A couple of weeks ago I signed up to take part in the ANS Three Peaks Challenge. It took me a couple of days to pluck up the courage to officially sign up, primarily because there were only 7 weeks from signing up to the day we take on this grueling challenge. Nevertheless, I thought it would be a great opportunity and one I would be silly to turn down.
The challenge involves conquering the three highest peaks of Scotland (Ben Nevis), England (Scafell Pike) and Wales (Snowdon). The total walking distance is an impressive 23 miles with a total ascent of 3064 meters (10,052ft). The aim of the challenge is to scale all 3 peaks in a 24-hour period, including the time of travel between each peak. So, as you can see this is going to be my toughest physical and mental challenge yet. So, what have I been up to as I prepare physically and mentally for this challenge?
It all started with the gym. I am already an active gym goer, although I will be honest and say that I only go around 2/3 times per week. After signing up for Three Peaks I knew I had to up my game, so I amended my gym sessions to a new timetable with more activities in each session. I have been doing the stair climber (or you may know it as the Stairs of Doom), minimum 1.5 mile on the treadmill and finishing with weighted leg exercises roughly 3 times per week.
Taking the Stairs – now, I’ll be the first one to admit that between the lift and the stairs, that magical, moving box is my first choice, especially in this hot weather we have been having. However!!! Since signing up I have taken the stairs 95% of the time.
Weekend Hikes – The weekend that I signed up officially to the challenge we went to the Lake District and hiked up Scafell Pike. I was super proud of myself for getting all the way up and back down in a total of 4.5 hours only to get to the carpark, slip on the last couple of rocks and sprain my wrist. I don’t know what was more damaged my wrist or my pride!
Box step – I went to my Uncle Ian (an avid hiker) for some advice when I signed up and one of the main pieces of advice that stuck in my head was doing the box step. Literally step up onto a box (or in my case a chair) and back down again and repeat. Its harder than it sounds! I have taken this advice and even done it with a glass of wine in hand (which makes it more enjoyable).
The next phase involved getting psyched up.
Reading – I have been reading ‘My Life My Mountain’ which is an excellent book from the Charity ‘My Life’. It tells the story of 23 people who, in September 2017, set off on a trip to climb the highest mountain in North Africa, Mount Toudkai. Reading their individual stories has given me hope and drive to continue my journey on completing the Three Peaks. Reading stories of their experience from all ages and strengths has made me feel more self-assured on taking this challenge on.
Fundraising for The Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital – Aside from reading I would say the other non-physical aspect which has kept me focused, driven and excited is that we are raising money for a charity close to our hearts at ANS. Knowing you are doing it for a charity which does such great work really gives you the extra kick to take part and succeed.
Team Effort – When thinking towards the actual challenge taking place, I think what is really going to keep me going is being with the team. At ANS we have strong friendship bonds, not only in our day-to-day work schedules, but out of office we work very well together too. I think the morale will be high and even when it gets harder, there will be somebody there to cheer you on and keep you going. This is going to be very important throughout, but I have no doubt that each one of us will be there for each other when the going gets tough.
I will be continuing my training over the next couple of weeks before we head off on the 18th August to take on the Three Peaks. If anybody has any extra advice, please feel free to contact me as I would like to be as prepared as I can!