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FiftyNine
11-21-2016, 16:55
Just wondering what people are doing to prepare themselves for this upcoming adventure.

moldy
11-21-2016, 17:39
Go jogging every day for an hour. If you must do more than do as many leg lifts as you can stand. The key here is, don't get injured. Most thru hikers do little or nothing.

Knarmore
11-21-2016, 17:57
Does working 60 hours a week count?

jekerdud
11-21-2016, 18:04
I am doing at minimum a day hike a week. I am working a full time job and driving for Uber in the evening, working all the time now. But, the day hikes happen on the weekend so far. Still getting into the swing of driving after my full time job, so I may start hitting my exercise bike up a couple times a week for the cardio.

Dogwood
11-21-2016, 18:16
Umpteen threads here on WB alone with umpteen answers.

left52side
11-21-2016, 18:26
Its just walking :p.
But honestly before any long distance hike I really do mental preparation more than anything,planning resupply points,hostel stays,possible zero/nero days etc.
And really at the end of the day it is just walking :)
Its all mental...

Dogwood
11-21-2016, 18:31
There absolutely are those who get taken off their hikes for genuine physical medical reasons.

Hikingjim
11-21-2016, 18:47
There are other threads on training, and you'll probably get more responses here. But I'll add that doing a hike with your actual gear will help you a lot
You can tweak along the way, but you'll save some $ and headaches if you do a legit test run with proper gear

SkeeterPee
11-21-2016, 18:57
I am not planning for a thru yet, but at 57 I feel the need to prepare for a section hike. It is much better for me to come in prepared I at my age. OTH my 25 yo son has no problem putting on a pack and hiking 15mi days. I probably could have too at 25. Now I walk every day, and do it with a weighted pack. I just use bags of rice and towels, pillows etc to fill it and get the weight I want. Started about 20 lbs and now do 35 with no issue. I have worked up to two 4mi hikes a day. on the weekends I try for one longer hikes. Currently my feet / ankles are getting tired at 8 miles so I think I have a ways to go in fitness. The weekend hikes are in hills where as the daily walks are just on nearby roads.

I suspect some higher intensity work would be good and could offset some hiking as prep as running or biking would raise your heart rate better than hiking does unless you have bigger hills than I do locally.

rocketsocks
11-21-2016, 18:57
Staying away from the southern AT in March and April.

Engine
11-21-2016, 19:27
Running, day hikes, some bodyweight Crossfit, drinking craft beer...

PennyPincher
11-21-2016, 20:39
I am not planning for a thru yet, but at 57 I feel the need to prepare for a section hike. It is much better for me to come in prepared I at my age. OTH my 25 yo son has no problem putting on a pack and hiking 15mi days. I probably could have too at 25. Now I walk every day, and do it with a weighted pack. I just use bags of rice and towels, pillows etc to fill it and get the weight I want. Started about 20 lbs and now do 35 with no issue. I have worked up to two 4mi hikes a day. on the weekends I try for one longer hikes. Currently my feet / ankles are getting tired at 8 miles so I think I have a ways to go in fitness. The weekend hikes are in hills where as the daily walks are just on nearby roads.

I suspect some higher intensity work would be good and could offset some hiking as prep as running or biking would raise your heart rate better than hiking does unless you have bigger hills than I do locally.

The roads are likely killing your feet. We have lots of concrete around here. When I walk much, I get stress fractures. So now I walk on the grass next to the sidewalks when I can't get out to a "natural surface" trail.

nsherry61
11-21-2016, 20:47
I'd say the most important thing to do, assuming you are at least moderately fit, is to hike 10+ miles at least once a week with your full pack weight to get your feet and knees accustom to working under load.

What are the two ailments that cause most thru failures, aside from mental?. . . Blisters, otherwise soar feet and likely knee issues. I don't really know for sure what the statistics are, but from reading why people fail, I'd say feet and knees are biggest. And you need to long miles and weight to stress them similarly to hiking.

Tipi Walter
11-21-2016, 21:59
Backpacker training?

** Load the pack you're going to use with 40 lbs (okay, 30) and do training hikes 5 days a week---as many miles as you can tolerate--- and try to find some significant hills which causes the heart to pump and the lungs to work.

** Sleep in the backyard for dozens of nights until you really get used to sleeping on your pad---whatever it is. Once you prefer a Thermarest to your indoor bed half of the battle is over.

** Find a significant other (udder?) who can tolerate your backpacking addiction and still wants to be with you when you return home.

** Do a self-inventory on your motivations to hike and be outdoors. Is Nature your religion? You should be okay. Do you want the recognition and the patch? Might not work out. Love hiking and camping in the rain? You got it made. Love solitude and pristine wilderness without rat-box shelters? You might want to find something else to do, or find some place else to go.

MuddyWaters
11-21-2016, 22:06
http://nighthikingtomars.blogspot.com/2015/01/appalachian-trail-thru-hike-situational.html?m=1

egilbe
11-21-2016, 22:11
Backpacker training?

** Load the pack you're going to use with 40 lbs (okay, 30) and do training hikes 5 days a week---as many miles as you can tolerate--- and try to find some significant hills which causes the heart to pump and the lungs to work.

** Sleep in the backyard for dozens of nights until you really get used to sleeping on your pad---whatever it is. Once you prefer a Thermarest to your indoor bed half of the battle is over.

** Find a significant other (udder?) who can tolerate your backpacking addiction and still wants to be with you when you return home.

** Do a self-inventory on your motivations to hike and be outdoors. Is Nature your religion? You should be okay. Do you want the recognition and the patch? Might not work out. Love hiking and camping in the rain? You got it made. Love solitude and pristine wilderness without rat-box shelters? You might want to find something else to do, or find some place else to go.

I've got it made, then. Significant other hikes with me and loves it when it rains, or snows. Not too fond of the wind, though.

Our backpacking training is...backpacking. Almost every weekend finds us in the woods. Its pretty awesome.

Tipi Walter
11-21-2016, 22:28
I always say the best training for backpacking is . . . wait for it . . . backpacking.

rafe
11-21-2016, 22:44
I always say the best training for backpacking is . . . wait for it . . . backpacking.

Certainly a good place to start. Make sure you really, really like it.

Sarcasm the elf
11-21-2016, 22:47
http://nighthikingtomars.blogspot.com/2015/01/appalachian-trail-thru-hike-situational.html?m=1

Thank you for that.

Now that I think of it, I need to bug him about when his 2017 "The Spectacularly Crappy Bear Bag Hangs Of The AT" calendar is coming out.

rocketsocks
11-21-2016, 22:59
http://nighthikingtomars.blogspot.com/2015/01/appalachian-trail-thru-hike-situational.html?m=1 fear and loathing would have iced that cake

rafe
11-21-2016, 23:03
http://nighthikingtomars.blogspot.com/2015/01/appalachian-trail-thru-hike-situational.html?m=1

Classic. I think training in deprivation is key. Try living without: running water, hot showers, toilets, heat, bed, a roof, multiple hot meals per day, light, electronics, and your family and friends.

cliffordbarnabus
11-21-2016, 23:05
http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/images/Eloquent/miscgreen/quote_icon.png Originally Posted by Tipi Walter http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/images/Eloquent/buttonsgreen/viewpost-right.png (http://whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php/showthread.php?p=2106162#post2106162)

** Sleep in the backyard for dozens of nights until you really get used to sleeping on your pad---whatever it is. Once you prefer a Thermarest to your indoor bed half of the battle is over.


this for sure. people pay $gazillions for beds and box springs and four posts what's-its. all you need is ground. and a little buffer.

Huli
11-26-2016, 12:01
I agree with gear trials, the ability to sleep well really impacts your hiking.

As for moving fitness, I personally do various cardiovascular and weighted box step-ups. Not just stairs, the sheer step up then down with weight is super beneficial.

