Inspired by the recent "big adventures" thread, I'm really eager to commit to doing (walking / perhaps running easy parts) the Welsh 3000s this year in the summer (assuming we're allowed of course).
I tried searching for training plans for it but I couldn't actually find anything. What do people think is a reasonable "longest hike" to have done before it in training to prepare you? I'm reasonably fit I think. I could probably do it tomorrow and survive but it would be nice to do it and it not be a killer (if that makes sense...!).
Let's assume I've already hiked all the parts of it separately so I know the way, and that I've got good navigation skills etc. already. I'm talking about fitness purely.
Should I just do an 18 hour hike in the Peak District maybe??
It's such a great route!
Have you ever run a marathon? It's very similar to a mountain marathon. I walked it in just over 12 hours a few summers ago whilst in between two ultras (so was fit) - a bit over 2 miles an hour on average.
The thought of walking for 18 hours as prep seems a bit much. I think a 20 mile hike would be more than enough. My training was mainly hills - lapping small local hills. As you know, the hills are long and tough on the route so the better prepared for that, the easier you'll find it.
I'm sure there will be more experienced runners/hikers replying too.. but for me the key is always getting used to spending long days on my feet and moving.
I can power through ascents and descents and my fitness is generally fairly good - what I find the hardest is pushing through the barrier when your body says 'this is a little longer than usual, no?'.
So a long hike relative to the distance sounds like a good plan in my (inexperienced) opinion.
It's a fantastic big day out. I've done it a few times, including a "double" when we got to the end then turned around and reversed it all. That was a bit of a killer - but the others were OK. I didn't do any special training, but I was doing a fair bit of running at the time, which would have included a regular 12-15 miler and around 25-30 miles total most weeks. This was plenty to get me round the 3000's in reasonable walking time. I see you're into running: what sort of mileage? Even on the double, the hardest part was mental: not taking the opportunity to bail when it was dark and we were knackered and had to start climbing again. A couple of cans of Red Bull proved to be most effective at sorting that out! Great objective - enjoy.
The Kinder Dozen would make for a decent training walk. Like most fun things on Kinder, it is best done outside of summer but either as a walk or run, it makes for a great day out. Alternatively the Kinder Killer is longer, but the climbs are less severe and it's more on paths.
18 hours is OTT if you are reasonably fit already - 12 should be fine. The key thing for me would be to prepare yourself for the long ups and even more so the downs - they trash the quads if you're not used to them. So rather than just doing long slow days in the Peak, find the longest decently steep slopes and get some sessions in hammer up and down those. Something like the slopes from Kings Seat on Rushup Edge down into Edale. Or From Ringing Roger to Edale. Yorkshire Bridge to Win Hill? I'm sure there are plenty of others. A bit boring perhaps, but better prep.
For what it's worth (having done various variations) I still think there's something special in finishing at sunset on Snowdon (via Crib Goch and with luck yo'll have the summit to youself). It leaves the best bit till last and has a lovely run down to Pen-y-Pass or Nant Peris/Llanberis to finish (if you've still got the legs*, see above).
*And ideally a full moon (or a headtorch).
> The Kinder Dozen would make for a decent training walk...
Hmm, the Kinder Dozen is a great route, but I wouldn't rate it as 'training' for the W3k - it's too tough (it's harder than the W3k IMHO). Yes, if you can romp round the KD in 12h then you'll have a nice easy day on the W3k, but I don't think that's where the OP is coming from.
> For what it's worth (having done various variations) I still think there's something special in finishing at sunset on Snowdon (via Crib Goch and with luck yo'll have the summit to youself). It leaves the best bit till last and has a lovely run down to Pen-y-Pass or Nant Peris/Llanberis to finish (if you've still got the legs*, see above).
> *And ideally a full moon (or a headtorch).
Special in a different way is to bivvy on top of Snowdon, watch the dawn come up, then get going, dumping the bivvy gear at a car in Nant Peris. I always enjoyed this. The only time I've finished on Snowdon was when we doubled it, and by the time we arrived I was hallucinating from exhaustion so I can't really be sure what the view was like!
Have you seen this old thread?
I can recommend the Clayton/Turnbull book. It’s full of useful suggestions and an inspiring read-even if (cough cough) I haven’t actually done it yet.
Good project- best wishes!
I ran about 1100k last year so about 20k a week, I ran a marathon last year but it took about 4:45m.
I've done 20 mile hikes before around the Kinder area.
From reading this I feel like I could probably do it fine now but I'll definitely look into some of these named routes around Edale.
Following another thread (can't remember which one) I've been doing some squats and going to start doing other non-running training to reduce risk of injury and get faster / run longer more safely. I had hurt my knee a bit overdoing the running over and ascent/descent over xmas and NY, but that's feeling a lot better now.
I'm buzzing about this. Can't wait.
We did it in 2018, bivvied on Snowdon and started at 05:00. Dumped gear in car at Vaynol Arms then picked up our stash of bivvy stuff in Ogwen for the final part and bivvy.
