Many of our dear blogging friends have asked us to share our Kilimanjaro training regime, and while we are no sports doctors or fitness experts, we have collected a variety of tips and tricks from fellow ‘Kili’ conquerors, and the going to date is, so far…so good.
If you Google “training for Kilimanjaro” you will find a whole collection of weird and wonderful techniques, with some people recommending a military like regime with a strict diet and brutal training sessions, and others advising you to simply eat healthy foods and hike in the fresh air.
We decided to take the advice of our business partner in Tanzania, Mr Nicholas Minja, who first climbed Mount Kilimanjaro at the age of 13, and has climbed it over 300 times since! His advice is simple, preparation is everything, and while Kilimanjaro is not a technical climb, it is both physically and mentally demanding, and if we expect to get to the top, our Cardio Vascular fitness levels need to be high.
Altitude sickness and lack of oxygen sees up to 50 percent of climbers fail in their mission to conquer Kili, and surprisingly, perhaps, it is the 20s-30s age group that has the highest rate of failure. Why, well it seems we like to compete and race against each other at that age, and rushing up Kilimanjaro equals disaster!
We have been advised that Pole-Pole (slowly slowly) is the way to do it, and by taking the longer 7-day route we hope our bodies will have the opportunity to acclimatize.
And so to our training regime… Well, it is pretty simple really. We have the added advantage of owning a house in the Austrian Alps so we made this our base camp and go hiking every second day in the mountains. Based at 800 metres above sea level, we are already used to a slightly lower oxygen level, and hike up to around 2500 metres. As the week’s progress, we hike higher and for longer, and in the 10 days before leaving for Kilimanjaro, we will hike everyday for around 5 hours.
At the moment, we either cycle or run on our in-between days. Nicolas has recommended morning jogging to put our heart and lungs in prime condition for the climb. As early risers, this has worked out really well for us, and by heading out first thing, you get to see a whole range of beautiful deer’s and mountain creatures! Our morning jogs will also become a daily addition from day 10.
When it comes to our diet, nothing has changed. We grow our own vegetables, and eat exceptionally healthy all year round, but one vice we refuse to give up, is a bottle of wine every now and again!
Have we done enough? Will we make it to Uhuru Peak? Well, only time will tell, but we have given ourselves the best possible chance, and now it is up to the mighty Kilimanjaro to decide!