Today is officially 1 month until we kick off the ride from Melbourne to Perth. We depart Perth on the 21st of September, packing our gear into 2 vans and making the presumably much easier drive across Australia. Then, on the 27th, we hop on the bikes and cycle back the way we came. Sounds a little ridiculous doesn’t it?
I’m both excited and a little nervous at the prospect. I don’t think any of us comprehend exactly how difficult this is going to be. I for one, fear I may have underestimated it slightly up to this point. I remember the long arduous days cycling the length of Vietnam and the oath I made never to do anything like that again… It’s the combination of accumulated physical fatigue and perhaps more strikingly, the mental fatigue we’ll suffer from doing an incredibly repetitive and arduous task day after day after day.
This is different in many ways, there is a huge improvement in the following;
It’s also a lot more challenging in many ways;
This is going to be a hell of a challenge.
The boys are all looking good. Josh, in particular, has been putting in huge km’s weekly and looks pretty set to take on the journey. Although I’m 100% confident I’ll do it, the ride definitely won’t be the relatively straightforward cruise each day that I initially pictured. We’re all going to have ups and downs and some days are simply going to feel like hell.
This has already happened on training rides, including one on Saturday. I only managed 85km and was absolutely shattered afterward, to the point where I felt like throwing up for a couple of hours afterward. I don’t really know what caused this (likely something I ate the day before) but it proved a demonstration as to what can go wrong and what we’ll all likely have to push through at some point on the ride.
This is going to be a true test of character for all of us and I’m genuinely looking forward not only to experiencing that test again myself, but seeing how all the other boys respond and push through it. This is a team effort at the end of the day and we all need to ensure we’re there to motivate and encourage each other to get through the dark patches we’re all bound to encounter at some point.
Am I really looking forward to cycling a bike across Australia? Not really to be honest. What I am looking forward to, is testing myself in a different way once more. Overcoming the struggle and the mental battle that goes along with it. Particularly getting to experience that with a great group of people.
Bring on the Tour For a Cure…
I’ve started doing monthly challenges (again) to improve myself and keep things interesting while I’m based back here in Perth. You can check out last months Cold Showers Challenge and the positive results in brought.
The challenge for this month is to really step up my training and take my overall fitness to the next level.
I want to improve the intensity of my efforts and get myself mentally, as well as physically prepared for some of the challenges I have coming up.
I’ll be training 6 days per week in a variety of aspects and will post every workout I do in a weekly update. I’ll use this platform as a mini blog to keep track of what I’m doing for the month.
This is a way to keep myself accountable and to provide a little extra motivation to push myself. It also gives you a little insight into how I generally train and get prepared for the various events I do.
I have 2 key goals with this fitness challenge:
I’m aiming to climb Mt Everest in 2018. From everything I have read and studied on the topic, the real challenge is the mental aspect, pushing yourself day after day in such an unforgiving environment. I want to ensure I’m as well prepared for that as possible.
Some of the Key Activities:
-Running (Specifically 2x high intensity & 1x long endurance each week)
-Strength Training (With Weights)
-Muscular Endurance (Circuits, bodyweight etc..)
-Recovery (Beach swims 1x per week, foam rolling, stretching)
-Recreational (climbing, swimming…)
I will be sure to test out a few different training methods during this fitness challenge- Crossfit, Anarchy etc.. will probably get a trial. If you’ve got any recommendations, let me know!
Most importantly, set yourself a challenge and find a way to keep yourself accountable. That could be via blog, social media or simply by telling your friends. A friend of mine had a trainer at the gym who used to take underwear clad photos of all his clients at the beginning of a transformation. If they didn’t stick to the program or if they went about it half-arsed, he would print out the photos and stick them around the gym. Brutal but effective!
Find your own motivation..
Strength Training (47 mins)
Romanian Deadlifts- 60×10, 80×8, 100×8
Barbell Rows- 60×6, 60×6, 60×6
Db Clean & Press- 26×5, 26×5, 26×5
Pullups- 8,7 ,7
Dips- 8,8, 10
Trx Rollout- 10, 10
Russian Twists (10kg Kettlebell)- 30, 30
Leg Changes- 30, 30
Side Planks- 30sec, 30sec (ea side)
Notes: Had a cold so took it pretty easy.
Foam Rolling/Stretching (20 minutes)
Labouring Work (3 Hours)
Tempo Run (25:09)
5.2km, 4.49km Pace
Notes: Cold interfering with my breathing. Couldn’t catch it at all from about the 4.5km mark. Felt asthmatic.