My training consisted of a winter 2 day mountaineering trip, walked to work a few times and a few runs on the north downs.
We didn't run any of it and were carrying quite a lot of kit for most of the peaks.
Thoroughly enjoyable day out, bivvied the last night in the emergency shelter on Foel Grach then walked back to Ogwen the next day. Bus back to the YHA PYP and drank lots of beer. Awesome weekend.
If you run and have done a bit of hill training you'll be fine to walk it in 12-14 hours. If you carry lots of kit and bivvy both ends it may take a bit longer. I think we did it in 16 hours, but actual moving time was 12 hours.
I liked the running mags articles on how to run your first long distance race training tips which focused on getting gradually used to distances up to about two thirds of your target whilst working on pace training (fartlek). So gradually build up distance on walks with similar ratios of long up and downs (Edale area is ideal) and in-between, shorter walks where you warm-up, fartlek on convenient steep sections and warm-down. Rest at least a day a week. Heart rate monitors are good to ensure you're not going too fast on uphill bits (or use the talking/singing test....check if you can just about talk or sing without stopping), as if you are above aerobic threshold that's too fast for the best training gain (unless in a fartlek section).
A nice way to do it if that is how it pans out. One issue with that is getting woken up through the night by jubilant three peakers, rather spoils the ability to sleep and the experience.
I can’t help you with specific training routes in your area but with long routes I usually get out a couple of weeks before on something 50-66% of the main event. The percentage being of either time, distance or ascent - depending on which one is more important.
I did it in 2015 and was running a bit in the hills back then. I walked from Bethesda to Pen y Pass in 15 hours and around 11.5 hours first to last summit. Quicker than I expected to be actually. Try and do it in good weather, think hard about how to approach Tryfan as it can really slow you down and do the route in whatever direction you like.
The parts that are more difficult to practise in Derbyshire is the moving at a decent pace on steep rocky ground for the glyders and tryfan section of the Welsh 3000s, but for the rest I'd just echo long days out walking or running, but whilst trying to do as much height gain as possible. I did the W3Ks as part of a little team of us who would meet for a trail / fell run once a week on the western edges of the Peak (these were usually evenings, so never more than around 17km, but with plenty of hills) and then just got out running a couple more times a week, sometimes with some hill reps thrown in. The Edale Skyline is a good one for time on your feet (36km ish off the top of my head) though the ascent isn't nearly as much as on the W3K. A lot of it whilst you're doing it will be down to having yourself mentally psyched up for a long day out in the hills.
Always managed to avoid too many Peaky Blunderers. Did have a less than lovely night of drizzle on one occasion though.
You can train for as many rocky ascents and descents as you desire integrated into walks along gritstone crags.
> Special in a different way is to bivvy on top of Snowdon, watch the dawn come up,
I did it years ago. I bivvied on top of Carnedd Ugain (Much nicer than listening to a diesel generator all night on Snowdon) then strolled over in first light to watch the dawn from Snowdon summit. Very special. I was solo so carried my kit and bivvied on Foel Fras to finish. A great day when I was much younger and fitter!
True! I was thinking of the lengthy downhill choss fest between the Glyders and Tryfan alongside Bristly Ridge when I wrote that, steep scree is hard to replicate, but I suppose you could do a route which went up and down as many descent routes as you could next to any number of grit crags!
Lots of uphill. I did a week in the alps (with a good level of fitness already) doing 1000m of ascent each morning at a good lick and then back down again.
Taking 18 hours to do it sounds like hell! Aim to do a quick time of 12 hours or less, just to minimise time on your feet.
have you considered North to South? No bivi, nicer descents and doesn’t start with a big loss of height carrying kit. Just a thought
marek nailed it with the quads problem - you can be really fit but still not be accustomed to long jolting descents, like down to Tryfan then on down to the A5. Our first attempt of 2019 ended after the West gully descent from Tryfan, the pain/cramp from stepping down again and again made me so slow the appeal of crossing the Carneddau shrank to zero. Had to cadge a lift back to Ynys from CC members in Helyg..
Second attempt, later in the same week, ended halfway up Elidir Fawr with a heartrate over 150 and not going back down after resting. Went back a month later and in a less than perfect visibility (ie basically zero) day managed to keep going to the end. Went the long way off Tryfan to avoid the gully and the alternative way up Pen yr Oleu Wen. Started from Ynys Ettws, walked up the pass and Pyg track to conquor Mount Snowdon then descended Crib Goch to get back to Ynys and breakfast. Taxi picked us up from Abergwyngregyn at 23:30. Absolutely knackered. 16:05 for the traverse but 21 hours plus in total.
This was the first time I have completed the 'proper' 3000s in the correct order - the Bowline way was to ascend Crib Goch first and descend Snowdon by the steep grass by Clogwyn station - much more efficient. 30-odd years ago we did round-trip crossings in about 16 hours from Pen yr Gwryd, one each way, and I had one solo but supported on the roads effort which took about 8h 30 with lots of running. It seems a lot more difficult now!