Huli
11-26-2016, 12:02
Bleh, meant to type various cardio workouts and also weighted box step-ups.

Dogwood
11-26-2016, 13:14
... about when his 2017 "The Spectacularly Crappy Bear Bag Hangs Of The AT" calendar is coming out.

Eagerly awaiting the release date. Empty spot on the front of the refrigerator awaits. Does it include hiker girls?

Dogwood
11-26-2016, 13:54
MW, that was a good post linking to Jester's all important "How To Prep" article.

Bryan G. Hickman
11-27-2016, 23:14
I walk a few miles to and from work 6 days a week just as my normal routine. Since my thru hike is fast approaching, I'm making sure to stretch my legs much more and I added a 30lb pack to my daily commute.

Dogwood
11-27-2016, 23:29
I walk a few miles to and from work 6 days a week just as my normal routine. Since my thru hike is fast approaching, I'm making sure to stretch my legs much more and I added a 30lb pack to my daily commute.

Wow, and how complicated it doesn't have to be!

Bravo. That's backpacking training. Now get outside a few nights, preferably in cold and rain and mosquitos , and in your house familiarizing yourself with your kit and you're probably more ready than most.

Doesn't have to be that hard and complicated. But you have to have the will. That mental inner fortitude thats says you will not be denied. You will go the extra mile. You will get through the fear, the unfamiliar, the temporary. You know you will be better for it by rising to the challenge. Settle in your soul that overcoming by the testing of your faith through trials and tribulations is making you and the world better.

MuddyWaters
11-27-2016, 23:37
I honestly dont think physical training is that important for AT hike
You have time to get in shape, if you are in avg shape or so to start.

Footwear....most important...have it nailed. This will put you offtrail in a week.
Pack wt...keep it light...about 30 tops with full food and water
Do some multiday shakedowns in hard terrain,to adjust expectations . Its real work. All day every day. No, really its hard as hell.
Have a plan to avoid repetitive motion injuries. Ie. Start really slow. Add 10% per week. Dont rush it. Running for months before can be good to condition bones and tendons for hiking, but its not perfect.

If you want to kick it up, cardio, full body weights, and running is good to jump start you a little

johnupton318
11-28-2016, 16:59
I went on a day hike weekly and slowly increased pack weight until it was heavier than my trail weight. Average hike was about 10 miles. This gave me a huge edge at the beginning, even on flat Louisiana trails.
Scuba nobo 2016

dudeijuststarted
11-28-2016, 17:20
I'm training for a hopeful PCT 2018, and using the same thing that got me thru AT injury-free in '14...

Yoga
Barefoot running
Wall squats
Sprints

rafe
11-28-2016, 19:32
Do long hikes. At least three or four nights in the woods. Preferably on terrain similar to the AT, or the AT itself. Better yet if some of those hikes include bad weather.

Thru hiking is as much a mental/emotional game as physical. I don't know how one prepares for the mental/emotional stuff. Not sure you can do that in a gym or with Crossfit or with weights. But those long hikes may help.

Don't sweat the gear too much. Assuming money's not a big problem, gear issues can be sorted out as you go.

Physical training can't hurt, but it's no guarantee of success. Give yourself some slack in your overall schedule and think of the first few weeks as training for the next 2000 miles.

coyote9
12-04-2016, 01:01
Trying to gain as much fat as I can.

coyote9
12-04-2016, 01:15
Trying to gain as much fat as I can.

Lear
12-04-2016, 13:54
I get online training with Anish, it's great. If anyone knows core you gotta believe she does. So far the first month already I have noticed a difference. She has a contact on her blog and responded. Like I say she adds cardio to a bunch of new and different core exercises that have addressed a number of chronic issues I have had in my Achilles and IT band. She goes slow and carefully. Plus I feel like I'm sponsoring an honest upfront hiker not some corporate titan.

Dogwood
12-04-2016, 14:02
I get online training with Anish, it's great. If anyone knows core you gotta believe she does. So far the first month already I have noticed a difference. She has a contact on her blog and responded. Like I say she adds cardio to a bunch of new and different core exercises that have addressed a number of chronic issues I have had in my Achilles and IT band. She goes slow and carefully. Plus I feel like I'm sponsoring an honest upfront hiker not some corporate titan.

Great post.

ScareBear
12-04-2016, 14:28
A thru hike is tough. What are the stats? 80 percent don't make it out of Georgia? And of those that do only 20 percent actually finish a thru hike? I thought I read those somewhere. Correct me if I am wrong, please!

I can see why 80 percent don't make it out of Georgia or quit before Fontana Dam. Even if you've hiked yourself into shape and are consistently bagging 15 mile days, the toll of rain/cold/fatigue/routine/loneliness can add up and overwhelm you. And, I'd say Fontana Dam would be a good place to stop, take a zero and reflect. You've only made it one-tenth of the way to Kthadin. You've got more than 2000 miles to go. Are you still up for it? Are you enjoying yourself? Can you repeat 9 more cycles of what you just did?

It is, at that point, purely mental. Whether the desire to achieve the goal is stronger than the desire to stop...that will be the only thing stopping you the rest of the way...

DavidNH
12-04-2016, 15:27
for those planning to thru hike the AT I suggest 1) at a minimum do some over night (weekend) backpack trips. You get used to carrying a lone, being self sufficient, and finding out if backpacking is something you enjoy. 2) If you can, take a few weeks to a month an thru hike (or do most of ) the Vermont Long Trail. If you can do this trail, you can handle anything the AT can throw at you.

RockDoc
12-04-2016, 16:05
Physically, trail running works very well, throw in a lot of walking up and down hills.
Mentally, you are on your own.

Christoph
12-04-2016, 16:23
Uphill treadmill, stair climber, and burpies. Physically the uphill parts are what got to me the most. Now that my pack is (a lot) lighter, that'll help tremendously. Mentally though is another story. I've learned a lot of things on my hike that'll help. Things like weight savings, walk/rest cycles, listening to my body, knowing what to look for (Lyme, etc...), having a routine (bathing, cleaning equipment, etc..), eating properly, and a knowing every day isn't going to be a blast. Some will stink (hiking in 7 days of straight rain isn't really my idea of fun), people are going to pass you like it's their 1st day on the trail, things happen back home (everything breaks when I leave, all at once it seems). But overall I really enjoyed my thru attempt, even though I "only" made it 750 miles in. And I will attempt another thru, end to end, next year. Still as excited as the 1st try, but preparing physically and especially mentally will get me (and you) to the top.

Greenlight
12-04-2016, 18:53
I am doing at minimum a day hike a week. I am working a full time job and driving for Uber in the evening, working all the time now. But, the day hikes happen on the weekend so far. Still getting into the swing of driving after my full time job, so I may start hitting my exercise bike up a couple times a week for the cardio.

I gave up driving for uber and Lyft. They kept cutting the pay, and it's way too much wear and tear on my vehicle.


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Slo-go'en
12-04-2016, 19:57
A thru hike is tough. What are the stats? 80 percent don't make it out of Georgia? And of those that do only 20 percent actually finish a thru hike? I thought I read those somewhere. Correct me if I am wrong, please!

Well, your not completely wrong, only about 20% do finish so that means 80% dropped out somewhere along the way. Maybe 80% of those who dropped out did so before making it out of Georgia, but even that seems high.

egilbe
12-04-2016, 20:05
80% drop out, but its throughout the entire trail. I read 25% quit by the time they get to Neels Gap and another 25% by Gatlinburg.

rafe
12-04-2016, 20:11
A thru hike is tough. What are the stats? 80 percent don't make it out of Georgia?


80% drop out, but its throughout the entire trail. I read 25% quit by the time they get to Neels Gap and another 25% by Gatlinburg.

