You might think that I’m crazy..

My preparation for Yukon Arctic

I have been so busy with the preparations, that have not yet been able to share information about everything that has happened. So now I will try to write a bit more in detail about my preparations for Yukon Arctic!

Why is preparation important?

In February, I announced that I had set a new goal for myself, but my first trainings started already in December, and got more serious in January.

The first thing I tried to figure out was cold tolerance, and then took on different sprints, general body training, pulling tires, etc.

During Yukon, it is important to be able to cope with cold, while pulling a sledge, and do it for 690 km.

Surely you think I’m crazy?

Yet these are the things that have to be done to get back home safely. Once you have taken a goal that goes beyond your boundaries. then you take all the responsibility and if something goes wrong, then no one else is to blame.

You need to stay focused, understand all the dangers and set a strategy that would make it easier for me to be the first Estonian to finish Yukon Arctic 2019!

What is my training schedule?

My weekly schedule includes running while pulling a tore three times a week, with different pace and heart rate; swimming twice a week in open water; and full body workouts once a week. I work on my cold tolerance on a daily basis as well. My favourite day, of course, is my rest day once a week, but it always goes by very quickly.

1st CHALLENGE: Building up cold tolerance

From December of last year to June of this year, my day-to-day activity has been tempering the body in the cold both in the mornings and in the evenings. In addition, I have been sitting in the snow, swimming in the pond next to my home several times a day.

At first, it was all quite a shock for the body, because I had to completely come out of my comfort zone. When you first start taking cold showers, it is not for a very long time, but then you start to lengthen the time every day to train your nervous system and resistance. This is definitely one of the most difficult activities, because your brain gives you the signal to stop this nonsense, but you have to withstand it. Before I started building my cold tolerance, I took a 10-week cold training from the Guinness record holder, Wim Hof, during which I had to practice a variety of exercises that motivated and inspired me to train. From various examples in his book, I realized that we are much stronger than we think. The more time I spend training, the easier it get, of course, but it is still difficult to withstand the cold.

I must mention that the hardest part is when you wake up, you are tired or sleepy, and your body is so blocked, that you stand in front of the shower for 10-15 seconds. That is precisely why I know that this is a very important part of my training and I have to practice it more. In Yukon, there will definitely be similar situations during the competition in the mornings. What happens when I wake up in the snow and I have to get out of the sleeping bag with the outside temperature of -35 or -50? it is going to be a real challenge.

2nd CHALLENGE: Training in the open water

In addition to building up cold tolerance, I go swimming in the sea twice a week. I made the first swims in the reservoirs in the beginning of July and now I’ve been swimming mostly in the sea.

The goal of the swimming is, in particular, to simultaneously rest my feet and train in cold resistance.

Open water swimming is definitely one of the most natural exercises to help your body get used to the cold, because if you swim in an 11-degree water without a calypso for 30 minutes, the body will react and the cold will take over. First, the movements become stiffer and you can’t move your fingers very well. This is a sign of hypothermia. You feel like you are becoming a block of ice. After getting out of the water, it takes at least 1 hour to warm in the 18 ° C outside temperature. You can only imagine what your body will be doing at negative degrees, but it is an important process to increase resistance. I go swimming with my coach Eiko Toom, just to make sure nothing happens. I am not a very good swimmer, but I get better every time.

Any one of us can go into the cold for a little while, but can you stay there for 1h? This requires proper preparation, meditation, breathing exercises and the reason “WHY”!

3rd CHALLENGE: Pulling a tire

One of the most difficult parts of my workout is to run for hours, pulling a car tire. When I started, I thought the tire weighs about 15 kg. When I had been running for 2 months, three times a week, I realized that the tire actually weighs 30.4 kg.

The thing that made the tire heavy at first was all the dirt that built up in it. The solution to this problem was macro-flex.

The purpose of pulling the tire is to stimulate pulling the sledge with portable equipment in the Yukon Arctic competition.

I run with the tire for about 8-9 hours a week and aim to train the legs and the entire body.

At first it was a challenge, but now the body is stronger. This is indicated by the heart rate, that I can now control. I’ve also gotten rid of muscle soreness, which was quite serious in the beginning after every tire-run.

Training is hard, but I would rather experience it now and not be overcome by the pain during the competition! These are just the first stage trainings, and the second part begins in late September. In the meantime, I have to work and find good partners, who believe in my undertaking and deal with all the detailed issues relating to the equipment.

But for now, let’s keep on training!