We’ve reached that time of year when some of that initial workout motivation from January 1 may be starting to dwindle. Chances are, you’re beginning to find yourself on the lounge, getting that judgemental ‘Do you want to continue watching?’ Netflix message a little more often than you’d like — while your gym membership keycard gathers dust. It happens to the best of us!
If you ask us, the best way to get your butt back into gear is by signing up to a group fitness event. Not only are they heaps of fun, but they’re hugely motivating — as you won’t want to let your team down by not showing up on the day! One of our favourites is the Coastrek Team Trekking Challenge in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and the Sunshine Coast. In the 30- and 60-km challenges, you’ll trek along each city’s respective coastline in teams of four, while raising money for amazing charities like The Fred Hollows Foundation and BeyondBlue.
Given that Coastrek involves a helluva lot of walking, you might assume that the best way to prepare for the event is by doing long distance treks. However, Coastrek Sydney event director, Lisa Marshall, says this is not the case. “The biggest mistake you can make in your preparation is thinking that the longer you walk, the fitter you’ll be,” she says. “Yes, the long distance walks every two weeks in the lead up to event day are important for building mental toughness and testing your gear. But it’s vital to balance it out with HIIT (High-intensity interval training) to maximize the overall training effect possible in a given time frame.”
Not only has Lisa participated in countless endurance events herself, she has coached thousands of women to do the same. Here, she shares her Coastrek training program — a well-rounded training regime designed to get you fit faster, without putting in time-wasting ‘junk miles.’ If you are new to endurance events or just ramping up your fitness, Lisa recommends you start training at least 18 weeks before the event. However, if you are already reasonably fit, this is what your training plan should look like in the 12-week leadup to the event:
• 1 x 2-3 hour Trek Training session: long walk, speedy pace, incorporating as many hills/stairs and undulating terrain as you can.
• 2 x 30-minute Interval Training (HIIT): using stairs, hills, ramps or circuit training
• 2 x sessions such as yoga, swimming or Pilates incorporating stretching and relaxation.
• 1 Endurance Trek (every second week): working up from 5kms to a max of 22kms for the 30km event, and max of 40km for the 60k event.
Trek Training is a time efficient outdoor adventure workout, using endurance walking and high-intensity interval training on rough bush tracks, stairs, hills and soft sand, with weighted backpacks, trekking poles, body weight and natural features. It’s a time-efficient method of metabolic resistance training which will get you fitter faster for Coastrek.
Here’s a sample workout for you to try:
Warm up: Walk briskly along beach or trail for 10-20 minutes to warm up. Along the way, find a set of stairs for your intervals.
Intervals part 1:
1. Stair sets: 5 x Fast sprints up. (go up fast, and come down slowly).
Use the stopwatch on your phone and try to beat your time each climb (only time the ascent). Rest 2 minutes and stretch.
2. Stair sets: Go up the stairs using the following techniques
• 2 x Stepping 2 steps at a time (if possible) engaging your glutes, then walk back down.
• 2 x Jumping up two feet at a time (if possible) landing in a mini squat to protect your knees, then walk back down.
• 1 x Climb fast as you can up, walk slowly back down.
Brisk walk 20 minutes with pack: choose undulating terrain
Intervals part 2:
Find a second set of stairs or a hill/ramp to perform:
5 ascents of the stairs/hill/ramp, beating your ascent time on each climb (use stopwatch)
Core/strength circuit: Take off your pack and put down a towel. Go from one exercise to the next:
15 squats trying to get your bum down to reach your pack, keep chest up.
15 push-ups on knees or toes, hands below shoulders.
Flip on to your back and do 15 crunches or sit-ups.
Flip on to your front and perform a plank hold for 1 minute.
Rest for 1 minute and repeat.
Cool Down: Walk for 15 minutes, then pick at least five different stretches including downward dog, hamstring stretch, and one for your calves.
Please note: All exercise involves some risk, so please consult your doctor before commencing this program, especially if you have a pre-existing condition and injury, or are new to exercise.
For more top tips and Trek Training inspiration, check out