Now that I'm just about 20 weeks away from my third trek up Kilimanjaro, a lot of people have been asking me about my training routine. Getting fit is my life's work but with this upcoming challenge I have kicked it into high gear.
Getting to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest peak at 19,343 feet, takes a mix of strength, stamina and spirit.
First, I need the strength to support my body. Somehow, this is the first thing I omit from my workouts. I favor cardio in all forms than strength training. However, when I add it in twice a week (as per my trainer Heather Worthy, http://www.worthyfitness.com/), I feel able to support my body better.
Second, I need stamina. The journey up Kilimanjaro is five and a half days up and one and a half days down (you walk up slowly so your body can acclimatize, you race down because you really want a hot shower and a cold beer). Summit day alone is 12 to 15 hours of hiking, which begins at midnight, takes you to Uhuru Peak and half-way back down the mountain. So each week I include some endurance activities such as Spinning class and a long hike. I mix in lower impact cardio (such as walking or the elliptical trainer) because of my size.
Third, I need spirit. I work with my yoga instructor Reina Tendler to train my inner-self for the journey ahead. I love yoga for a lot of reasons. First, it helps me focus on my goal (or intention) by visualizing it. I gain flexibility and strength in yoga. There is a tremendous amount of breath work, which at 19,343 feet (where there is half as much oxygen as there is at sea level), it is important to feel like you are in control of your breath (so it doesn't control you). For me, the real power in yoga is how I realize I have everything in my body to succeed.
Each week, I try to up the intensity or duration of each activity so I'll be ready for Kilimanjaro in August. Also, I'll be "checking-in" on Facebook to hold my self accountable for my workouts. (Click here to add me as a Facebook friend)
Here's a look at my current routine:
Monday: Low impact cardio + strength circuit
Tuesday: Interval training (2 minutes walking up hill, 2 minutes jogging, repeat)
Wednesday: Low impact cardio + yoga
Friday: Rolling staircase/uphill walk + strength circuit
Saturday or Sunday: Long hike
Off to the gym I go!
(This is Kara's personal routine. Be sure to consult with a doctor before taking on a physical activity.)