To build our core fitness, we spent the year getting out into the local mountains as much as we could.
10 kilometres in the Ruahine Ranges is like 20 kilometres down south. Te Ruahine and Te Tararua may look small compared to the Southern Alps...but their intense geography and undeveloped tracks make them a perfect training ground for Te Araroa...unless you fall off.
One session a week at Kelly's, Palmy's grungiest, cheapest and most relaxed gym, helped us build some muscle strength. One session of pilates a week did a great job of holding our-stressed out bodies together.
A month before we let we had heaps to do let the training schedule slip. It's partly Norman Croucher's fault, but we also decided to save ourselves from injury and wanted to put on a bit of weight.
No more gym, big walks or mountains. We did take one more trip up to Iron Gate Ridge to check the new traps before we left in January. It was time to eat and drink. We still stretched out in a weekly pilates session and we also started to walk to and from work when we managed to wake up that early - an 8k round trip - wearing our boots. It probably looked weird, but we reckon it was a good way to harden out feet.
Note: it turned out to be a good plan. We were fit, but in good condition.