What we know for sure is that initial dropout rate is extremely high, that it gradually declines but never hits zero. Large numbers drop out in Virginia and points well north of there, yea even unto Gorham.

egilbe
12-04-2016, 20:14
Ran into a through hiker named Echo that was ready to quit at Swift River campsite because she missed her kids. She was two weeks from finishing at Katahdin. Her friends wouldn't let her quit.

Greenlight
12-04-2016, 22:45
I agree. I walk every day. On the weekends, I try to up the ante and on at least one of the two weekend days, I hike a trail in full gear. Bonus if the trail is hilly, and lots of my weekends are spent on hilly trails.

If you're going to a gym, hit the ladder climber, or get on a treadmill, put the elevation as high as it will go, and set the speed to 3 mph. Do that for at leas half an hour.

Keeping your mind in the game, keeping it fresh, posting here, tinkering with gear, and hiking hiking hiking anywhere and everywhere you can will get you ready.

KNOW YOUR GEAR and for God sake, play with it. Sleep in your tent or hammock one a week. Make your breakfast on your stove. Do all the stuff you'd do on the trail only do it where you are. Make it second nature.

How many people on here (the wise ones) have said ITS ONLY WALKING???

It's only walking.

Your frame was designed to walk like a mofo. So walk.


There are other threads on training, and you'll probably get more responses here. But I'll add that doing a hike with your actual gear will help you a lot
You can tweak along the way, but you'll save some $ and headaches if you do a legit test run with proper gear

coyote9
12-07-2016, 00:39
I will probably be doing a shakedown trip this weekend in North GA if anyone wants to join.

dervari
12-07-2016, 00:48
Pack and unpack your backpack in the dark.

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dervari
12-07-2016, 00:49
I will probably be doing a shakedown trip this weekend in North GA if anyone wants to join.
What area?



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Dogwood
12-07-2016, 01:26
I'm training for a hopeful PCT 2018, and using the same thing that got me thru AT injury-free in '14...

Yoga
Barefoot running
Wall squats
Sprints

Tony Robbins Fire Walk experience helped me to complete an AT thru-hike.

lyagooshka
12-07-2016, 11:55
Went from couch to trail (for a 3 day section in MD).
What I wish I would have done is cardio, especially steps.
Had no issues on the flats, but was stopping at pretty much every blaze on the uphills.
And that's MD.
I can only imagine what GA or NH or ME would be like.
But that's me.
I've never had an issue humpin' a ruck for miles and miles as long as it's flat.
So the basic idea is maintain your strength and improve your weakness.
And don't forget the mental workouts too.
Above all: Have fun.

coyote9
12-07-2016, 12:23
What area?



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Havnt planned anything as of yet. Im open

Sethern
12-08-2016, 20:33
As someone who dropped out this year I hate hearing "Its just walking". Sorry but the trail is a lot more than just a walk in the woods. Sure if you are already in shape it will not be to bad for you. For me GA chewed me up and spit me out in NC. A big reason I felt I did not make it was that I went in with the idea that I could get into shape on the trail. Please do not make my mistake. Get in shape now. I saw people out there in great shape having a hard time at the start and people like me dropping like fly's before even Neel Gap. I am spending a lot of time hiking on hills, losing weight, doing a lot of cardio, and eating right to get ready for 2018. I would say cardio is a big one. Hope this helps someone not make the same mistake I did. It takes a lot of work just to get on the trail. Saving, getting gear, and planing don't forget to put some of that work on the most important part of a thru-hike, you.

ScareBear
12-08-2016, 22:02
As someone who dropped out this year I hate hearing "Its just walking". Sorry but the trail is a lot more than just a walk in the woods. Sure if you are already in shape it will not be to bad for you. For me GA chewed me up and spit me out in NC. A big reason I felt I did not make it was that I went in with the idea that I could get into shape on the trail. Please do not make my mistake. Get in shape now. I saw people out there in great shape having a hard time at the start and people like me dropping like fly's before even Neel Gap. I am spending a lot of time hiking on hills, losing weight, doing a lot of cardio, and eating right to get ready for 2018. I would say cardio is a big one. Hope this helps someone not make the same mistake I did. It takes a lot of work just to get on the trail. Saving, getting gear, and planing don't forget to put some of that work on the most important part of a thru-hike, you.

Congratulations for a most realistic look back at what must have been a huge disappointment, at the time.

Many people, even under-40's, are under the impression that they can "hike themselves into shape". Well, you can....

It's just that by the time you do get close to a semblance of being fit enough to handle NC and TN, you are beaten-up. Your ego is at rock bottom. What seemed like such a grand adventure now seems like.....really freaking hard work. And, you've realized that every day it boils down to this. When you wake in the morning and ask yourself, "What am I going to do today?" the only reasonable answer is going to be "Get up, break camp, hike 15 miles up and down mountains all by myself, make camp, make dinner and go to bed. All by myself." And you must be of the mindset(the hell with the issue of physical conditioning) that you can handle 170 of those mornings. You probably just got done with 5-7 days of Georgia. You've got 160 something more days to go. And you are beat. That's why so many don't make it "hiking themselves into shape". By the time you get to the Old Oak Tree, it is no longer physical, unless you are injured. It has become mental....and you can't just "hike" your mind into shape...

Sethern
12-08-2016, 22:29
Congratulations for a most realistic look back at what must have been a huge disappointment, at the time.

Many people, even under-40's, are under the impression that they can "hike themselves into shape". Well, you can....

It's just that by the time you do get close to a semblance of being fit enough to handle NC and TN, you are beaten-up. Your ego is at rock bottom. What seemed like such a grand adventure now seems like.....really freaking hard work. And, you've realized that every day it boils down to this. When you wake in the morning and ask yourself, "What am I going to do today?" the only reasonable answer is going to be "Get up, break camp, hike 15 miles up and down mountains all by myself, make camp, make dinner and go to bed. All by myself." And you must be of the mindset(the hell with the issue of physical conditioning) that you can handle 170 of those mornings. You probably just got done with 5-7 days of Georgia. You've got 160 something more days to go. And you are beat. That's why so many don't make it "hiking themselves into shape". By the time you get to the Old Oak Tree, it is no longer physical, unless you are injured. It has become mental....and you can't just "hike" your mind into shape...

That is just what it came down to. It was a big disappointment at the time. I remember sitting on that old tree just after the GA/NC border and just felt like I was nothing. I had done all this planning. I had myself so hyped for the hike and now I knew it was over. At that point all I wanted to do was give up forever. I remember thinking that the AT was not an adventure but a punishment. When I got off the trail in Franklin I met someone who put it all into prospective for me. He told me to look at it as a learning experience and to pat myself on the back because 100 miles is nothing to scoff at. I had not failed I had gained experience. When I look back at it now I am happy with what I was able to do. I went from a 345lb couch potato to someone who just a week later hiked over 100 miles on a very tough trail. something most people I know would not even think of doing. Its got me back to work. this time working on myself. I have the gear. I have the knowledge. When I get out on the trail in 2018 I will have the legs and the will to make it to the end.

egilbe
12-08-2016, 22:51
That is just what it came down to. It was a big disappointment at the time. I remember sitting on that old tree just after the GA/NC border and just felt like I was nothing. I had done all this planning. I had myself so hyped for the hike and now I knew it was over. At that point all I wanted to do was give up forever. I remember thinking that the AT was not an adventure but a punishment. When I got off the trail in Franklin I met someone who put it all into prospective for me. He told me to look at it as a learning experience and to pat myself on the back because 100 miles is nothing to scoff at. I had not failed I had gained experience. When I look back at it now I am happy with what I was able to do. I went from a 345lb couch potato to someone who just a week later hiked over 100 miles on a very tough trail. something most people I know would not even think of doing. Its got me back to work. this time working on myself. I have the gear. I have the knowledge. When I get out on the trail in 2018 I will have the legs and the will to make it to the end.

***, dude! 345 lbs and 100 miles in a week is damn impressive.

Sethern
12-08-2016, 22:56
***, dude! 345 lbs and 100 miles in a week is damn impressive.