Lots and lots of walking/running should do the trick.
I tried and failed twice. Once from the eastern end and the last time starting from Snowdon. We bivvied the summits the night before both times to save time in the mornings. I think our mistake was not traveling lighter - with all our Mars bars and boxes of milk, they must've been 15kg a piece.
On the first attempt, we just rocked up and tried... Almost made it... But the next day, neither of us could walk unless knees where locked - the slightest bend in the knee and the leg folded completely. Painful and decidedly silly to behold. It was the long downhill parts that did it.
As was says before: "they trash the quads if you're not used to them."
Plenty of steep lose stuff in the Peak if you want that as well....even some on standard crag approaches in Chew and Longdendale.
We got injured before we did the Cuillin ridge so, not being able to run, most of our practice was long days roped solo together with approach shoes on Stanage (it's what led us into guidebook work as some of the easier climbs were crazy hard for the grade).
You're pretty fit by the sounds of it, so just pace yourself and eat plenty. That's the crux of most of these things. I did it north to South when I was 17,and bonked pretty badly going up crib Goch. The exposed ridge did a great job of getting rid of that. Did it again a few years ago South to North. Definitely faster that way, but pen Yr ole wen was grim.
I always find doing double days is great preparation for this sort of thing. Do a big day on the weekend where you do some fierce hill reps in the morning, then a long steady in the evening. That, along with a couple more hilly hour or two in the week should see you fine.
Loads of walking, and find a footwear system that works for you and stick with it.
Other than, I found that on the occasions I did this sort of stuff, I ate a surprising amount on the walk. Possibly physical, possibly psychological. A load of energy bars would not have done it for me !
> Other than, I found that on the occasions I did this sort of stuff, I ate a surprising amount on the walk. Possibly physical, possibly psychological. A load of energy bars would not have done it for me !
For me, one of the main attractions was always the perma-eating. Sausage sandwiches, chocolate-coated Brazil nuts, jelly babies,Jaffa Cakes and Red Bull as required. My body's a temple. Ruined, obviously.
I wrote a blog on this subject not too long ago here: https://gearandmountains.wordpress.com/2020/09/08/the-welsh-3000s-tips-and-hacks/
...but in summary I think the key thing is getting in loads of ascent and descent during training. Do a day out with at least 2000m of steep ascent and descent in and see how your legs feel after that. Doing reps of shorter hills (under say 200m descent) doesn't really cut it because you don't get the full fatigue effect, but if you do a loop round Kinder dropping down as far as you can and going back up again at every opportunity that's pretty good.
I'm not sure about the need for training ascents - many folk manage on training regimes in relatively flat areas.
Obviously specific hill training will help but any programme of long, intense walking should at least get you round, even if you're not breaking any records.
Maybe, i think it differs a bit from person to person though and as you say it depends on how fast you want to go. The crux of the 3000s for me in undoubtedly the descent of Tryfan followed by the massive slog up the other side. Once that bit is done it's just a case of 'keep going'. The amount of ascent and descent on the route is very high compared to almost any 'normal' route in the Peak.
You’ll be absolutely fine. It’s long-ish day out (I got round in under 9 hours without the cheat start/finish, about 3 months after a 3:08 marathon), not the massive wild adventure people will have you believe. Spend time on your feet, get some big walks/runs in and you’ll be fine.
> not the massive wild adventure people will have you believe
It's all relative. I think it feels like that to plenty of people. After all, what is a big multi-pitch mountain adventure route for some is a relaxing solo to someone else. I don't feel those describing the 3s as a big adventure are trying to con anyone - that's how it was for them. Tread carefully in the fell running shoes, for you tread on their dreams!
> Maybe, i think it differs a bit from person to person though and as you say it depends on how fast you want to go. The crux of the 3000s for me in undoubtedly the descent of Tryfan followed by the massive slog up the other side.
I came down the north ridge - more interesting as long as you are confident with scrambling. The slog up onto the Carneddau is much more pleasant if you go via Glan Dena and the east ridge of Pen yr Ole Wen which fits in with the north ridge descent.
The Derwent watershed is a good one for confidence in endurance. If you dont do it frozen at this time of year. Its probably harder. Definitely more boggy
Even when I thought I was pretty hill fit, I think the best I managed was around 18 hours, but hill fit is relative for someone living in Coventry at the time. That always seemed on a par with many of my hill walking peers though.
> It's all relative. I think it feels like that to plenty of people. After all, what is a big multi-pitch mountain adventure route for some is a relaxing solo to someone else. I don't feel those describing the 3s as a big adventure are trying to con anyone - that's how it was for them. Tread carefully in the fell running shoes, for you tread on their dreams!
Yeah fair enough, good point. My aim here was more to demistify it a little rather than anything else!
Running a marathon at 7 minute mile pace is exceptional fitness for the population. At my best I managed that for my one and only competitive 10k on a flat course with mainly club runners (finishing just in the top half). Doing such a walk with no above population average base fitness is nigh on impossible. I know you mean well but it is a major adventure for the average UK hillwalker.