One of the most important questions we get asked is "how fit should I be" and "when should I start training for my expedition". Unfortunately, there is no single right answer to this question. People come in many shapes, sizes, and ability levels, and each of our unique physiologies plays the central role in determining what it takes for us to adequately prepare for a chosen objective.
That said, it is never too soon to start training and you can never be too fit for an expedition!
There are factors to consider such as a job, family, and just plain old lack of motivation that can make training difficult but you must prepare for your expedition as these journeys entail a relatively high level of strenuous exercise over a prolonged period of time.
It may seem overly simple, but generic expedition training can be summarized in four categories:
One long distance hike per fortnight. It will not only improve your fitness but also allow you to test gear, see areas you have probably lived near and never explored and also improve your generalised outdoor knowledge!
At least two if not three high intensity interval sessions per week, and you do not need a gym or machines. All you need are stairs, sand, hills, jump on a bike or breath hold and swim.
One good quality scrambling or parkour session per week should do it. Find a rocky head land and spend time scrambling over the rocks, find a good climb and scramble up it or for the urbanites, go for a jog in the city but climb everything you can lay your eyes on!
This is a hard one for most people as it is not often considered an enjoyment. To allow your body to mentally develop toughness it needs to be tested. Repetitive activity such as 20 meter shuttles up a sand dune, continuous step ups on stairs, jog with a backpack or carry an awkward shaped object over a long distance. This is what will build mental toughness and resilience!
It is that simple, however please remember the following points.
Don't push through if you have prolonged soreness
Stop and get an examination if you sense an injury
Make sure you stay hydrated
Seek professional assistance from a fitness professional
The reality is that a great deal of preparation and physical output in the days and months leading up to your expedition is absolutely necessary if you hope to do well, be safe, and have a fun expedition.
A Note of Caution: While advising on what can work well for some people Earth Trails makes no assertion regarding the appropriateness of particular training processes or techniques for any individual. You must make your own assessments and decisions, preferably after consulting with your physician and/or professional trainer.