| The Strategy |
Training for any of the Seven Summits requires endurance and strength. For many of the peaks, this included regular weekend hikes accompanied by gym work. For the Everest 2014 mission, work started 18 months before the climb. This page takes a look at the preparation undertaken by Paul at University of Limerick ahead of Antarctica & Everest in 2014.
Training focussed on Strength, Endurance, Yoga/Visualisation, Hiking, Mountain Skills and Altitude Adaptation as well as utilising Sports Science to assess progress through VO2max testing, DXA Body Scanning and Blood Tests at specific intervals. A unique aspect of Paul’s training was the opportunity to live full-time in the National Altitude Training Facility on the University of Limerick campus, living for 14-16 hours per day in simulated altitude conditions. This state-of-the-art facility is the only one of its kind in Ireland and UK and offers the complete hypoxic living environment for athletes and mountaineers alike.
| The Trainers |
A team of on-site specialists supported Paul during his 26-week training program at University of Limerick from July 2013 to March 2014. This training team consisted of Rachel Turner (Altitude trainer), Aidan O’Keefe (Endurance trainer), Jackie Doherty (Strength trainer) and Paulette Egan (Yoga instructor). I am greatly indebted to this team for their hard work, good humour and dedication towards the mission.
- Rachel TurnerAltitude Trainer (Everest 2014)
- Aidan O’KeeffeEndurance Trainer (Everest 2015 + 2014)
- Jackie DohertyStrength Trainer (Everest 2014)
- Paulette EganYoga Instructor (Everest 2014)
| The Routine |
Weekly training involved 15-20 hours of physical activity, split between strength, endurance, altitude work and hiking/biking. A typical week included the following…
- 2 Strength sessions – Upper and Lower body
- 2 Endurance sessions – Boxing/TRX/Sled
- 2 Altitude Gym session – Treadmill work at 4000m
- 2 Stairmaster sessions in gym
- 2 Ladder practice sessions (using boots and crampons)
- 1 Yoga session – Focus on visualisation and breathing
- 1 hiking day – Typically 6-8 hour day at the weekends
The mixture of strength, endurance, altitude adaptation and overall conditioning gave me the best possible chance at being physically and mentally prepared for the challenge of Everest. The image below gives a sense of the quantity of training completed in the final 6 month period prior to Everest 2014.
| The Milestones |
The journey to Everest 2014 started way back in September 2012 and included a number of significant milestones that Paul set for himself along the way to challenge and test readiness in advance of the big climb. The timeline also included completion of the 6th Summit (Vinson Massif in Antarctica) in January 2014. The preparation below shows a mixture of hill trekking, ice climbing, alpine training, running, cycling, personal training, altitude training and altitude living in the months leading up to departure to Everest. It is also punctuated by assessments (Bloods, VO2max, DXA Body Scans) to utilise Sports Science to help better inform training zones and needs.