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Starting my Personal Training by Garreth Murrell

I know from past overseas expeditions that I have planned that training before hand is essential.  I have done this two ways: 1 where I spent the required amount of time in the gym and pouring over maps and charts and 2 where I didn’t.  funnily enough the first point ended in a successful expedition and the second way, even though we put 3 people on the summit of Ama Dablam I didn’t get past 20,000 feet.  I could blame the food poisoning I got, but if I’m honest if my body was in peak condition, I probably wouldn’t have gotten ill.

Which is why I am choosing to adopt the first point again. And I have a cunning plan. It’s really quite simple as far as I’m concerned, and it’s this: –

2019 – loose weight and get flexible i.e. get down from a hefty 16.5 stone to somewhere around 14.5 by Christmas. And to start doing Yoga.  I have noticed that as I entered my late 40’s and now I dropped into being 50 this year, that my body isn’t at all as flexible and supple as it once was.  In fact, I employed a personal trainer to specifically avoid getting injured during training and I did… twice!  So, it’s off to yoga for me and I have found someone close by who does sessions on a 1:1 basis so it can be tailored perfectly for me.

2020 – continue with the yoga and start rowing on a indoor trainer whilst also adding in some weight training sessions.  I’m lucky as I have a rower at home and Jason has managed to bring Elite on board and I can use their gym and discuss training requirements with their staff.  From June/July my aim is to begin on muscle mass in all the right places for a rower. I aim to join a local rowing club by November/ December and once again I am lucky as I live quite close to the River Tyne and by default the coast so the options for clubs abound.

2021 – Learn to row!  It’s all well and good rowing indoors but its another moving a craft through water without capsizing, this I feel is an important part to learn now as I can get the technique right though hopefully there won’t be enough time to pick up any bad habits, keeping my rowing as efficient as possible. I also aim to continue with the yoga and indoor rowing though now my aim is to increase the amount of time spent rowing and work towards rowing for 10 hours in any day from April.

From June onwards I aim to start putting on a few kilos of fat because having read the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge we will lose roughly 12 kilos of body weight and I don’t intend for my muscles to be the source of fuel to get me across to Antigua.

Psychologically, I have started to visualise my self in the boat rowing with my crewmates at various stages of the race e.g. before the start during race prep, the start, during a storm and of course the finish.  By the time it comes to start the race for real, I am to have rowed the 3000 miles from La Gomera to Antigua around about 10,000 times.


I don’t know if it is a realistic plan or one that will lead to success…. I’ll keep you posted.

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