Challenges come in many shapes and forms and are unique to each of us. I know that for some of you just being able to make your weekly Nordic walking class is a challenge, whether for health, work or family reasons (or all three).
For others it’s moving from an easy to a moderate rated class, getting fit for one of our trips abroad, or entering a challenge of your own.
The South Wales Three Peaks, which over fifty of us entered earlier this year was the biggest whole club fitness challenge we have ever done. It kept us Nordic walking through those cold, wet winter months (hard to imagine now that the sun is shining) but boy was it worth it for the euphoric sense of achievement at the end.
2018 has been a non-stop fitness challenge carousel for one of our regular walkers, Caroline Foulds. It began with our mega snowshoeing trip, then the Silver (15 miles) South Wales Three Peaks which clearly spurred her on to seek yet another challenge – this time the Yorkshire Three Peaks: 25 miles, three peaks, 5000ft ascent and a time limit of 12 hours. Here’s her story of how it went:
“My Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge by Caroline Foulds
It’s 7am on Saturday morning in Horton In Ribblesdale, the sun is beating down already and we’re preparing to head into the wilderness of the Yorkshire Peaks. I am the team leader of 4 (all work colleagues) and we join forces with another team through the challenge. There’s probably 1,000 people taking part and the atmosphere is buzzing. It’s the second biggest event day for Yorks 3 Peaks 2018!
The route is well signposted with hard limestone slabs underfoot most of the way. It’s a relatively short walk to the first peak (Pen Y Ghent) and I’m using my Nordic walking poles until it gets so steep I need free hands to climb.
Once we’ve checked in at top we’re on the move straightaway as we’ve 11 miles to cover to the second peak (Whernside). The weather is beautiful, scenery amazing, and we’re all feeling great. Plenty of checkpoints (9) on the way and we reach the second peak on schedule.
It’s a long walk along the ridge to the final peak (Ingleborough) – the toughest of the lot! Tired legs and in the distance we can see it’s going to be a steep one. The climb up (almost rock climbing!) is steep and tough but we make it to the top and it feels amazing. No time to celebrate though as we’ve still got 4 miles to go and the clock is ticking.
We keep the pace up and work as a team to navigate some tricky downhill sections. We can hear thunder storms behind us and there’s an enormous rainbow ahead as we cross the final checkpoint. What an amazing feeling. Time to celebrate with some champers, beers and take away back at the lodge!
Individually we brought along all levels of fitness from those who’d been doing the training throughout to "I’ve got youth on my side, I’ll be alright”. I trained by doing 5 walks a week with BNW (the Saturday stamina walks were fab) plus extra PT sessions with Rachael who was amazing. I also walked at work each lunchtime and organised some endurance training walks with my other team members. Nothing can quite prepare you for a challenge of this magnitude though and in the end it was working as a team that got us through to the finish line.
Looking for an endurance walking challenge? It’s one I’d recommend.“
SMART goals like the ones above are as clever as their acronym. Specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time specific challenges keep us putting one foot in front of the other even when we don’t feel like it. They ensure we prioritise our fitness and don’t let it slip to the bottom of the pile plus they are benchmarks of achievement showing us that we can still improve and do new things regardless of age. We have plenty of challenge walks left this year:
- The Brecon Beacons cascading waterfalls walk next Sunday
- Tintern Abbey Offas Dyke 6 mile loop
- The Bath Skyline amazing 6 mile National Trust circular
- The Clevedon 6 mile circular
- The Sugar Loaf mountain 10 mile challenge (for those who missed it the first time or would like to walk it again!)
- The Tyntesfield Grand loop
- The Cotswold Way (Cam Long Down) hilly 7 mile circular
- Our Dartmoor weekend away
- The British Nordic Walking Challenge events (5 and 10km)
- The Purbeck Nordic walking festival
Please take a look and join us if you can. Not only will it give you a goal to work towards but we have chosen beautiful locations with stunning scenery – all in all a perfect combination.