We were delighted to have the amazing Faisal Abdalla, top London fitness coach, Official Trainer for Nike and Personal Trainer to Ellie Goulding and other A-list celebs, join us for one a Dream Challenge in the past. Check out his top tips on how to train your mind and core for a charity trekking challenge.
No matter which Dream Challenge you plan to conquer, it is going to require you to dig deep. It will probably start off feeling very fun and exciting, but you will be feeling it a few miles in, I’m afraid to say. No matter how hard it gets, this challenge is for an incredible cause and is a great chance to smash some personal goals, so make sure you prepare yourself over the next few months, so you can keep the good vibes flowing!
Training is key before any event like this, so don’t just turn up on the day and expect to breeze through it. Above absolutely anything else, get your mind in check and train that brain for the task ahead.
Training your mind for a marathon
• Visualise the finish line and at any point where it gets hard, remind yourself why you’re doing it to power yourself on.
• If you need to take a moment to stop and recollect your thoughts, then do. Zone out from everything around you, take some deep breaths and go through all the reasons why you decided to sign up in the first place.
• Sometimes a little pep talk does you the world of good. Just imagine how incredible you will feel once you’ve done it.
• The harder something is, the more rewarding, so whatever you do, just don’t quit!
Strengthening your core for walking
In terms of training your body, you will probably think your legs are one of the most important areas to focus on when building strength because your legs are carrying you. However, you shouldn’t rely on just your legs to get you through or you will burn out.
A strong core will help with your posture as you walk and minimise the chance of back ache over the long distance. It will also help you while you walk if you engage your core, so that every part of your body, from your arms to your spine, is helping to push your legs forward.
Two of my favourite core strengthening exercises include:
Planks (on elbows or hands)
Hold a plank every other day for as long as you can and try to beat your time. Don’t strain your neck by looking up as you plank, keep your spine neutral and flat, and squeeze those butt cheeks in!
Working on your Endurance
As well as strength training, working on your endurance is key; so use the months ahead to slowly build up how often you’re training and how long you’re training for. Don’t let your Dream Challenge be the first time you’ve ever walked over two miles, or you will struggle! Get started now with a weekly walk.
Begin with two or three miles and add another half or full mile on each week, depending on how you’re feeling. Make it a family event or borrow a friend’s dog and it won’t feel like “training”, but like a nice weekend activity in the fresh air.
On top of that, I’d recommend 40 minutes to an hour of low intensity cardio up to three times a week, to prepare your lungs and get you breathing effectively. Swimming, cycling or even gentle rowing are all great ways to get moving without putting too much strain on your joints.
So, to recap:
•Get your mind in check and start working on the PMA (Positive Mental Attitude)
•Start core strengthening exercises
•Get walking once a week, increasing the distance each week
•Work on building endurance with a low intensity training session two or three times a week
•Enjoy the journey!
Faisal Abdalla is named as one of London’s top Personal Trainers, and is a Official Trainer for Nike, a Men’s Health ambassador, and a senior master trainer at Barry’s Bootcamp where he trains the likes of celebrities Ellie Goulding and Ella Eyre. Faisal is well known to the media, and has been featured in The Telegraph, Daily Mail, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Men’s Health and Women’s Health, just to name a few! Faisal completed our epic Walk the Night charity walking marathon in London and helped to raise funds and awareness for CoppaFeel! and Prostate Cancer UK.
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