There are many ways of pushing your limits beyond imagination, but there a few that knock off even the boldest people, especially those who accepted the challenge. And an arctic marathon is, without a doubt, one of them.
I’m sure the last freezing experience is still vividly printed in your memory – you’re short of breath, while your whole body trembles uncontrollably, your fingers and your feet are numb, and if you’re lucky, you still feel your face. Now take that feeling, multiply it a thousand times, add a few extrasensory feelings (hallucinations, perhaps), and you’ll be somewhat close to what it feels like to go beyond the Arctic Circle.
But if you’re an adventure-seeker and extreme challenges are on your bucket list, then this article is definitely for you! I’m going to show you a few hints about what to expect when it comes to subduing your body to extreme conditions, but also what shouldn’t be missing out of your bag, if your visit takes more than 24 hours.
Here is what you should do before embarking on such a trip:
1. Your mind should be prepared for the upcoming hell
First of all, get yourself in the proper mindset – what you’ll encounter in this adventure is nothing what you’ve experienced before and, probably, will ever experience for the rest of your days. So expect the worst and make sure your mind and body work perfectly together. Make as many supplies as possible, and decide what you’ll leave behind just when you get at the start point.
2. Get your body used to harsh conditions months before your departure.
Depending on how much time you want to spend there, you should try and adapt your body to lower temperatures and intense wind at least a few months ahead. Such an experience requires lots of training and putting yourself at the risk of hypothermia a few times, because it’s a sure thing you will experience while at the Arctic Circle.
Running in shorts at temperatures of 5°F or taking naked dips in an ice hole could be a great way to start.
Here are a few hints about what happens to your body when exposed to wind and low temperature:
3. Build some fat.
Your body will require 100% and more of your resources just for its homeostasis. For everything else, you will need extra energy, that you will start storing as fat, a few months ahead. 22 extra pounds are enough to keep your body warm, but also not affect your joints or overall performance and wellness.
Even though fat tissue will be your body’s first option when it comes to energy sources, don’t forget that most of your performance will be determined by how well is your muscle mass built. Your need of fat will definitely not be an excuse for a lousy diet – eat healthy, but eat larger portions than the usual.
4. Practice meditation and breathing techniques that will help you control your shivering.
Just as I said earlier, your mind and body should be in perfect balance. It’s no secret that the body acts as your mind dictates. What you will achieve in the end depends on the limits you set for yourself, so make sure you keep your stakes high.
Two of the practices you could use to minimize the weather’s effects on your body, and take control of your state of mind are meditation and respiration techniques. They connect the spirit with the body, which is everything you’ll need.
If you stand your ground after all the intense training, and decide that you’re going to do it anyway, here is what you should do when you find yourself right before departure, and while on the “road”:
1. Buy yourself hyper caloric snacks.
They will work miracles! They provide lots of energy and will be just what you need to keep you going on the road.
2. Buy top notch equipment.
Fine quality equipment makes the difference between surviving or quitting the adventure of your life. Buy yourself at least 2 pairs of goggles, which will keep your eyes (especially the retina) safe from freezing. Buy 3 pairs of gloves and mittens, as your extremities are more prone to freezing.
When it comes to coats, choose one that doesn’t weight very much, but keeps you warm.
3. Keep your mind trained when on the run.
If you don’t try to distract your mind somehow, you’ll end up… a lunatic. So keep your mind busy as long as you can, playing memory-improving games and tricks, trying to remember different events, specific dates or lyrics you enjoy. Start singing, listen to music if you need to, anything that will stray your attention from the fact that you’re actually in the middle of nowhere, and the temperature is around -50°F.
4. Remember the limits you set for yourself – resisting until the end.
Just don’t stop until you haven’t finished your circuit. Once you started, it’s just a matter of days until you’re at the finish line. Do your best, remember all the days you trained for this moment and don’t quit until you get there!
Have you ever been through this experience or a similar one? Share your experience with us and tell us what challenges you faced!