WWF Desert Challenge Fitness blog with Malcolm Gowans
The rustle of the pre-dawn wind wakes you from a deep, restful sleep to the soft glow of the first rays on your tent. The wind settles and the stillness and silence return, allowing your thoughts to re-visit yesterday’s leg of the WWF Desert Challenge. The beauty, the vistas, the absolute splendour of the previous days 36 km mountain bike ride.
But you’re not dreaming of yesterday, your eyes are open, you’re awake and ALIVE! The legs feel rested your body is loose. You feel vibrant and energised. A sense of calm settles over you as you know the training you’ve done has you well prepared. You’re ready for day two (the 20 km hike with a 900m elevation gain) and thankful you won’t be in the saddle today.
Don’t we all want to feel like that? Race ready and well prepared. My goal is to help you get there. With a structured training program, incorporating discipline specific conditioning, appropriate strength training, flexibility and mobility as well as psychological aspects necessary for you to complete this seven day adventure, epic and injury free.
We’ll look at the gear you’ll need to get you from start to finish and how best to choose according to your specific needs. I’ll be showing you how to up-skill your rope, bush and survival skills to the bare minimum necessary to traverse the rugged Richtersveld, survive the remote locations and get you down that 100m abseil safely.
The components of your training program will be fleshed out in more detail with the training period divided into three, two month phases:
- Phase 1: April & May (laying a broad and stable foundation to get your body used to training two days back-to-back).
- Phase Two: June & July (introducing some strength training and increasing your conditioning to three consecutive days a week).
- Phase Three: August & September (reducing your recovery times between the back-to-back conditioning training and by mid-September we start to dial back the strength training).
It’s time to Challenge yourself! So sign up for the WWF Desert Challenge and lets start training for this once in a lifetime experience.
Malcolm Gowans is the owner and founder of The Gymnasium in Cape Town, South Africa, where he inspires individuals to find a balance between strength, athletic fitness and flexibility (see www.thegymnasium.co.za). His influences stem from yoga and from his personal passion for rock climbing. He has opened over 100 rock climbs, summited alpine peaks in two continents and trekked for multiple days with minimal provisions. In short he is accustomed to suffering!