Someone once told me that marathon isn’t 26.2 miles, it’s only the LAST 26.2 miles.   As anyone who has ever trained for any kind of a race knows, the miles you run on race day are only a small fraction of the total number of miles you’ve run training for that day.  Climbing a mountain isn’t much different.  This weekend, when we climb Mt Washington (and hopefully summit), it’ll be the culmination of  months of training and preparing.

Now, wintertime is what I laughingly refer to as my fat time.  My workouts decrease in frequency and intensity, the amount of delicious food I stuff in my face increases and my waistline buldges.  In a word, it’s wonderful.  Then, sometime around March or April I put down the cookies and pizza, get the running shoes back on and start pounding the pavement, hitting the pool and hiking the trails again.

Not this year.  Since I’ve about December I’ve been training for this climb.  3-4 days a week I’ve either been at the gym or outside doing some kind of workout that will help me not only successfully hit the summit, but feel reasonably good while doing so (at least as good as one CAN feel when it’s -45 degrees outside).  Also, did I mention I’m running a half-marathon in March too?  I love making things difficult on myself, don’t I?

Anywho, my typical workout week looks something like this:

Monday: Wake up in the morning and do 50-80 pushups right out of bed. Short, intense run (3-4 miles at 5k pace) followed by ab workout

Tuesday: Either 30-40 minutes on stair climber wearing a 35lb backpack or rock climbing for 2 hours.   This strengthens the legs for the long, steep climbs Mt Washington is known for.

Wednesday: Wake up in the morning and do 50-80 pushups right out of bed.  Medium distance run (5-6 miles) or stair climber wearing 35lb backpack.  Followed by light weights.

Thursday: Rest or yoga.

Friday: Wake up in the morning and do 70-100 pushups right out of bed. Short, easy run 3-4 miles followed by ab workout and as many pullups as I can do.

Saturday: Either a training hike with a full pack (7-8 miles) or a long run 10-12 miles

Sunday: Rest or another training hike

Now, all this may look like a lot for a hike up a 6300 ft mountain, but there are a few things that make this more difficult than it looks:

1. We’re going to be wearing a lot of clothing and gear.  Heck, our packs alone will probably weigh 20lbs each.

2. Boots.  We won’t be wearing any lightweight hiking boots on this trip, but rather big, heavy mountaineering boots to protect our feet from the elements

3. Temperatures.  It’s going to be wicked cold outside.  Even without the wind, the temps near the summit will be below zero.  If you have ever exercised in temps that cold, you know how hard it is to catch your breath.

4.  Snow.  Depending on how the weather conditions, we may be sloshing through fresh snow all the way to the top.    I can’t imagine that’ll be very easy

This all may sounds like overkill.  And it might just be.  But they say chance favors the prepared mind.  The same can also be said about the body.   The fact is, things happen.  Bad things.   I don’t want to completely exhaust myself getting to the top, and then have nothing left in the tank if something goes wrong.  I want to be strong enough that if I had to climb this mountain twice in a row, I could.

I’m confident that everything will go great and we’ll have a completely awesome time.  But if something does go wrong I’m going to thank myself for all that extra time walking up fake stairs at the gym.