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Training for the ‘Big Day’

This article is part of a series of articles I have written on the physical prep and training for adventures that I specialise in. Reproduced in full from WILD magazine, Australia’s longest running outdoor and adventure based mag, where you can see my column on line or subscribe and get delivered to your door.

Here, I describe for WILD magazine how anyone can prepare for those really tough days that push you towards breaking point.

Back in issue 154 you might remember the following table:


You’ll notice that the specific, or as we call it ‘peak’, phase is much shorter than your base. Especially when you’re short on lead-in time for your trip, it’s important to build your base fitness, not your peak. As a simple analogy to follow, your base fitness training can be thought of as a foundation. There’s no point to building anything without a strong foundation, right?

But today we’re assuming you’ve all been keeping up with your base fitness and instead we’ll take a closer look at building specificity into your adventure training routine for trek, trail, mountaineering or whatever it is you love doing.


For this element of the training schedule, the adventurer tries to emulate the stresses and strains of the objective activity as much as possible.  The intensity ramps up, but there are also longer recovery periods to compensate.

In the case of multiday bushwalkers and mountaineers looking forward to that next big trip, it’s this phase of fitness preparation where you would consider loading up your pack and getting in some big days of walking. Trail runners would be looking to top out their training volume (kilometres covered), while also increasing their hill and stair repeats (see issue 155 for notes on training for trailrunning).

Looking specifically at the mountaineers and bushwalkers, this type of activity-specific training may be referred to as ‘pack work’, while some use the military term ‘rucking’. For mountaineers, the focus is likely to lean more towards…

…continue reading this article in full at WILD magazine here.

Joe Bonington
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Joe Bonington

Joe Bonington's mission is to help as many people as possible lead a fitter fuller and more adventurous life by helping ordinary people achieve extraordinary things.

Joe is seen as an expert and leader in his field,  Possibly the southern hemisphere's leading strength and conditioning coach, for outdoor and adventure sports.

He has seen 8 of his clients summit Everest, clients cross the Greenland Icecap, ski to the North Pole, ski tour and ski mountaineering in Antarctica, Iceland, South America and Norway, climb peaks all over the world, trek all the continents and enter trail running , ultra and multi-stage events in the Gobi, Andes, Himalayas and the Sahara.

As well as a sought-after coach, Joe is a presenter and speaker.

He is also the founder and owner of Joe's Basecamp Gym, based in Brookvale on Sydney's Northern Beaches.

The gym is home to unique functional fitness, strength and conditioning, and endurance training programs for trail running, trek training and mountaineering. The facility caters for all outdoor, adventure sports and wilderness activities - a one of a kind Bucket List gym!

If you want to know more about our coaching programs contact us here to find out how you can be a part of our great community of like-minded people.

If you would like to know about working with our trainers to get the most out of your adventures, your events, your sport contact us here.
Joe Bonington
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