Lol not a week. It took me 12 days of hiking not counting zero days to get to Franklin.

dervari
12-08-2016, 23:42
My training for a section hike had the following effects

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Dogwood
12-08-2016, 23:54
That is just what it came down to. It was a big disappointment at the time. I remember sitting on that old tree just after the GA/NC border and just felt like I was nothing. I had done all this planning. I had myself so hyped for the hike and now I knew it was over. At that point all I wanted to do was give up forever. I remember thinking that the AT was not an adventure but a punishment. When I got off the trail in Franklin I met someone who put it all into prospective for me. He told me to look at it as a learning experience and to pat myself on the back because 100 miles is nothing to scoff at. I had not failed I had gained experience. When I look back at it now I am happy with what I was able to do. I went from a 345lb couch potato to someone who just a week later hiked over 100 miles on a very tough trail. something most people I know would not even think of doing. Its got me back to work. this time working on myself. I have the gear. I have the knowledge. When I get out on the trail in 2018 I will have the legs and the will to make it to the end.

Hey, if you planned on an AT thru hike it's not rocket science to understand going in its' called Long Distance Hiking because it's about the long haul, about however you wish to chunk it down: step upon step, moment by moment, laugh cry complain, push on, snack, drink, morning after morning, snack, drink, walk, walk, stop have that WOW this is GREAT moment, snack, snack, this is great food moment, drink, drink, have that WOW that's the best water I've ever drank moment, sunset after ohh this is a more beautiful sunset, wow this is GREAT, rain, rain, have that Gene Kelly Singing in the Rain crazy in love moment, more rain, mud, mud, hey that was't mud moment, slap, slap, slap another skeeter, resupply, laugh, laugh, slip, trip, catch yourself, walk, laugh, get hot, try to cool down, WOW this is another GREAT moment, walk, walk , laugh, laugh, laugh, water........:p

dervari
12-08-2016, 23:54
My training for a section hike had the following side effects:

-Lost an additional 50 lbs over the 90 I had already lost
-Got taken off blood pressure meds
-5K time dropped from 44:02 3/15 to 37:57 5/16 (5 days after I finished)
-I can run over a mile on a treadmill without gasping for air
-Can hike up Stone Mountain in 22 minutes instead of 45

And I had no issues on a short 23 mile section over Sassafras and Justus. :) Wish I had more time to have gone farther.

Absolutely a believer in training beforehand.

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Dogwood
12-09-2016, 00:01
Do that for like 120 - 150 days and....Welcome to Maine - The Way Life Should Be ;)

Dogwood
12-09-2016, 00:03
My training for a section hike had the following side effects:

-Lost an additional 50 lbs over the 90 I had already lost
-Got taken off blood pressure meds
-5K time dropped from 44:02 3/15 to 37:57 5/16 (5 days after I finished)
-I can run over a mile on a treadmill without gasping for air
-Can hike up Stone Mountain in 22 minutes instead of 45

And I had no issues on a short 23 mile section over Sassafras and Justus. :) Wish I had more time to have gone farther.

Absolutely a believer in training beforehand.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-T337A using Tapatalk


Way to go.This is what I'm talking about. SHWEET. That's progress That's development.

Sethern
12-09-2016, 00:11
Hey, if you planned on an AT thru hike it's not rocket science to understand going in its' called Long Distance Hiking because it's about the long haul, about however you wish to chunk it down: step upon step, moment by moment, laugh cry complain, push on, snack, drink, morning after morning, snack, drink, walk, walk, stop have that WOW this is GREAT moment, snack, snack, this is great food moment, drink, drink, have that WOW that's the best water I've ever drank moment, sunset after ohh this is a more beautiful sunset, wow this is GREAT, rain, rain, have that Gene Kelly Singing in the Rain crazy in love moment, more rain, mud, mud, hey that was't mud moment, slap, slap, slap another skeeter, resupply, laugh, laugh, slip, trip, catch yourself, walk, laugh, get hot, try to cool down, WOW this is another GREAT moment, walk, walk , laugh, laugh, laugh, water........:p

All I am trying to get at is that training before a thru-hike should be one priority people think about. It was a big mistake that I made. I know people have hit the trail out of shape and made it all the way. I am just giving my opinion after failing a thru-hike myself. I do not want to discourage anyone from trying. I myself plan to try again. I just hope people will think about their health and conditioning to have a better chance at a successful thru-hike. I hope I did not offend anyone with that thought.

Dogwood
12-09-2016, 00:17
All cool. Your post was ^^.

I always appreciate it when one shares how they have learned from their experiences and demonstrates a greater fortitude and wisdom on the rebound. Wish the best for you. :)

Engine
12-09-2016, 05:37
I get online training with Anish, it's great. If anyone knows core you gotta believe she does...Plus I feel like I'm sponsoring an honest upfront hiker not some corporate titan.

Like the evil ZPacks...does she put warning labels on her instructions?

OutdoorsygirlNH
12-12-2016, 12:17
I'm working on my 48 4000 footers in NH. Thankful to live in this state to get ready!!!

ScareBear
12-12-2016, 12:49
All I am trying to get at is that training before a thru-hike should be one priority people think about. It was a big mistake that I made. I know people have hit the trail out of shape and made it all the way. I am just giving my opinion after failing a thru-hike myself. I do not want to discourage anyone from trying. I myself plan to try again. I just hope people will think about their health and conditioning to have a better chance at a successful thru-hike. I hope I did not offend anyone with that thought.

Don't forget the mental aspect of it. How many people start a thru hike without having spent seven nights in a row in the woods in the last 20 years? Solo thru hikers must be prepared to deal with the solitude, no matter their experience level.

While I am of the opinion that most people "grow" on the trail, if they just pay a little attention, some do not. They don't complete thru hikes, IMHO...just sayin...

bblankin
12-13-2016, 18:26
Great posts RE mental training. Clearly #1 priority, and I have nothing to add. But the posts on physical training have mostly been about endurance, and I think that's only half the story. This is my routine:

Strength day: warm up with 15 minutes on the treadmill: 3 mins walking uphill, 12 mins jogging flat, 3 mins walking uphill. Workout: squats, leg presses, leg curls, leg extensions, hanging leg raise, bench press, arm curls, hanging knee raise. Each exercise is 3 sets of 12 reps.
Endurance day: Treadmill for an hour: 3 mins, 3.3 MPH, 6% incline; 54 mins, 2.2 MPH, 30% incline; 3 mins, 3.3 MPH, flat.
My goal week: strength, endurance, recovery, strength, endurance, recovery, recovery.

I've been doing this for a year or so and it has made a world of difference on day hikes and weekend backpacking trips. I like the idea of "hiking yourself into shape" on a long-distance hike, and I certainly wouldn't put off my hike for a month to train. But I don't do much hiking in the winter, and spending these months building a little leg strength and cardiovascular endurance seems like a good idea to me.

Dennis.OnthegO
12-14-2016, 10:31
Great posts RE mental training. Clearly #1 priority, and I have nothing to add. But the posts on physical training have mostly been about endurance, and I think that's only half the story. This is my routine:

Strength day: warm up with 15 minutes on the treadmill: 3 mins walking uphill, 12 mins jogging flat, 3 mins walking uphill. Workout: squats, leg presses, leg curls, leg extensions, hanging leg raise, bench press, arm curls, hanging knee raise. Each exercise is 3 sets of 12 reps.
Endurance day: Treadmill for an hour: 3 mins, 3.3 MPH, 6% incline; 54 mins, 2.2 MPH, 30% incline; 3 mins, 3.3 MPH, flat.
My goal week: strength, endurance, recovery, strength, endurance, recovery, recovery.

