Training for the ocean next year started pretty soon after I got back in June, as much for the need to focus my mind and start shedding the ‘ocean weight’ I had put on for this year’s row. My physical preparation is being masterminded by the brilliant team at Core Cambridge, a friendly crew of sports physios and strength and conditioning coaches. They got me expedition-ready in 2010/2011, the highlight of which was my very own
pain training camp. Here’s a glimpse:
The same focus applies now – we are working on improving core strength and stability, and building muscular power and endurance, fixing the dodgy bits along the way. Those dodgy bits are hangovers from the cycling and kayaking last year – a squealy lower back and grumbly rotator cuff (shoulder), both of which are important for my journeying. Part of that came through the miles I was doing, loads I was carrying and lack of rest days I had en route, but part (and here I hang my head in shame) was probably due to my flexible (read lazy) approach to stretching.
I love the focus of weights-based training and the instancy of the feedback, too – you can either lift it or or you can’t. Equally I enjoy seeing progress over the sessions, seeing how many baby elephants* I can deadlift and how far I can push myself.
Monday nights, when I am at home, are all about a group circuits session – led by local triathlon greats, the inspire2tri team. After so much of my expedition and training happens in solitude it is lots of fun and very motivational to be leaping about with others.
Besides the strength conditioning, the rest of my physical training at the moment is a mix of swimming and rowing, with everything from intervals to mile-building. Having picked up Nelson (my kayak) this week from his original home Rockpool Kayaks in Wales, I look forward to getting some mileage on the water, too and with Hercules back from an MOT at MSG bikes recently I am looking forward to clocking up some miles as well.
*Not real baby elephants, you understand – they don’t have too many of them in Cambridge.