Why do I need extra training? I am physically fit.
Is there any specific training I need for altitude trekking?
I run regularly, do I still need to get trained?
Annapurna Base camp Trek training and gym training, aren’t these quite similar?
You are here basically because the question has been bothering you. Maybe you heard it from your friends talk about the training they went through before their trip. Or you heard about your colleagues who faced a lot of problems during the trek and suggested you take training. Or you might have just wondered if it is necessary.
Well, let me tell you all about it.
Mt. Annapurna (8091 m) is the 10th highest mountain in the world and the Annapurna Base Camp is situated at an altitude of 4130 m above sea level and Kathmandu, where you will land, is at an altitude of 1400m. So as you gradually hike to the Annapurna Base Camp, there are a lot of health and body related problems that you may face if you aren’t trained.
We are not talking about gym training or any kind of power training.
All the physical activities and training are specially designed to help you with your daily hikes and the change in the altitude. When you hit the trail you will probably be walking for about 6-7 hours. You will usually be walking after breakfast and will rest at tea houses or lodges before evening. Your body needs to be prepared for the long walks and the increasing altitude.
However, your body has to be physically fit but you it’s not necessary that you need to be an athlete or a marathon runner.
A trek is not a marathon or a running competition, you do not need to hurry just maintain a steady pace to get you to your destination for the day.
Annapurna Base Camp Trek
There are a lot of trekking that you can do in Nepal. You can find some of the best treks here. Annapurna Base Camp is one of the highly sought after treks in Nepal. The Annapurna Range is well known for its beauty. And because you will be heading towards Pokhara before you begin your trek you will get to enjoy one of the most interesting and beautiful cities of Nepal. Pokhara sees a lot of tourists during the peak and the number varies sparsely during the off seasons.
The best seasons for trekking in Nepal is during autumn and spring. Because the weather is a lot favorable these seasons give you the best trekking experience. But if you are a digger for the colder months then it is best to choose winter. Yes, the weather is a lot challenging but you will get to enjoy great views, best deals at tea houses, and extremely low tourist traffic.
Annapurna Base Camp trek begins near Pokhara and will take you through the rhododendron forests, alpine and glacial terrain. As you hike you will begin to walk through a trail that will give you pleasant views of the greenery. Nature is at its best form. The birds, local folk songs, and the sound of the river work in perfect harmony.
As you gradually ascend to higher locations, you will gradually begin to witness the stunning mountains. As you take a steady hike, you will begin to feel the thinning air. Keep a steady and slow pace, do not rush, your body will begin to adjust to the changing altitude. You will be fine. If you think something is wrong, talk to your partner or the guide. It is best to keep yourself well hydrated. Altitude sickness is a common problem.
Throughout the trek, you will see thirteen peaks that are above 8000 m and sixteen other peaks that are above 7000m. Well, when trekking in Nepal, witnessing such high mountain peaks are a pretty common sight.
Training for Annapurna Base Camp Trek
The Annapurna Base camp Trek is a challenging trek and one should be mentally and physically prepared for it. You will have to walk 6 to 15 km, on a daily basis. With your backpack that would weigh around 5 kgs, clinging on to you.
It is rewarding how the weather compensates for making your hikes less painful.
So, as you hike, your body will need to adapt and adjust to the change in the altitude. There are certain training and preparation that will help you get the best of the trek.
It is a myth that you need to be athletic to trek the ABC. On the contrary, you need to be mentally prepared and will actually have to train your body for the trek.
Trekking and running on a racing track or a marathon are absolutely different.
The training that you take is entirely based on the trek. It will help you get accustomed to the changing altitude.
Aerobic Training includes those kinds of training or workouts that use oxygen to meet the demand of the body. The oxygenated blood is pumped by the heart to the working muscles.
When hiking or working out, you can feel your heart putting in some extra effort to pump blood to your body. An adequate amount of blood is needed to make your body function properly.
And as you accelerate, the amount of oxygen in the air decreases too. Your body may suffer immensely.
Aerobic exercises stimulate the heart and breathing rate to increase so that it can sustain for the exercise session. These exercises also help reduce the change of several terminal diseases.
When hiking, the increase in the altitude and the hike will get out-out of breath. If you have had aerobic training before the trek, your body will have already learned the ways to deal with such a crisis.
Strength and Conditioning
Strength training is for increasing the endurance. When hiking, your body will have to carry you, your backpack and climb up and down varying terrain. Your legs, hips, hamstrings, calves, and quads are involved.
The best way for strength training is by going on short treks, using weights, bands or gym machines. This is necessary when you are going to hike for a long period of time. Your body will get stronger and you are less likely to face any difficulties. Proper stretching exercises also focus on making your body a lot flexible. With a flexible body, you are less likely to strain or sprain yourself.
Altitude sickness is the most common situation when hiking. The air is thinner at higher altitudes and the amount of oxygen automatically decreases. However, this is unacceptable to your body, it suffers and demands to feel comfortable. As a result, you feel nauseated, dizzy and out of breath, these are basic symptoms of altitude sickness.
Even if you are physically fit, you may suffer from altitude sickness. This is entirely dependent on how your body will adjust to the changing altitude.
It is quite impossible to train in the real altitude, all you can do is mimic the training. Climbing flights of stairs and rushing back could be one way of training. Also, you can go on shorter treks in your home country. this carrying a backpack.
Also, the packages you choose will have scheduled days to acclimatize. This decreases any chance of altitude sickness. Altitude sickness could go worse if you continue going higher, you should stop and descend immediately. But, there are actually very fewer cases of altitude sickness.
Some Tips for Annapurna Base Camp Trek Training
Unbiased by the peak you intend to climb, you need training. It is a lot of fun when your body is in proper shape. You will feel strong, and you can simply focus on enjoying the views and enjoying the trip.
However, some tips can come handy
- Drink a lot of water and keep yourself hydrated. Water is the key to reduce altitude sickness symptoms.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine. These tend to dehydrate you.
- A sudden drop in the temperate to works adversely on your body. Choose to wear in layers. This way you can always take it off
- Always communicate well, talk about your physical condition with your partner or ask your leader or the tour guide. Do not take any symptoms for granted.
- Again, this isn’t a race, there is no point in rushing. Take your time to hike, take slow and steady pace. This is the best way to hike. You will reach your targeted destination on time and your body will not be working overtime.
Annapurna Base Camp Trek is once in a lifetime experience. You will return with beautiful memories if you are physically and mentally fit. With a positive attitude, there is nothing that you can’t achieve.
If you are fit and stronger, the trip is a lot interesting.
With proper acclimatization, you will get accustomed to the increasing altitude too. Proper hydration and steady pace will keep you motivated. These are things that you will be doing the trek.
You will need to prepare to actually commence your trek. Training is trek specialized and they are compulsory if you want to succeed and enjoy the trek.