I've been doing this for a year or so and it has made a world of difference on day hikes and weekend backpacking trips. I like the idea of "hiking yourself into shape" on a long-distance hike, and I certainly wouldn't put off my hike for a month to train. But I don't do much hiking in the winter, and spending these months building a little leg strength and cardiovascular endurance seems like a good idea to me.

bblankin, this looks very much like what I am doing to prepare for my 2017 thru-hike. There is one exception, though, as the treadmills at my gym max out at 20% (do you tie yourself to the machine at 30%?). I fully realize that none of this is a replacement for actually backpacking, but here in (flat-hot) Florida, I believe it beats no physical preparation at all.

If anyone is interested, the details of my routine can be found at http://dennisonthego.com/training-appalachian-trail

lwhikerchris
01-16-2017, 16:15
There is no real good way to train for an AT thru other than the first 2 weeks of your AT thru.

Greenlight
01-16-2017, 20:51
bblankin, this looks very much like what I am doing to prepare for my 2017 thru-hike. There is one exception, though, as the treadmills at my gym max out at 20% (do you tie yourself to the machine at 30%?). I fully realize that none of this is a replacement for actually backpacking, but here in (flat-hot) Florida, I believe it beats no physical preparation at all.

If anyone is interested, the details of my routine can be found at http://dennisonthego.com/training-appalachian-trail

Hike the crap out of the trails that are around you. That's good training.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

Engine
01-17-2017, 07:14
There is no real good way to train for an AT thru other than the first 2 weeks of your AT thru.

IMHO this is terrible advice, and it's why so many people quit with injuries or just due to severe aches and pains early on. 2 weeks isn't long enough for real adaptation from a training stimulus, but it's plenty of time for injuries from overuse and poor flexibility to arise. There's a lot you can do to prepare and severely lessen, if not completely alleviate, the initial shock to your system from jumping into 10-15 mile days on the trail. For those who don't already train in some manner, a good progression after getting cleared by your doctor would be:

First off, get fit for a good pair of running shoes at a specialty store. DON'T buy something because it's a certain brand and expect it to work for you...get expert help in choosing the correct shoe for your biomechanics.

6 months out

* Daily walks which gradually increase in distance until you are comfortable walking 8-10 miles for at least 2-3 days a week. Do some of these in the rain...

* If you can tolerate it without injury, an easy jog of 1-2 miles 3 times weekly would be great.

* If you have access to a treadmill, start doing some uphill work on it but increase the grade gradually, don't start at 15% right away, your achilles tendons might not like lit.

* Start doing core work 3 days a week. Planks and side planks, crunches, flutter kicks, etc.

* WORK ON FLEXIBILITY! This always seems to be the one thing people ignore and it will do more to ward of injury than anything else. Stretch daily...

* Give yourself one relaxing day weekly to recover from your training and remember, Rome wasn't built in a day so don't overdo it. The motto should be "Train hard, but rest even harder".

4 months out

* If you were able to tolerate the running, increase the distance to around 3 miles but remain watchful for signs of injury.

* Start wearing your pack with at least 20 pounds in it for at least 1 of your weekly walks and make every effort to do this on a trail. It doesn't have to be mountainous, but at least some hills are helpful.

* Add some bodyweight resistance training to your core work. Exercises like bodyweight squats, toe raises, pushups, chinups, and climbing stairs are excellent.

* Try to get at least 1 hour a week on the treadmill at 15% grade

* Keep stretching!

2 months out

* If you were able to maintain a running schedule without any signs of injury, you can increase daily mileage to 4-5 miles for 3 days a week. But, it's critical you not ignore any pains which signal a problem, you're too close to the start date for a stress fracture to heal in time.

* Some of those weekly walks should be getting up into the 12+ mile range and the pack weight should now be equal to what you expect to carry.

* This is a great time for a shakedown hike, try to get out for 2-3 days on trails similar to the AT and test your gear. This will be an excellent indicator of what's working and what isn't in your training program.

* By now you should be comfortable for 1 1/2 to 2 hours on the treadmill at 15% once a week.

* Flexibility...nuff said

2 weeks out

* It's time to back off on the training, let your body recover and finish adapting to all your efforts.

* Keep stretching!

* Decrease your running distance to 2-3 miles a couple of times weekly.

* 30 minutes weekly on the treadmill is enough during this stretch.

* 1-2 walks weekly with the pack on for about 90 minutes, just so your muscles stay used to it.

The last 3-4 days before you start

* Take it easy and eat plenty, let your energy stores build back up. Maybe a 30 minute walk in the evening...

* Keep stretching (got the point yet?)

The first couple weeks of the hike

* Stretch daily, at least a little at lunch and in the evening. This should continue for the entire hike.

* GO EASY the first couple weeks, don't try to set any speed records.

* EAT, you have to refuel and you're burning massive amounts of energy.

* If you feel an injury is occuring or has occured, take a day or two off. Studies have proven that hikers who rest their injuries have less problems with them in the long term.

DavidNH
01-17-2017, 11:55
It helps to be in as good a shape as you can prior to hiking the trail but even so your conditioning happens mostly on trail.

If you've backpacked before you have an idea what you are getting into and will be well set up. If you haven't backpacked before, I highly recommend doing a few short trips first.

peakbagger
01-17-2017, 16:00
I am surprised that everyone is assuming a traditional NOBO. If someone is short on training time and terrain the flip flop out of Harpers is way to go. There was a T shirt with a graphic that showed a caricature of an AT profile end to end. It showed a steep decent from Springer to the middle Atlantic with a long flat stretch with a steep climb towards Katahdin. There is some nice easy walking in the middle Atlantic from about Duncannon PA south to the Troutville VA. Sure there are a few steep climbs but most of it is easy going. Get a few weeks of terrain under your belt and it get you ready for more interesting stuff on either end. This also gets out of the bubble and if you luck out even skip a case of Norovirus.

The other observation is there is little training that anyone from Ohio and pretty much outside of the northeast can do to prep themselves for the first day of a SOBO thru hike starting at Katahdin. Unlike Springer there is no drive up option up to the summit of Mt Katahdin. Most first timers describe the Hunt Trail (the AT) as half hiking and half bouldering. Sure general fitness is great but just resign yourself to being somewhere far out of your comfort level while making this climb. Its not inherently dangerous unless the weather is bad, its just something that most folks just haven't seen in their hiking careers. 8 year old kids and seventy year olds do it and you will to. Best idea is try to con someone into joining you in the park and doing the summit as a day hike then taking a day off and then heading out the next day. Otherwise you will have a real rough next day compounded by hauling maximum gear weight and many days of food. Not sure if AT Lodge offers a day hike option but might be worth given them a call.

Engine
01-17-2017, 16:47
It helps to be in as good a shape as you can prior to hiking the trail but even so your conditioning happens mostly on trail...

I would argue that if you have prepared adequately and have a high level of generalized fitness, then "most" of your conditioning doesn't happen on the trail, nor should it. Under those circumstances most of your conditioning has occurred prior to stepping onto the trail. What you then achieve in the first few weeks would be a training stimulus specific to the task at hand, but not injury inducing, since you arrived at the trailhead with a solid fitness base.

To show up for a LDH with the "plan" to achieve all of your fitness during the first few weeks is somewhat akin to toeing the line at a marathon and hoping for the best. Some people will manage to finish and some might even do so without injury, but for most it would be a horrid experience.

ScareBear
01-18-2017, 05:07
+1 on the above.

Hiking yourself into shape on an AT thru hike is a fool's errand. Unless you are able to exercise extreme self-control and limit yourself as you "hike into shape"(which means lower mile totals and watching everyone who is in shape wave bye-bye), you will injure yourself. No "ifs", just "when". You won't be allowing your body any significant down time to regenerate muscle fibres that you have torn down. You will have excessive inflammation in your connective tissue which will lead to some "itis"(tendonitis, fasciitis, etc..) that won't go away because you won't take consecutive zero days....I could go on and on about why not to embark upon any LDH with the goal of "hiking myself into shape". This is especially true if you are over age 45.