Walking (4 hrs)
Foam Rolling/Stretching/Core (30mins)
Planks- 1:30, 1:30, 1:30
Bridges- 1:30, 1:30, 1:30
Labouring Work (4 hours)
Kokoda/Run Workout (1:21)
5 Laps Kokoda Trail
4 Laps Kokoda Trail
3 Laps Kokoda Trail
Notes: Ran out of light.. Couldn’t see the path.
Foam Rolling/Stretching (40mins)
Personal Training (1 Hour)
High Intensity supersets/circuits consisting of exercises such as:
Notes- Killed me! Crazy cardio workout that relied heavily on muscular endurance and a bit of strength.
2 hrs walking
5km Casual Run
Foam Rolling/Stretching (25 mins)
Notes- Sore as hell glutes after yesterdays workout
Treadmill Intervals (6.4km, 33:40)
5x Intervals- 800m @ 15.5km/hr (3:52 Pace) -> 300m @ 6km/hr
Strength Training (1 Hour)
Romanian Deadlifts- 20×10, 40×10, 60×10, 80×5, 100×5, 120×5, 130×5
Military Press- 20×5, 30×5, 40×5, 50×5
Barbell Rows- 40×5, 60×5, 65×5, 65×5, 65×5
Dips- 10, 10, 10
Lat Pulldowns- 47×10, 54×10, 54×10
Plank- 2:00, 2:00
Trx Rollout- 10, 10
Bosu Ball Mountain Climbers- 20, 20
2.5 hours walking
Notes: Felt great Back to 100% after cold
Moving Furtniture (4 Hours)
Indoor Climbing (1:30)
Strength Workout (1:20)
Squats- 20×10, 40×5, 60×5, 70×5, 80×5 (stopped there as lower back tight and sore)
Renegade Rows- 16×10, 16×10, 16×10
DB Clean & Press- 16×10, 16×10, 16×10
Rowing Machine (lvl 10)- 500m Intervals- 1:42, 1:41, 1:38
5km Run- 25:30
Foam Rolling/Stretching (25:00)
Trail Hike/Run– (20km, 2:34)
Hiked first 45mins then ran the rest.
1x lap of Eagle View trail then 5km return-run to ‘Swan View Tunnel
Wednesday 15th June
Foam Rolling/Stretching (30mins)
Thursday 16th June
Personal Training Session (1:20)
Stretching & functional strength Training
Friday 17th June- Sunday 19th June
Stirling Ridge Walk.
Around 21 Hours Hiking Total over the 3 days. 15kg Pack and rough terrain.
Monday 20th June
Stretching & Foam Rolling (20mins)
Tuesday 21st June
Strength Workout (45mins)
Bench Press- 20×10, 4010, 60×8, 65×7 (first time doing these in a ages, took it easy)
Pullups- 7, 7, 6
Lying Leg Curls- 35×12, 45×10, 45×10
Db Rows- 20×12, 24×12, 24×12
Bosu Ball Mountain Climbers- 20, 20
Bosu Planks- 1:00, :45
Wednesday 22nd June
High Intensity Cardio (40:00)
Treadmill (4.6km, 22:39)
Start at 9km/hr. Add 0.5km/hr every 300m. Got to mid 16.5km/hr
500m Rowing- 1:42, 1:48
Squats- 20×10, 40×10, 60×5, 70×5, 80×5, 90×5, 100×2
Dual Cable Pulldown- 33×12, 40×12, 47×12, 54×10
Military Press- 20×10, 30×5, 40×5, 50×6
1arm Cable Row- 8.75×12, 11.25×12, 13.75×12
Ab Rollouts- 10
Bosu Situps- 20, 20
3 Hours Casual Walking
I had a pretty bad experience during a half marathon last weekend which brought about this post. Around 7km in, I developed a ‘stitch’, a sharp stabbing pain up under my ribs. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get rid of it, struggling through the last 14km without being able to push myself in any way. I probably dropped 15 minutes off the time I was expecting. Incredibly frustrating experience…
Well, I’ve decided to do some research, both for my own sake (to prevent future incidents) and hopefully to help others avoid the painful ailment.
Here is what I’ve found..
“An intense stabbing pain under the lower edge of the ribcage that occurs while exercising. It is also referred to as exercise related transient abdominal pain (ETAP)”
“The pain usually eases within a few minutes after exercise has stopped, however some people experience some residual soreness for a few days, especially after severe pain. The Stitch seems to be more prevalent in activities that involve vigorous upright, repetitive movement of the torso.”
