been sat too long and twinges when I get in car.
Go for a walk without any backpack with Gina and hope this will release what I think is a tight muscle

Distance walked:- 6.74miles
Total ascent:-   148.03metres
Average speed:-  3.37mph
Pack weight:-      None

No ill effects from walk in fact feels quite a lot better. Glutes, ham-string and calf stretches particularly important - again.

18 October  2011
Oh dear have a stiff lower right back this morning will go to gym and do warm up and mobility exercises. Unexpectedly it is the opposite side to my injury last year so thankfully that is not returning.

17 October 2011‎
With 3 weeks to go before start of trip I have decided to start a training programme similar to when I walked the Pennine Way.
There are not many hills in Suffolk to match the ascent of the Cumbrian Fells so I figure if I walk further and carry more weight than I am likely to do in the Lakes I should be well prepared
As this is my first training walk I do not want to over do things. On the other hand I am conscious there is only 3 weeks before I set off for the hills.
On this basis I decide to walk about 6.5 miles and carry 35lbs.
I feel quite strong after about 5 miles so add in an extra loop to extend walk.

Distance walked:- 8.80miles
Total ascent:-   129.18metres
Average speed:-  3.72mph
Pack weight:-      35lbs

Feel quite pleased with myself but do feel like I have overdone it a bit. Glutes, ham-string and calf stretches particularly important.

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