Why would anyone plan for months, prepare gear for months, quit their job, leave their family and friends and embark on a 4 or 5 month adventure, whose hallmark is DAILY CONSTANT HIGH-LEVEL PHYSICAL EXERTION FOR EXTENDED PERIODS WITH FEW OFF DAYS, without physically preparing for it as well? Who does that? Nobody who bothers to think things through...which from experience seems to be....about 3 in 4 thru hikers. Wait. Don't only 1 in 4 thru hikers make it? Hmmmmm.....could there be a correlation here?????

Oventoasted
01-19-2017, 19:45
It's sad but, i dont think ill be able to get in any real training where i live unless i want to drive 4 hrs to the nearest park with trees. best i can do is walk around the town with my pack on. which may get me robbed more often than not. that or walk straight for 10 miles on a country road to the middle of no where. I live in the high plains area of the US. nothing but dead grass and and flat as far as the eye can see. You could probably count the trees with one hand if you stood anywhere here.

Im not in poor shape but the lack of real world practice with my gear may get me. I may just need to go with the taking it slow option when starting my thru-hike. Hope for the best it doesnt bite me in the ass. :(

ScareBear
01-19-2017, 19:49
Hit the Stairmaster. Or, hit the stairs. Seriously. Go up and down stairs non-stop for an hour every other day to start. Then every day. Then when that is easy, go to two hours every other day, then every day. You will get in trail shape sooner than you think. Your body will tell you when to up the frequency/duration...

double d
01-20-2017, 14:42
Best training for backpacking is "mindset". Hiking long distance is not easy-but it should and can be "fun" and of course, its great for you physically. Hike in rain-snow-wind-mud when you can and for long distance (say 8-10 miles to start). Eat the same foods each day-but were does mindset comes in? You enjoy that lifestyle.

lwhikerchris
01-20-2017, 14:53
IMHO this is terrible advice, and it's why so many people quit with injuries or just due to severe aches and pains early on. 2 weeks isn't long enough for real adaptation from a training stimulus, but it's plenty of time for injuries from overuse and poor flexibility to arise. There's a lot you can do to prepare and severely lessen, if not completely alleviate, the initial shock to your system from jumping into 10-15 mile days on the trail. For those who don't already train in some manner, a good progression after getting cleared by your doctor would be:

First off, get fit for a good pair of running shoes at a specialty store. DON'T buy something because it's a certain brand and expect it to work for you...get expert help in choosing the correct shoe for your biomechanics.

6 months out

* Daily walks which gradually increase in distance until you are comfortable walking 8-10 miles for at least 2-3 days a week. Do some of these in the rain...

* If you can tolerate it without injury, an easy jog of 1-2 miles 3 times weekly would be great.

* If you have access to a treadmill, start doing some uphill work on it but increase the grade gradually, don't start at 15% right away, your achilles tendons might not like lit.

* Start doing core work 3 days a week. Planks and side planks, crunches, flutter kicks, etc.

* WORK ON FLEXIBILITY! This always seems to be the one thing people ignore and it will do more to ward of injury than anything else. Stretch daily...

* Give yourself one relaxing day weekly to recover from your training and remember, Rome wasn't built in a day so don't overdo it. The motto should be "Train hard, but rest even harder".

4 months out

* If you were able to tolerate the running, increase the distance to around 3 miles but remain watchful for signs of injury.

* Start wearing your pack with at least 20 pounds in it for at least 1 of your weekly walks and make every effort to do this on a trail. It doesn't have to be mountainous, but at least some hills are helpful.

* Add some bodyweight resistance training to your core work. Exercises like bodyweight squats, toe raises, pushups, chinups, and climbing stairs are excellent.

* Try to get at least 1 hour a week on the treadmill at 15% grade

* Keep stretching!

2 months out

* If you were able to maintain a running schedule without any signs of injury, you can increase daily mileage to 4-5 miles for 3 days a week. But, it's critical you not ignore any pains which signal a problem, you're too close to the start date for a stress fracture to heal in time.

* Some of those weekly walks should be getting up into the 12+ mile range and the pack weight should now be equal to what you expect to carry.

* This is a great time for a shakedown hike, try to get out for 2-3 days on trails similar to the AT and test your gear. This will be an excellent indicator of what's working and what isn't in your training program.

* By now you should be comfortable for 1 1/2 to 2 hours on the treadmill at 15% once a week.

* Flexibility...nuff said

2 weeks out

* It's time to back off on the training, let your body recover and finish adapting to all your efforts.

* Keep stretching!

* Decrease your running distance to 2-3 miles a couple of times weekly.

* 30 minutes weekly on the treadmill is enough during this stretch.

* 1-2 walks weekly with the pack on for about 90 minutes, just so your muscles stay used to it.

The last 3-4 days before you start

* Take it easy and eat plenty, let your energy stores build back up. Maybe a 30 minute walk in the evening...

* Keep stretching (got the point yet?)

The first couple weeks of the hike

* Stretch daily, at least a little at lunch and in the evening. This should continue for the entire hike.

* GO EASY the first couple weeks, don't try to set any speed records.

* EAT, you have to refuel and you're burning massive amounts of energy.

* If you feel an injury is occuring or has occured, take a day or two off. Studies have proven that hikers who rest their injuries have less problems with them in the long term.


Actually, it's the only sound advice out there. I received this question over and over again and it's the only real answer that people agree on up and down the trail. To be honest I'm shocked you would even dispute this if you thru hiked.

Even after doing all the above stuff you mention as I did, it does very little to train you for an AT thru from a mental and physical standpoint.

Engine
01-20-2017, 14:58
Actually, it's the only sound advice out there. I received this question over and over again and it's the only real answer that people agree on up and down the trail. To be honest I'm shocked you would even dispute this if you thru hiked.

Even after doing all the above stuff you mention as I did, it does very little to train you for an AT thru from a mental and physical standpoint.
We were not discussing mental prep, only physical. And what I recommended was athletic training 101...Your argument is that no physical prep is superior to months of generalized fitness improvement. Seriously? That's bordering on negligence if you provide such nonsense to inexperienced hikers...

Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk

MuddyWaters
01-20-2017, 19:03
We were not discussing mental prep, only physical. And what I recommended was athletic training 101...Your argument is that no physical prep is superior to months of generalized fitness improvement. Seriously? That's bordering on negligence if you provide such nonsense to inexperienced hikers...

Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk

The OP did not specify physical
they asked what was being done to prepare

I agree, mental is actually more important.
go in with right expectations, youll be fine. This it real benefit to pre-hikes imo.

be shocked how hard it is, and you can be psyched out and having doubts from day 1. Most people that quit early...would have quit early regardless of their condition I think, barring injuries.

I met a 71 yr old woman a few months back that hiked 700 miles last year, at 5 mpd.

this hiking $hit...isnt as elitist as people try to make themselves think it is to pad their own egos. Anyone can do it, anyone can succeed, just keep the right attitude and dont get injured. You can start slow, many have an reached maine just fine...while carrying 50 pounds. While being overweight. While being blind. While being 5 yrs old. While carrying a tuba.

Good lord. To listen to people today you got to be under 30lb and fit as fiddle or you wont make it out of GA. Total hogwash. It greatly helps, but it aint no requirement. I used to take scouts hiking..they carried an average of about 45 lb, 13 yr old..They manage. Dont hike 20 mpd, usually less than 10, but they manage.

And if you dont make it all the way before season runs out.can always ..flipflop, or finish next yr.

ScareBear
01-20-2017, 19:14
It's all mental until your body breaks down...

Having the will to succeed is important to any endeavor, but it isn't enough to get the AT done. I do agree it is important and that in the end, people that are fit enough and uninjured often don't finish the AT because of mental. But, how do you prepare for mental? ? ?