“Scientists are unsure of the exact cause of stitch.” Look’s like we’re off to a good start here..
“For some time, stitch was thought to be caused by a reduction in blood supply to the diaphragm, a large muscle involved in breathing. It was thought that during exercise, blood was shunted away from the diaphragm and redirected to exercising muscles in the limbs. This theory has now lost favour with scientists. Both the diaphragm and the limb muscles have to work harder during exercise so it is unlikely that an inadequate blood flow would be directed to them.
Another popular theory is that stitch is caused by organs pulling on the ligaments that connect the gut to the diaphragm. Ligaments that support organs such as the stomach, spleen and liver are also attached to the diaphragm. Jolting during exercise may cause these organs to pull on the ligaments and create stress on the diaphragm.
A more recent idea is that stitch is caused by irritation of the parietal peritoneum. Two layers of membrane (peritoneum) line the inside wall of the abdominal cavity. One layer covers the abdominal organs. The other layer (parietal peritoneum) attaches to the abdominal wall. The two layers are separated by lubricating fluid, which allows the two surfaces to move against each other without pain.
The parietal peritoneum is attached to a number of nerves. It is thought that the stitch occurs when there is friction between the abdominal contents and the parietal peritoneum. This friction may be caused by a distended (full) stomach or a reduction in the lubricating fluid.” Source: ausport.gov.au
That’s the scientific version..
What is essentially being said, is that a stitch is predominantly caused by either solids or fluids that are being digested at the time of intense exercise.
Due to the ‘pulling’ or ‘tugging’ motion described above, high intensity exercise, without an adequate warmup, may also be a factor.
In my own case, I ate a meal of fatty tuna and brown rice about an hour before I started running. Besides some light stretching, I also failed to warm-up properly.
The consensus seems to be a combination of the following..
The common treatments seem to be
According to Runnersworld, this is the solution:
“If you still get another side stitch, implement this strategy and it will go away in seconds (I promise). Slow your pace and exhale as the foot on the opposite side of the stitch strikes the ground. This doesn’t mean every time that foot hits the ground, but as you exhale, do so in sync with that opposite side. When you exhale, you use the muscles of your diaphragm. When this happens in unison with your foot striking the ground, the impact forces travel up the body and through your core (your side too) and exacerbate (piss off) the muscles in spasm creating that stitch. When you change the side of the landing forces to the opposite side, the tension causing the stitch releases. For example, your stitch is in your right side. You slow your pace, and exhale as your left foot is hitting the ground. Voila! Side stitch is history and you’re running without swearing once again.”
I didn’t stop for a good 2-3km after I got mine in the half-marathon, pushing through until I got to the next drink station. Very unwise move.. Next time I will be stopping immediately to deal with the problem.
There you have it. Hopefully that helps you out and you will forever be rid of the little painful bastard known as a ‘Stitch’.
If you’ve ever travelled around for an extended period of time (3+ weeks) you’ll know how hard it is to stay in shape. Now this does depend on where you travel to. A backpacking trip to Peru (where you’ll likely be hiking for multiple days at a time) compared to a Contiki tour through southern Europe (where your main pastime is going to be consuming large quantities of booze) are going to yield completely different results for your fitness.
Below are a list of basic bodyweight workouts that require minimal to zero equipment. The only thing you need to access is a pull-up bar of some sort- be it a tree, monkey bars or overhead balcony somewhere (most parks around the world have either a suitable tree branch or monkey bars you can use.) You can do these in your hotel room, at a local park, in the middle of the town square, wherever you can find a small space to yourself.
All workouts are from a site called Darebee. Check it out for a full list of hundreds of bodyweight workouts and how to perform the various exercises mentioned.
*You can probably get away with choosing one of these workouts every second day. If you really want to ratchet it up a notch, you can train every day, just choose workouts that train different body-parts on consecutive days. Start at level 1 (depending on your fitness) and try and work up to level 3. As with all fitness programs, progression is key.
Difficulty Rating: 2/5
Difficulty Rating: 3/5
Difficulty Rating: 4/5
Difficulty level: 2/5
Difficulty Rating: 3/5
Difficulty Rating: 3/5
Now for the hard stuff..
