November 01, 2010
Whether you’re climbing Ben Nevis for charity or just for fun, training your body is essential. Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in the UK so it’d be foolish (and dangerous) to expect your body to climb 4,406 ft without any prior exercise or training. The terrain on the mountain is physically demanding and uneven in places and the maximum gradient is approximately 1:5.
The six month programme below has been designed to help you train for your Ben Nevis climb. In conjunction with the training, it is also important that you try to eat the correct foods whilst training and on the day of the climb. Determination, commitment and a reasonable level of physical fitness will all help you conquer the infamous Scottish mountain.
Month 1: Start by changing your day-to-day routine to incorporate more exercise. For example, why not get off the bus a stop earlier and walk the rest of the way? Take the stairs instead of the lift. Go for a walk at lunchtime or walk to work if possible. You’ll need to build up your body to get used to the more intensive workouts later on. I’d also recommend trying to complete 30 minutes of basic exercise three times a week.
Month 2: Continue with the 3 x 30 minute exercise sessions each week but this time set yourself a target to complete an additional two 1.5 mile walks, taking a rest days between each training session.
Month 3: Reduce the basic fitness sessions to x2 per week, but try to include some gentle hills or inclines if possible. Aim to complete two 2 mile walks this month. If you’re completing the Ben Nevis challenge as part of a group, its time to introduce a group walking session each month. You should aim to meet at least once this month to walk 10 miles around a local trail network.
Month 4: Your 2 x sessions of basic fitness should now be including as many ups and downs as possible, and your distance should have increased. Increase your monthly walks to three 2.5 mile walks, ideally outside in a hilly area. Your group walking session such also increase to 2 sessions this month, aiming to walk around 10-12 miles in a local area.
Month 5: Continue with the basic fitness sessions, 2x per week. Your monthly mile walks should now be 1 x weekly, around 2.5 to 3 miles with steep hills. If possible, wear a light rucksack on your back to increase your training. Reduce your group walking session to 1 x month but try to organize a trip to a more adventurous area, and attempt to reach the summit of around 2,500′ or so.
Month 6: Your final month should consist of 2 x basic fitness sessions per week, wearing if your rucksack if possible. Your weekly walks should be 3 miles long and you should try to ear a heavier rucksack on your back. This month, your group walking session should aim to aim to attempt a more serious peak – perhaps one of the Three Peaks if possible.
Hopefully you’re now fit for the Ben Nevis challenge. Have fun!
Saurav works as a Web Design coordinator for a outdoor website. One day he would like to climb Ben Nevis.