If you are thinking of undertaking the WSPA Bear Adventure but are not quite sure about how to get started with your training this article written by one participant might help.
So, how exactly do you train for a 50-mile trek across the Carpathian mountains in Romania having never set foot up a tall hill, let alone a mountain? This was the dilemma I faced six months ago having signed up for WSPA’s Bear Adventure Challenge.
Well, the first thing is – don’t panic. Set yourself realistic goals. I started off taking baby steps. So, instead of taking the bus, I walked into town (20 minutes). I live quite close to where I work so I started walking into work (40 minutes) a few times a week. It helped that the walk was uphill.
I then began jogging to boost my cardiovascular and currently aim to do two 30-minute runs a week. I quit my gym because I found running outside far more interesting and rewarding than pounding relentlessly on a treadmill.
I then got some friends together to plan walks around the countryside at weekends – these walks can range from 1 to 4 hours, depending on the terrain and also how much time you’ve got to spare. You will find that it’s not just your physical fitness you have to address. Half the battle is mental will – when you’re not really in the mood, when it’s raining outside – if you can push yourself just that little bit further, you will really feel like you’re advancing.
In March I went to Snowdonia, to put my feet to the test. I was pleasantly surprised at just how much I enjoyed it all, walking up mountains and through woodlands. Yes I was tired at the end of the day, but it was a happy tired, a feeling of: “Hey, I’ve really earnt my lie-in this morning!”
It really helps knowing what the end goal is – that by doing this challenge, I will be helping to save bears who have endured a lifetime of misery and giving them a better life. That is ultimately what keeps me going because I know it will be worth it in the end. For the bears, it will be worth every step taken.