Difficulty Rating: 5/5
Difficulty Rating: 5/5
Difficulty Rating: 5/5
Difficulty Rating: 5/5
Anyone who follows me on Facebook or Instagram has probably seen me post about Jacobs Ladder before. I tend to do so quite a lot. That’s because over the last 6 months, it has been almost like a second home to me, I have spent a great deal of time there trying to get into climbing shape. For those who don’t know what I’m on about, this post is a quick primer on Perth’s best fitness spot. For those who do know what it is, hopefully you’ll pick up a few tips and motivation from this post anyway.
Jacobs Ladder is 243 step ‘staircase’ located just off Mounts Bay Road, next to the Swan River, leading towards Perth’s world class Botanic Garden, King’s Park. It stretches a total of 43 metres vertically and although it was installed to serve as a means of getting from point A to point B, it now serves thousands of people weekly as a hardcore training circuit.
You’ll find all sorts on Jacobs ladder. From hardcore fitness fanatics, sprinting up and down then pumping out a few pushups and pullups at the bottom right through to those who look like they may not have walked more than 1,000 steps in the past 5 years. Big props to them for choosing such a hard place to cut their teeth. On weekends, early mornings and evenings it can get incredibly busy, frustratingly so. There has also been talk of banning physical activity due to noise complaints from nearby residents. Apparently they don’t like people yelling, spitting and throwing up outside their windows at 6am in the morning.
Although I’ve never seen it happen, it would be pretty easy to take a fall on the way down. The stairs are fairly steep and can get damn slippery after a bit of rain.
There are some spectacular views to be had from the top, overlooking Perth city and the Swan River, right over the whole Eastern part of Perth.
For me, it’s been perfect training for Mt Elbrus, probably the most specific type of workout I can get within the confines of Perth and it’s flat surrounds. I use it for both anaerobic training, increasing the bodies lactate threshold and oxygen efficiency (6-10 laps non-stop as fast as possible) and for endurance training, basically doing as many laps as I can over a few hours, either with or without a weighted pack. My record so far is 50 laps which took me close to 4 and a half hours. Those workouts are also fantastic mental training, there is nothing more tedious and mind numbing than walking up and down the same stairs for hours on end.
If you’ve never tested your mettle on Jacobs ladder before, I strongly advise you get down there and give it a go. If you can’t make it during the day, it’s well lit at night and perfectly safe. Be prepared for a bit of soreness the next few days! If you’re a regular at Jacobs, keep smashing it and say hello if you see me down there. I’ve listed a couple of challenges for you below.
This is the gold standard of Jacob’s regulars. If you can pull this off you are one fit mofo.
Something to truly test your mental endurance. Climb the height of Australia’s highest mountain, a total of 2,228m over the course of 4-5 hours.
When I tell people about what I am trying to accomplish in climbing the 7 summits, one of the first questions is usually “You’re a nutcase, what kind of training are you doing for that?”
So here I have put a brief post together going over what I’m currently doing and what I’m aiming to do leading up to the Mt Elbrus climb.
The first thing I did when I got back from Kilimanjaro was sit down with a personal trainer and work out a plan of attack (Get onto www.emmettjohnpugh.com if you’re in Perth, he knows his shit). I like to have everything set out in advance so it saves me having to think about it too much. I have enough thinking to do concerning the fundraising side of this project so I didn’t want any extra hassle.
We broke the schedule down into 4 week blocks, switching up part of the program after each one. For me the predominant focus was on building a strength and fitness base, then building climb specific endurance. Adding body-weight, particularly muscle, would help with the latter stages of the program and it’s not a bad idea to kick off any climbing expedition a few kg’s heavier. You will likely strip it off in the first few days anyway.
This means a lot of gym work to start off with and slowly adding more and more longer duration endurance workouts. I was initially in the gym 4 days a week doing 2 upper and 2 lower body sessions a week. Over the first 6 weeks I managed to add about 3kg while losing bodyfat, see pic (excuse the mirror selfie..).
As of now I’m doing on a weekly basis..
That routine will stay fairly similar right the way through. The specifics will change, e.g higher rep, endurance focused weight training as the climb gets closer but the days and number will be pretty well consistent.
All the stair climbing is done on Perths iconic Jacobs Ladder.
For the endurance training, I am slowly building up the time spent on there every session, with the grand aim to complete a 12 hour, 140 lap challenge in early June. This is supposed to imitate the 12-14 hour summit day on Mt Elbrus and should provide the necessary mental training aspect. Thats something I am NOT looking forward to..
Perth’s 243 step, 43 meter high set of stairs at the picturesque Kings Park. It has turned into a very popular training tool for those with everest aspirations to those chasing a tighter ass.