Training for walking and endurance challenges
The level of training involved to complete an endurance challenge, such as the National
Three Peaks Challenge or Welsh 3000's, is personal choice. It is assumed that most
people attempting such Challenges would either currently have a reasonable level
of fitness, or would be looking for a goal to help them improve their fitness.
Either way, at least some training should be done in order to minimize the possibility
of injury, and reduce the recovery period. By building your fitness levels before
taking part in an endurance challenge, you will also enjoy yourself more and relax.
For those relatively new to mountain walking, it's certainly worth organising a
practice walk to assess if there are any specific weaknesses, which could commonly
- aching calves when walking up hill
- back ache possibly caused by a backpack
- weak thighs when walking up hill
Any specific muscle issues that may show themselves can only really be dealt with
by gradually increasing the level of physical activity, either by organising regular
practice walks, or perhaps a quicker method, targeted and planned weight training.
Do try not to train on aching muscles - at this point in the muscles development,
they should be left to recover and repair. This process makes the muscles stronger
and will allow you to push them harder and further than you could before.
Some other issues caused by equipment, such as toes being squashed into the front
of your shoes when walking downhill, should also be thought about, so wear the gear
that you plan to wear on the challenge itself. Provided all equipment is fitted
correctly, there should be no rubbing or painful areas.
It should be remembered that practice walks should closely resemble the actual walking
to be attempted, but in smaller distances.
Training for the National Three Peaks Challenge
Even the more experienced walkers would likely not have experienced something as
draining as the National Three Peaks Challenge. It is therefore difficult to know
how you will feel and how your body will cope. The first step here, is to get out
on a mountain range or national park, and do some serious practice walks.
We highly recommend Snowdonia National Park if convenient, with its wide variety
and choice of terrain, it provides the perfect training ground - do go prepared
though, with the correct map (OS OL17 or OL18), and walk with a small pack containing
equipment and supplies listed on the
National Three Peaks equipment page.
As a good introduction to Snowdonia, why not walk one of the Snowdon paths. This
will give you some idea of the scale of the challenge and endurance required to
complete it - or if you'd really like to see how you'd perform, do three different
Snowdon paths. Although the National Three Peaks has around twenty-five miles of
walking, sleep deprivation is an important factor, so this should provide some insight
into how well you can deal with these issues.
The National Three Peaks Challenge should be successfully completed by anyone who
has taken the time to prepare their fitness, and gain some experience hill walking.
Training for the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge
The Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge is often assumed to be much shorter than the
National Challenge, when in fact it is only marginally shorter. Completed in twelve
hours, this should not be assumed to be a gentle walk and training should certainly
be done beforehand. The National Challenge adds an element of sleep deprivation,
increasing the difficulty somewhat.
In the same vein as our recommendations for training for the National Three Peaks,
we would advise anyone planning to attempt this challenge to visit the Yorkshire
Dales National Park and walk each of the hills individually. Getting to know the
paths and landmarks will help greatly, while improving your general fitness.