Training for a Really Long Hike
I spend a lot of, ok some, time training and planning my training. I’m going to be 59 next week and have all the issues of anyone who has used her body for 59 years. I’ve had Plantar Fasciitis (now evidently called Fasciosis), Morton’s Neuroma, tight muscles, and a predilection toward avoiding all forms of exercise in favor of perusing kitten videos on FaceBook.
I do have a training plan. I use it as a rough guide and a way to move my creaky body toward better shape so I won’t keel over after the first few days on the trail. I’ve found that if I don’t train for a few months before a long hike, I end up with some nasty injury pretty early in the vacation. That sucks. So I train.
I don’t like training. It’s boring, hot and not all that much fun. But it beats the hell out of falling on the trail and having to cut a hike short (done that), tearing a tendon and not being able to start a hike (done that), being so out of shape that I could not carry enough water to make it to the next water source (done that)…etc.
I track my training using MapMyHike and a spreadsheet, but the formula is pretty simple. I use a hike close to my house with a 1,000 foot rise in about 5 miles. I’m planning to keep the elevation gains under 2,0000 feet in 15 miles for my PCT hike this summer. To train for this, I add weight each training week until I carry the fully-loaded pack. I hike twice a week with a rest day in between and the last couple of weeks I hike back to back days. On the non-hike days, I visit the gym and work on upper body fitness. Gotta hoist that 30lb pack (18lb base weight)!
I also plan a 3-4 day shakedown hike within a month of the longer hike. That gives me a gauge on my fitness for the full hike and allows me to see how any new gear is working- or not working.
This is not perfect but works pretty well for me.
And I also get to see the Saguaros blooming! YAY!