MuddyWaters
01-20-2017, 19:20
It's all mental until your body breaks down...

Having the will to succeed is important to any endeavor, but it isn't enough to get the AT done. I do agree it is important and that in the end, people that are fit enough and uninjured often don't finish the AT because of mental. But, how do you prepare for mental? ? ?

There are people that hated every step and forced themselves to finish

but basically, I think you need to think that hardship and hard work is fun, and derive some self satisfaction from it.

Engine
01-20-2017, 19:22
There are people that hated every step and forced themselves to finish

but basically, I think you need to think that hardship and hard work is fun, and derive some self satisfaction from it.
/\ This!

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Praha4
01-20-2017, 19:38
I live in NW Florida, where hills are scarce. My training consists of:

a. Elliptical machine at gym
b. Stairmaster machine at gym
c. Frequent day-hikes over flat to 'hilly' terrain (10-15 miles)
d. Repeat 23-floor enclosed fire escape staircases at nearby beach condo, with a 25-lb backpack; starting with 2 up-downs and building up to 6 to 8 up-downs. Takes me about 10-12 minutes per up-down cycle. (this is probably the best workout for legs, low back and aerobic breathing.
e. Walking/hiking on the sandy beach... 5-10 miles. (AWOL did this to prepare for his 2003 AT thru hike over on the east coast of FL, along with inclined treadmill workouts
f. Frequent stretching & Yoga
g. Lose weight if you are overweight. I got my weight down from 180 to 145 since I started AT section hikes in late 2009. Keeping my weight down to 145 really has made a huge difference in blood pressure, energy levels, orthopedic issues, and overall ease of hiking long distance. Spending a fortune on Ultralight gear is kind of silly if one does not commit to losing body weight too and getting down to the best BMI for your height and age.

and what I do NOT do:
a. Running ... my running days are over, now hiking only
b. Inclined treadmills: have resulted in low back injuries in the past from leaning forward on the treadmill at a fast speed on the treadmill
c. Worrying too much about starting the next hike at 20 miles per day. Start out slow and build up is BEST advice to me.

good luck! happy trails!

lwhikerchris
01-20-2017, 20:53
We were not discussing mental prep, only physical. And what I recommended was athletic training 101...Your argument is that no physical prep is superior to months of generalized fitness improvement. Seriously? That's bordering on negligence if you provide such nonsense to inexperienced hikers...

Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk

My point is this. It takes 2 months or half the trail to condition you physically on this trail, to be able to walk every day without pain and enjoy the walking (at least for me). 2 months of real, day in and day out living, breathing, and walking the trail in the real conditions and real terrain. There is no physical prep for that other than to do it. The 2 weeks on the trail I mentioned before is a milestone. It's when you mentally transition into trail life.


2 months is the physical conditioning and where the mental and physical come together. The last half and/or beyond 2 months is the spiritual awareness, healing, and life changes most thru hikers are looking for. You begin to look at life differently after that.


And yes, as MuddyWaters said, ANYONE can thru hike the AT, fit or not. I met 17 year olds right out of high school, folks in their late seventies, and everyone in between who finished or will have finished their thru hike.

It's far more about mental attitude than physical fitness.

Engine
01-21-2017, 05:35
My point is this. It takes 2 months or half the trail to condition you physically on this trail, to be able to walk every day without pain and enjoy the walking (at least for me). 2 months of real, day in and day out living, breathing, and walking the trail in the real conditions and real terrain. There is no physical prep for that other than to do it. The 2 weeks on the trail I mentioned before is a milestone. It's when you mentally transition into trail life.


2 months is the physical conditioning and where the mental and physical come together. The last half and/or beyond 2 months is the spiritual awareness, healing, and life changes most thru hikers are looking for. You begin to look at life differently after that.


And yes, as MuddyWaters said, ANYONE can thru hike the AT, fit or not. I met 17 year olds right out of high school, folks in their late seventies, and everyone in between who finished or will have finished their thru hike.

It's far more about mental attitude than physical fitness.

I understand your point, I just don't fully agree with it. By adequately building a base of fitness and flexibility you lessen the chance of injury. I've stated many times in this thread that by working out ahead of time, you are preparing your body for the more specific training stimulus it'll receive on the hike itself. You are improving the odds of not experiencing an injury or quiting due to severe pains.

I've hit the trail on long section hikes when I was running 60+ miles a week and from day 1 I was able to put in 15-17 mile days on very rugged stretches of trail. I've also showed up completely detrained and really regretted it since I felt like I'd been run over by a lawn mower for the first 10 days. I'll take the first option every time.

As for the amazing transformative experience you're talking about, you have to still be on the trail long enough to experience it. So why would telling people to prepare their muscles, joints, and connective tissue for the rigors of those first few weeks be somehow problematic? Can you train those tissues for the trail by doing other things? Of course you can, maybe not with 100% specificity, but you can get close.

Earlier you mentioned that the general consensus on the trail was that just showing up was the way to go. How many of the people who quit in the first couple weeks would agree with that statement?

All I'm saying is this, a LDH is an athletic event and should be prepared for as such. If you make a concious decision to start with very low mileage days, and train for the trail on the trail, then you might be fine. But not everyone understands that aspect, or wants to start out with 8 mile days...

SawnieRobertson
01-22-2017, 01:12
I live in NW Florida, where hills are scarce. My training consists of:

a. Elliptical machine at gym
b. Stairmaster machine at gym
c. Frequent day-hikes over flat to 'hilly' terrain (10-15 miles)
d. Repeat 23-floor enclosed fire escape staircases at nearby beach condo, with a 25-lb backpack; starting with 2 up-downs and building up to 6 to 8 up-downs. Takes me about 10-12 minutes per up-down cycle. (this is probably the best workout for legs, low back and aerobic breathing.
e. Walking/hiking on the sandy beach... 5-10 miles. (AWOL did this to prepare for his 2003 AT thru hike over on the east coast of FL, along with inclined treadmill workouts
f. Frequent stretching & Yoga
g. Lose weight if you are overweight. I got my weight down from 180 to 145 since I started AT section hikes in late 2009. Keeping my weight down to 145 really has made a huge difference in blood pressure, energy levels, orthopedic issues, and overall ease of hiking long distance. Spending a fortune on Ultralight gear is kind of silly if one does not commit to losing body weight too and getting down to the best BMI for your height and age.

and what I do NOT do:
a. Running ... my running days are over, now hiking only
b. Inclined treadmills: have resulted in low back injuries in the past from leaning forward on the treadmill at a fast speed on the treadmill
c. Worrying too much about starting the next hike at 20 miles per day. Start out slow and build up is BEST advice to me.

good luck! happy trails!

This is an excellent synopsis of what one can do to have a terrific thru hike.

twistwrist
01-29-2017, 10:10
Just wondering what people are doing to prepare themselves for this upcoming adventure.

Hey FiftyNine. My pre-planning included physical and mental prep, BOTH of which contributed greatly to reaching my goal of completing a thru-hike. My strategy is detailed in this article. Cheers!

https://appalachiantrailclarity.com/2016/03/12/start-your-thru-hike-out-right-with-pre-hike-training/ (https://appalachiantrailclarity.com/2016/03/12/start-your-thru-hike-out-right-with-pre-hike-training/)

FiftyNine
01-29-2017, 12:17
I read this article before and it is excellent. As for me here are the things I have done and doing presently to get ready. First of all let me tell you about me and my goals. I just turned 59. I picked that as my trail name because this is the age I want to transform myself. I am overweight and trying to shed pounds but not stressing about it. (it will come off)

- I am currently doing 3 to 4, five to six mile hikes each week. (now with a pack) - I joined a local hiking club this past year and they have at least 10 local hikes a day anywhere from 3 to 10 miles. I just earned my 500 mile patch for 2016. between the club and my own hikes I did about 700 miles in 2016. my foot was injured for 3 months and did not hike, so I'm pretty pleased with that. (foot is now back to normal)

- I did 4 backpacking trips to test out gear and myself, I learned the most from these.
some major changes: went from a tent to a hammock.. Love the hammock! Major thing learned.. Need to LIGHTEN my load --

On my first trips I was carrying around 33-35 pounds. - I did ok with that

On my last trip (right after coming off the foot injury) I was carrying almost 40 pounds. - Between the weight of my pack, the weight of my body, and not being in hiking shape, I had a hard time. needless to say I learned the most on this hike. - also not being prepared for below 20 degree weather at night in a hammock :)

As of Today, my total pack weight with food and water will be right around 29-30 pounds - even though I'm still on the heavy side (still need to lose more weight) my plan is to take it slow and steady and listen to my body. It may take me a little longer to get up those mountains at first, but i will get there.

