This past week I finished a 50 mile section. Start off slow with hopping from shelter to shelter. Three days later my legs began to catch up with my mileage plus carrying a 35 lb pack. On day five, I was much stronger and had uped it to 10 miles. Just start slow and allow your legs to get use to the trail.
Injury is really inevitable.
Keys to minimize and keep you on the trail:
the RIGHT footwear and insoles for your foot type to start
Dispense with the mentality that you have to make miles, keep up with friends, etc
Stretching exercises before your hike and while you are hiking (hams, quads, calves, stretch for the ITB band)
Giving your ligaments time to stretch and adapt (just b/c they may hurt doesn't mean you have injured them, it may mean they are stretching, so take it easy) - listen to your body but don't over listen
Lower pack weight
Adequate nutrition to heal muscles with right protein, vitamins, carbs and fats (not mashed potatoes and ramen) including taking supplements like calcium, multi vite, high potent glucosmine (better to start that regimen 2 weeks before your hike)
RICE when injured
A good attitude
Last edited by Blissful; 04-19-2012 at 14:52.
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This reminds me.... my next purchase needs to be a good pair of hiking boots so I can go ahead and get them broken in before March of 2013.
the next purchase was going to be a tarp tent.... but i may as well get what I need more.
Last edited by MyName1sMud; 04-19-2012 at 15:32.
I had to abort the AT on April 08. Got as far as Damascus. I had an MRI taken when I got home and it was bad news.My right upper femur has a hairline crack near the ball and socket joint area. I must keep off that right leg for six weeks. I was averaging 15 mile days up to Damascus when the pain started in my right grion area. I did have a fall on the way to Hot Springs, but I thought it wasnt serious and keept on hiking. I will continue my thru hike in 2013.
The fact still remains, a thru-hike is hard on the body and mind. A lot of folks think they will have no problem hiking 15 miles a day from day one. I don't care what kind of preperation you do, before you start, the trail will finally catch up with you if you don't take it easy until you get into trail shape. Depending on your age, this can take from a few days to a couple of weeks.
Im always amazed at people who come straight from home and try to be impressive rock stars and knock out 20s every day out of the gate...personally, and this is one mans opinion, it aint to smart.
I started out nice and slow with 8-9 mile days. Hiked 11 miles to get to Hiawasee when I coulda stopped 3 miles from the gap, and got into town the next morning ... Got my first blister that day. The next day I was on the trail at 1:00, and hiked the 9 miles to the GA border. That went so well, I decided to do 12. It rained that afternoon, so I pushed to my goal w/o breaks. Got two more blisters. After three days of relatively big miles, pushing to get someplace I really didn't need to be, pushing hard without breaks in the afternoons, and not being disciplined about morning stretching, I woke up with my knee on fire. I took naproxin and a codeine/tylenol combo, and tried hiking. I got to Betty Creek, set up camp, and stayed there for three nights to rest what I thought was a tendonitis. On the third morning, I felt a little better, took my meds, hiked out to Rock Gap, and got a ride into Franklin. Saw a doc the next day who concurred with my diagnosis, gave me some higher-end anti inflammatories, and told me to give it a few days rest before getting back on the trail. Six days later, after resting, icing, compressing and elevating, (and paying $40/night), it was not appreciably better. I got a rental car and went home. The new diagnosis is a bursitis. Same treatment, with stretches added, and I'll be seeing a PT soon.
I attribute my problem with (A), hiking with others rather than hiking alone - the group-think thing had me going further and faster than I would have alone - probably. (B), hiking too far, too fast (especially downhill), with insufficient breaks in the PM. (C), not having a disciplined stretching regime every morning before strapping on the pack. And (D), too much weight on my back - Mostly from excessive food... I mean, I had a 30-35 lb pack with food and water, but I'm sure I'll be smarter about my food load, and that I can shed a pound or three of non-food stuff.
I will not repeat those mistakes when I get back on the trail.
Who said it's just walking?
I don't know if there are more or less injuries than any other year but if they are, my guess is the far better than average weather has a lot to do with it. Cold rainy days force zeros and sleeping in and there have been fewer of those than normal.
Some injuries are attributed to hiking beyond the limits of one's own capabilities. I personaly found myself trying to keep up with hikers that were half my age and having more trail time than me, causing myself to tire sooner and become more prone to injury.
HYOH brother is what im saying.
Think OUTSIDE....no box required.
While the rise of sites like this one has been a great asset in many ways, it also leads to a lot of people trying to do what is right for other people at the expense of listening to their own experience. That's probably part of it.
This is a great thread, full of the hum_le wisdom of real experiences.
Use mid weight hiking boots for a solid foot plant and proper support and carry a 30-35lb. pack. The boot will prevent foot and ankle injuries and the pack will weigh enough to keep you at a pace that will avoid injury. I would really like to see the stats of shoe choice and pack weight starting and finishing...heavier just may give you a better shot of completion! ????????????
It isn't always your hiking shoes that get you. I broke my ankle on my thru attempt in 2010 while going to get water in my crocs at Little Laruel shelter. The path leading down to the water was muddy and slippery and in a nanosecond my thru was over for that year. It took over a year to heal. I am going back to finish in 2013. The crocs were slick on bottom but next time no crocs.
I hiked with a professional backpacker ( teaches and leads groups for a living) this year. He hiked 27 miles one day and 32 the next and then had to get off the trail with shin splints. Even those who know whatmtheymaremdoing need to listen to their bodies and obey.
i have to completely agree with you on this one, bill. i swore i would not give in to peer pressure to hiker faster and further than i felt comfortable, and even though i wasn't actually pressured by anyone, i didn't want to spend a lot of time by myself at the beginning because the whole experience was new and a bit intimidating. i tried to keep up with people for the company rather than just hike at my own rate. that was a big mistake. well that and listen to supposedly experienced people on here who said that poles weren't needed if you traveled light.
i didn't use poles for the first 30. i'd not recommend doing that.
also, i'd recommend not listening to people who say that it is just walking, because unless you are jennifer pharr davis, or an ex-marine, it ain't.