Wednesday, 29 January 2014

D of E: Winter Training

My training for my Duke of Edinburgh (D of E) expedition has started and I’ve already done two of them. My first one was in October and I just had my second one in the middle of January. We get told that they’ll spread our training days out throughout the year so we get a good taste of all the different kinds of weather conditions that we might have to face and how people camp in them.

So, my past two training days have generally been around about the winter time so I’ve been trying to find the easiest way to get through these training days and feel as warm as possible and still get as much out of them as possible.

One of the most important things I could say is wear layers, as many layers as you can manage. It can feel slightly uncomfortable as first but trust me, you will be thankful for them in the long run. Especially, if like me, some of your training days are near the coast. I normally end up with a vest, a thin v-neck jumper, a hoodie and then a waterproof coat. For me, that doesn’t tend to be too bulky but it stops me from feeling cold. A waterproof jacket really is your best bet for any training day to be honest because you never know what the weather will be like and you know for sure that the rain won’t seep through the material.

Getting a flask of tea or coffee or hot chocolate or really any drink that’s warm s a huge help. Whether you keep it in a side pocket of your bag so you can drink it as you go along or just in your bag so when you take a break for lunch you can drink it. It’s surprising how much it can actually help you out. It warms you up pretty quickly.

Hats, gloves and scarves are always a good idea. I only really tend to take my gloves and a scarf and then I‘ll just use my hood. But extra heat is always a good thing. It just makes your experience a whole lot more enjoyable and you don’t mind training for that little bit longer then. Hand warmers are a good idea too, just to stick them into your pockets because I tend to find that even with gloves on, my hands get numb quite quickly.

Clear plastic pockets are a good idea to take with you as well if you have a map or know that you’re going to be given to them. It just stops them for being oaked by the rain or twisted around by the wind. It just ends up keeping them a lot tidier.
Winter training days can be pretty hard to get through but if you got prepared you’ll find that you’ll enjoy them a lot more and get a lot more out of them. 

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