I am doing a flip flop and have no time limits. I am also doing a flip flop because I believe it will give me the best path to success. I also realize that hiking the AT is about 30% Physical and 70% Mental -(here comes the big debate :) lets not, for some it may be more physical and for some more mental )

twistwrist
01-29-2017, 13:02
I read this article before and it is excellent. As for me here are the things I have done and doing presently to get ready. First of all let me tell you about me and my goals. I just turned 59. I picked that as my trail name because this is the age I want to transform myself. I am overweight and trying to shed pounds but not stressing about it. (it will come off)

- I am currently doing 3 to 4, five to six mile hikes each week. (now with a pack) - I joined a local hiking club this past year and they have at least 10 local hikes a day anywhere from 3 to 10 miles. I just earned my 500 mile patch for 2016. between the club and my own hikes I did about 700 miles in 2016. my foot was injured for 3 months and did not hike, so I'm pretty pleased with that. (foot is now back to normal)

- I did 4 backpacking trips to test out gear and myself, I learned the most from these.
some major changes: went from a tent to a hammock.. Love the hammock! Major thing learned.. Need to LIGHTEN my load --

On my first trips I was carrying around 33-35 pounds. - I did ok with that

On my last trip (right after coming off the foot injury) I was carrying almost 40 pounds. - Between the weight of my pack, the weight of my body, and not being in hiking shape, I had a hard time. needless to say I learned the most on this hike. - also not being prepared for below 20 degree weather at night in a hammock :)

As of Today, my total pack weight with food and water will be right around 29-30 pounds - even though I'm still on the heavy side (still need to lose more weight) my plan is to take it slow and steady and listen to my body. It may take me a little longer to get up those mountains at first, but i will get there.

I am doing a flip flop and have no time limits. I am also doing a flip flop because I believe it will give me the best path to success. I also realize that hiking the AT is about 30% Physical and 70% Mental -(here comes the big debate :) lets not, for some it may be more physical and for some more mental )


You are 100% right. I've got an article on my blogsite entitled "Why Flip Flops Are More Comfortable". If you haven't read it, definitely do so. You've got the right mindset already, 59. Best of luck and safe and happy trails to you. Cheers!

George
01-29-2017, 13:26
first 2 weeks on the trail is training to me, after that any additional level of fitness/ ability is minimal

FiftyNine
01-29-2017, 14:34
By my calculations I'll finish training after about 6 months. [emoji3]


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FiftyNine
01-29-2017, 14:36
You are 100% right. I've got an article on my blogsite entitled "Why Flip Flops Are More Comfortable". If you haven't read it, definitely do so. You've got the right mindset already, 59. Best of luck and safe and happy trails to you. Cheers!




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Dogwood
01-29-2017, 16:55
I honestly dont think physical training is that important for AT hike
You have time to get in shape, if you are in avg shape or so to start....


As someone who dropped out this year I hate hearing "Its just walking". Sorry but the trail is a lot more than just a walk in the woods. Sure if you are already in shape it will not be to bad for you. For me GA chewed me up and spit me out in NC. A big reason I felt I did not make it was that I went in with the idea that I could get into shape on the trail. Please do not make my mistake. Get in shape now. I saw people out there in great shape having a hard time at the start and people like me dropping like fly's before even Neel Gap. I am spending a lot of time hiking on hills, losing weight, doing a lot of cardio, and eating right to get ready for 2018. I would say cardio is a big one. Hope this helps someone not make the same mistake I did. It takes a lot of work just to get on the trail. Saving, getting gear, and planing don't forget to put some of that work on the most important part of a thru-hike, you.

100 % agree with your earned wisdom Sethern. Waiting to hike oneself into hiking shape both physically and mentally once on a thru-hike as a new LD thru hiker sidelines most of those 8 out of 10 that fail at their goal on the AT BEFORE they gain the mental and physical strength! Although Shane's "Jester's" approach CAN definitely work for NEWBS if serious about achieving goals and having safe enjoyable trail experiences is the aim putting oneself in the best possible place one knows pre thru-hike to experience these things it is highly reasonable, AND LIKELY A MUCH BETTER APPROACH FOR NEW THRU-HIKERS, to prepare to some extent both mentally AND PHYSICALLY pre thru-hike.

100% agree backpacking, and especially thru-hiking, is also NOT just walking! Saying LD backpacking is just walking is defining thru-hiking in the most extreme simplistic unrealistic overly romantic of terms. This FALSE BELIEF causes untold AT thru-hiking wannabe failures related to not experiencing a safe joyful mentally overcoming AT thru-hike attempt!

Tipi Walter started this thread out in the right direction. Look at his first post. There's a lot of earned trail savvy advice in it.

ScareBear
01-29-2017, 17:05
I am actually giving Dogwood a +1 on the above! It is true that the false belief that the AT is just a long walk with weather-related hardships and that you can hike yourself into shape(mentally and physically) is what dooms too many newbs attempting a thru OR a section hike. The first 200 miles is physical, the last 2000 is all mental. At least that's how this bear sees it...if you show up ready to rock the first 200 miles physically, then you DO have a chance to get your head sorted out and make it to HF, and once you make it to HF, its all up to your heart...do you love this enough to finish this? Because, if you are so Type A(like that poor poster who is still HATING his thru hike 5 months later) that you would consider finishing after HF even though you were hating it or not digging it, do yourself a big life favor...save yourself the following 2 months of unhappiness...unless that trophy photo and patch for the brag flag mean so dang much......YMMV...

Dogwood
01-29-2017, 17:18
Must be my B day. Scare bear is giving me a +1 with an exclamation pt with no lecture. :D

Dogwood
01-29-2017, 17:29
Have to agree with Engine. It's not just agreeing though. Pre hike prep that includes mental AND physical training pays dividends once on trail. Everyone doesn't have to get overly fancy in their prep either. Look at Clarity's site. She's training pre hike both mentally and physically simultaneously by wearing her fully loaded pack/kit to the gym...with a GREAT attitude! Look at that smile. That says a lot about her inner dialogue/thought life. That's backpacking training...even in her flattish localized living area! You don't have to wait to entirely work yourself into hiking shape and then thru-hiking shape until on trail. Waiting to do that until only on trail for AT thru-hikers, who are largely NEWBS, results in many dropping out.

https://appalachiantrailclarity.com/2016/03/12/start-your-thru-hike-out-right-with-pre-hike-training/

Engine
01-29-2017, 18:02
Have to agree with Engine. It's not just agreeing though. Pre hike prep that includes mental AND physical training...

Thanks Dogwood, and just to be clear, I absolutely believe in mental prep for any LDH. When I stated earlier in the thread that we hadn't been discussing that aspect, it wasn't because I don't think it's important...I just didn't think it was what the OP was searching for. I believe strongly in the mental prep expounded on by Zach Davis in Appalachian Trials and here's a blog entry I posted back in November which better expresses my feelings on the subject.

https://thetrek.co/appalachian-trail/thanksgiving-lessons/

glassman
03-18-2017, 01:02
Got a total hip replacement

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