This is my 24th year trekking the Kokoda track in commemoration of Anzac Day, and it continues to amaze me. Kokda is part of Australia’s war history and a living museum where Australian military forces held off and defeated the Japanese imperial forces. The Japanese imperial forces had never had to withdraw in battle, and for the first time in their history, the Japanese leaders had to come up with the order “advance to the rear”. The Australian soldiers battled so hard and won the battle of the Kokoda track. It is an inspiring story of courage, mateship, endurance and sacrifice. Lest we forget.
Training for Kokoda is based on leg strength, endurance and recovering to do it all over again next day. Your legs need to be ready to keep trekking for up to 12 hours a day, and walking up and down some big hills – the walking up is not so bad, but walking down can be tough on your legs if you aren’t used to it.
When training in the gym, you will focus on high volume reps with low to medium weight.
Another part of training is preparing your shoulders and back for carrying your day pack and sleeping on the ground. Your day pack usually only has snacks and water in it, but can cause back and posture issues if not carried correctly (and if you’re not used to it). Sleeping on the ground with an air mattress in the jungle can cause your body (and mind) to get out of kilter if you haven’t done it before.
- 30 mins walking (even speed)
- 20 mins step ups (alternate leading leg every 2 mins)
- 10 mins stretching (calf, quad, hamstring and lower back)
- 10 mins flat walk into 30 mins uphill walk
- 50 x squats (repeat for 5 sets)
- 30 mins downhill walk
- 20 mins step ups
- 10 mins stretching (calf, quad, glutes and lower back)
- 40 mins treadmill walking: start on flat, at the 10 min mark turn the incline to 10, at the 20 min mark turn the incline to 20, and at the 30 min mark turn the incline to 30.
- 30 x 40kg leg press (repeat for 5 sets, with 1 min rest in between sets)
- 30 x calf raise (repeat for 5 sets)
- 2-hour bushwalk with a day pack and water (a great weekend option for you and your family or someone you’re trekking with)
Once your pre-trek training is done, then you need to have your trekking kit sorted! You will need things like:
- Camel pack
- Water purifiers
- Clothes that you will be wearing (skins are a must)
- Spare socks
- Daily snacks
- Personal medication
You will also need equipment such as:
- Trekking poles
- Change of footwear for night time in the camp
- Waterproof bags
- Gifts for the villagers
I will have dates out soon for the next Kokoda trek that I am leading; visit bfirm.com.au for contact details.