'Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go.'
Training obviously changes according to the proximity of a major expedition, but there is a certain base level of training that Rob and James permanently undergo in a number of different disciplines to maintain the high level of fitness and technical ability that has been required on mountains so far and will be required to the full on Everest. With academic experience in the field, they are quite scientific about their training schedules to create the right balance of fitness in all the different physical and mental elements that survival on the mountain demands.
Running:Rob and James are keen long-distance runners, having run the London Marathon together, and they usually run for half an hour 3 or 4 times a week, with a longer run of ten miles or so at the weekend. They also enjoy racing, and have enjoyed entering cross-country competitions, and running provides a very good way to maintain the strength of their joints and to build up cardiovascular fitness and aerobic ability.
Cycling: Although cycling often takes the form of long tours or expeditions, both try to go riding once or twice a week, and time constraints have more recently caused them to take an interest in shorter time trials. Cycling is a sport that is relatively friendly to injuries, as well as often requiring a tolerance to cold hands and feet that is necessary on snowy peaks! It often demands long periods of continued concentration through physical tiredness, especially if, like Rob and James, you break club records for the number of miles in a day: they have cycled 220 miles in eighteen solid hours.
Triathlon: Combining these two disciplines with swimming, in which they are both adequately capable, Rob and James have used a multi-disciplinary approach to combine the muscular and aerobic benefits of three types of training. They have entered a number of competitions, as well as having a history of running triathlons at 5am in the winter, including the swim in an icy cold local lake.
Climbing: Obviously Rob and James spend much of their time nipping round the country in Hesta, Rob's dodgy blue Fiesta, to practice leading routes on rock, but aside from these trips they climb regularly indoors at Craggy Island in Guilford to keep their finger strength and climbing technique at a capable level in readiness for expeditions and the intense training that comes with each one.
Gym training: Much of the refined cardiovascular training takes place on a gym that occupies most of Rob's bedroom, and they perform circuits daily on this. When away from home they keep up a regime of press-ups, sit-ups pull-ups and similar exercises to keep the right balance of stamina and strength. The pull-up bar on the door frame, below the home-made finger board, inflicts a painful blow to the head that always reminds the unwary that they are entering 'the pain room'.
Other: Rob and James are of the crazy outdoor enthusiast type, keen to try their hand at anything, so they also do a bit of hill-walking, sailing, skiing, and canoeing; not forgetting of course the winter days on the building site.