“Polepole” (po-lay-po-lay) — a Swahili term meaning “slowly, slowly” — is what porters on Kilimanjaro say as you climb the mountain. It’s also how you train for other long-distance mountain treks.Of the estimated 35,000 people that attempt to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania every year, about half do not make it to the top. There are several reasons for this, but one of the primary blocks is people arriving to the mountain physically unprepared for what their bodies are about to endure. Polepole is a comprehensive long-distance mountain trek training manual for anyone looking to engage in one of the more defining moments of their life.
As you make your way through gradually intensifying workouts designed by fitness trainer Angela deJong to strengthen your body and increase your endurance, Erinne Sevigny Adachi offers her own Kilimanjaro story. Her journey starts not on the day her feet land on African soil but months earlier when they don sneakers and land on Angela’s treadmill for the first time. Her narrative offers insights into what it’s truly like to go from wheezing on a light jog to the best condition of her life in preparation for the most rewarding physical challenge she’s attempted yet.