Training for trekking the Kokoda Track.
A lot of people ask me how do I prepare for Kokoda.
My answer is – train hard and train well.
The mighty Owen Stanley Ranges is a tough and unforgiving environment. From steep hills, to mud, to tree roots, to dense jungle canopy – it brings it all to you. It is not for the faint hearted.
When we walk today we are blessed with the best equipment money can buy. Great boots, socks, walking poles and packs.
As we learn the history of the soldiers who fought during World War 11 in 1942, we begin to understand how easy we have it and are humbled by what difficult conditions our mighty soldiers fought under.
One set of clothing and that clothing was totally unsuitable for the harsh humid conditions of PNG; food rations for a few weeks rather than the months and months the soldiers were fighting; combine all this with being constantly on guard for snippers or bullets coming from within the jungle.
The stories of bravery we hear tell us that our soldiers never gave up. They were there to defend their country and that is what they did.
There are times when we walk along the Kokoda Track that we are tired, wet, muddy and exhausted. This is the time where we have to find something within ourselves to keep going.
I often check in with myself at times like this and ask myself, “Is my body telling me I’m done”, or “is it my mind playing games, telling me to give up?” Most of the time my body is fine because I have done my training and preparation, but my mind wants to play games with me.
Pushing through this is the most rewarding thing and when I get into camp at the end of that day, or to the end of the Kokoda Track, I know I have achieved – and what an achievement!
You must be well prepared for this trek, both physically and mentally. The steep jungle terrain is a test for your physical fitness and mindset.
Our advice is that you allow yourself 6 to 12 months preparation time before attempting the Kokoda Track. If you are already reasonably fit, then 3 months intensive training might be enough for you.
You will need to be doing strength based exercises 3 or 4 times a week. These sessions would include upper and lower body exercises plus cardio fitness. Weekly training walks are also essential and should be built up to approximately 3 or 4 hours duration. The weekly training walks also help you to test your trekking gear, such as your back pack and your boots, to ensure they are comfortable for you. Please don't buy brand new gear and not wear it before you arrive in Papua New Guinea!!
Join one of our Melbourne based training walks here.
Kokoda is a very dense jungle environment. The terrain is extremely steep and uneven. You will experience thick tree roots, sloppy wet mud and clay type mud that can be extremely slippery. It all adds to the experience.
The villages along the track are absolutely beautiful. The people who live in these villages are gentle, happy people who will greet you with welcoming smiles.
Because of the terrain, it is important that you are fit. The fitter and stronger you are, the more you will enjoy your Kokoda experience. To find out more information about our trek training programs, click here.
If you are thinking about walking the Kokoda Track, my advice is to go for it!
Strive to overcome the doubts in your head or the thoughts and opinions of those around you.
One of my favourite quotes is, “What someone else thinks of you is none of your business!”
Challenge yourself, overcome your fears and come and walk the famous Kokoda Track with me!