During the past decade, more than 250 companies and 3,000 people from across the construction industry have taken part in the Coins 3 Peaks Challenge, raising in excess of £2.3 million for charity. 2012 is a key milestone for the event as it is celebrating its 10th anniversary.
The 2012 COINS 3 Peaks Challenge takes place on 12 – 13 May and, with the right training and preparation, anyone can take part and successfully conquer the three highest peaks in the UK: Ben Nevis in Scotland; Scafell Pike in the Lake District; and Snowdon in North Wales.
However this event’s difficulty should not be underestimated. Teams walk a total of 24 miles and climb 10,000 feet, with very little sleep, in an effort to complete the challenge in less than 24 hours. To ensure participants are best equipped to finish, a combined team and individual training programme is recommended.
The COINS Foundation supports teams leading up to the event as well as on the day itself. A 12 week training programme is recommended to help reach the required level of fitness.
Training is strongly encouraged for several reasons: to minimise injury, shorten the recovery time, and of course to complete a successful and enjoyable event. It also helps uncover any weaknesses and areas that need to be improved prior to the event itself.
So, first things first, on committing to the challenge and the training, it’s important to invest in the right equipment to both wear, and carry with you. This means a good pair of hiking boots, walking socks, trousers, windproof and waterproof jacket, and thermals, as well as map, compass and so on. The entire equipment checklist is quite substantial! A top tip is to wear the same clothing during training sessions that you plan to wear on the day, particularly hiking boots. This is essential to wear the boots in, and minimise the likelihood of blisters.
It’s also worthwhile to look at nutrition and ensure the right foods are featuring in your diet to help with energy levels.
The aim of the 12 week training programme is to acclimatise yourself to basic physical activity during the first couple of weeks, then start to increase the volume and intensity for endurance and strength, and finally to develop mountain fitness.
A basic level of fitness before starting the training programme is essential, for example you should be able to sustain a minimum of 30 minutes mild physical activity, such as a brisk walk, without becoming breathless.
To begin it is recommended that you try to incorporate physical activity into every part of your daily life, such as getting off the bus or tube one stop earlier or using the stairs instead of the lift.
Week one of the programme kicks off with three endurance sessions, for example 40 minutes walking. By week three this increases to four sessions along with strength work.
By week four, you will notice a huge improvement in your cardiovascular endurance. Now it is time to increase the intensity.
To get a taste of what lies ahead, there’s no substitute for ‘getting into the hills’ so include hill walking or mountain climbing in preparation. Many teams train in the Chilterns, Malvern Hills, South Downs, Snowdon, wherever is easily accessible. Remember to be prepared: if you are training on mountain walks, ensure you have adequate food, drink and the right equipment.
Between weeks five and ten, you should increase the number of sessions and their duration. The strength sessions over the last few weeks will be paying dividends and it is now that you begin to feel much fitter and stronger. During this period, it is crucial to start familiarising yourself with team mates. Aim to get away for the weekend, not only with a view to improve fitness and skill levels, but to learn how to operate as a team.
By the end of this phase, teams should be operating in synergy and be familiar with indicators of each other’s well-being.
As week 12 is approached, it’s time to wind down. Training sessions should be reduced to just two, and although the intensity level should remain the same, the duration should drop by half. Three days of this week should be spent active walking. The event is now imminent so rest, quality sleep, and nutrition are essential.
The COINS Foundation also encourages people to sign up to a mountain awareness day. This is completed in the Lake District and covers all the essentials for the big day. You’ll learn about navigation, safety, equipment, map reading skills and useful hints and tips for the challenge. It also helps teams gauge where their fitness levels are, giving plenty of time to up training if needed.
The more training undertaken, the more prepared participants are to meet the demands on the actual day. The COINS 3 Peaks Challenge requires stamina, determination and above all team spirit. It is an adventurous, exhilarating and fantastic team building experience. It is the ‘must-do’ event in the construction industry calendar.
(NOTE: Please consult your GP before embarking on any physical training programme)
This year COINS 3 Peaks Challenge, the largest fundraising team building event in the construction industry, celebrates its 10th anniversary. If you would like to join us in 2012 please call 01753 501000, or visit www.coinschallengeevents.com
Get a training buddy. This makes it easier, more enjoyable, and provides essential support.
Keep a record of training programmes followed including times, length, route, how the experience made you feel. This helps track progress, and reminds you how well you’ve done!
Get as much support from friends, family and work colleagues as possible by keeping them up-to-date with your training.
Set yourself targets to reach throughout the training programme, and imake them bigger and more challenging as the weeks pass.
Undertaking a training programme is hard work. Don’t forget to reward yourself, you’ve done well!