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SkeeterPee
08-20-2019, 15:10
I'm curious, how people are preparing for next year? Have you started? What are you doing?

I plan on a two-week hike this fall. In the meantime I'm walking as much as I can and am trying to lose 30 lbs before next spring.

bbikebbs
08-20-2019, 23:29
Just found this from REI today:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLgbHiDntH0&list=PLYftYAr1P51g0Fkx7WP3YofyYsLBfjTiH&index=19&t=0s (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLgbHiDntH0&list=PLYftYAr1P51g0Fkx7WP3YofyYsLBfjTiH&index=19&t=0s)

Anyone have any thoughts/comments?

Scott

soumodeler
08-21-2019, 06:51
Nothing beats training for backpacking than actually backpacking, preferably with the same gear you will use on your thru. I would put a high priority on losing that weight, while still maintaining a workout routine with weightlifting to avoid muscle mass loss.

RockDoc
08-21-2019, 10:21
I've found that doing some trail running events really helps my backpacking. Things that improve include foot placement skill, ankle strength, leg strength, and lung capacity. However, it doesn't work the other way, my running sucks after a long backpacking trip.

RangerZ
08-21-2019, 13:25
Stopped at Dunkin after walking to the library today.


But now I’m only a LASHER.

RangerZ
08-25-2019, 21:29
Stopped at Dunkin after walking to the library today.

But now I’m only a LASHER.


Did seven miles today with a day pack. Day pack because I finally got around to cleaning my backpack and it’s drying.

I did support the local little league by buying a soda from the ballfield concession stand.

Went to REI for some supplies.

KnightErrant
08-26-2019, 09:22
That REI video looks super helpful, thanks for posting!

I hope to tackle the PCT in 2021, and maybe a shorter thru-hike (Tahoe Rim? Wonderland? etc.) in 2020. My main "training" for these far-off goals involves just trying to keep my knees pain-free and trying to maintain my post AT-thru-hike body weight. I've taken up trail running and I've done 2 5ks, with my first 5 mile trail run coming up next month. I live in the Whites now, so I've been hiking a lot too. Contrary to the popular wisdom that the only training you need for backpacking is backpacking, I've found that as soon as I neglect regular PT exercises and regular yoga/stretching in favor of only hiking, my knee pain returns. If I learned anything from the AT about my conditioning, it's that I need to set aside the time for those things, even as a super fit thru-hiker, because otherwise my knees slowly fall apart.

steady123
08-26-2019, 17:04
Training regimen:
1. Start walking with 20 lbs on a cross country course (ups and downs). When you can do 3 miles or so and no longer notice the weight, go to step 2.
2. Increase weight to 45 lbs.on a cross country course (ups and downs). When you can do 5 miles or so and no longer notice the weight you are fit enough to hike 8-10 miles. Make SURE your back weight is less than 35 -32 lbs. 32 lbs is BETTER.

If you manage water ( 3 liters max) you can manage weight. I cary 1.5 L in a camelback. I carry 1 L in a light filter/bag arrangement. I resupply often from the 1 liter bag arrangement. When that runs out, I am sucking off the 1.5 L camelback (total 3L capacity). I then start looking for a water resupply. Water is heavy. Manage it and you will save weight.

Following my instructions, hiking should be easypeasy 8-15 miles..

BTW Get a cardio workout in there. I swim. You will be huffing and puffing and cardio training will help.

codespace
10-04-2019, 23:20
I own a sheep farm, so for training, I wear my pack with all my gear plus some water bottles to bring it up to ~40lbs and I go take care of morning and evening feeding chores. Plus, every day after my day job, I spend a few hours walking the perimeter of my pasture in full gear to get used to poles, uneven terrain, etc.

Between farm work and the day job though, it's pretty challenging to find time to do any other training.

Five Tango
10-05-2019, 06:31
I'm not ever going to thru hike,just the occasional 2 or 3 night pleasure trips with friends.I purchased and use a vertical climber to try and keep my fitness level on par with my much younger hiking partners who also carry much lighter loads.

It surprised me how much the climber,which is such a low impact exercise,has improved my overall fitness and it exercises muscle groups that I don't think I could target without it.

ldsailor
10-05-2019, 12:39
A lot of walking - at least three miles per day. A couple of days a week, I go to the VA and use their "Wellness Clinic," which has many exercise machines. That's when I do one hour at a 10 degree incline on a treadmill and some other strength building machines. By next spring, I'll be at or close to a 15 degree incline on the treadmill. It's hard (actually impossible) in Florida to train for mountain hiking the AT has, but I try. I also focus on strengthening my knees and ankles and do a lot of stretching - especially the calves and hamstrings. I strained a hamstring this year in Maine and had to leave the trail, so I don't want that happening again.

Wasatch
10-10-2019, 12:22
I'm currently overweight, so I'm doing keto, and working out 2 times per day. I should hit my target weight by December I'll quit my job at the end of the year and start doing some multi-week long hikes in AZ for training and shakedown purposes.

FlyPaper
10-10-2019, 16:15
Just found this from REI today:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLgbHiDntH0&list=PLYftYAr1P51g0Fkx7WP3YofyYsLBfjTiH&index=19&t=0s (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLgbHiDntH0&list=PLYftYAr1P51g0Fkx7WP3YofyYsLBfjTiH&index=19&t=0s)

Anyone have any thoughts/comments?

Scott

This video helped me a lot. I've always had bad knees, but this video helped me begin to understand that my hips were a big part of the challenge of hiking. My daily life involves mostly sitting and walking around on level ground. There are some big gains to be made with hip exercises.

Wyoming
10-11-2019, 18:05
I'm curious, how people are preparing for next year? Have you started? What are you doing?

I plan on a two-week hike this fall. In the meantime I'm walking as much as I can and am trying to lose 30 lbs before next spring.



Skeeter

I see you are almost an old guy like me. Given that our bodies do not react to stress like they did 40+ years ago I have some suggestions. I have some experience as an older hiker with about 30,000 miles in now and a good 12,000 since I was your age.

Do not try and get in shape the way you did even when you were 40, let alone 20. It is an excellent way to get injured. Getting started now is an excellent idea.

Someone mentioned getting your gear sorted as soon as possible. This is good advise. Shoes are VERY important and don't necessarily get wrapped around the axle on what the current fad is. You need to find out what works best for you. Same with socks. And packs. Etc. Though being as light as reasonable is best for comfort and preventing injury.

In light of the last statement you need to get walking. Pick a candidate shoe for your hike and start slowly breaking yourself into the shoe. If you already hike 5 miles a day then on the first day hike half in the new shoe and switch back to your old ones. Work your way up to a full hike in the new shoes. This prevents injury and allows you to learn about your body and if the shoe is suitable for you. There is no perfect shoe.

Hike/walk every day. But don't over do the mileage. But do let it build over time. Eventually start carrying your pack lightly loaded and work your way up to a full pack. Are your shoes still working right for you?? If not then you need to try another shoe. By starting this now you have time to work through a couple of pairs of shoes to get it right. And it also builds that base you need to prevent injury out on the Trail. Your ligaments and tendons adapt over time - especially if you are older. Your bone density changes as well. Give all this time to happen. Stretching should not be considered optional. It really helps you.

Start working on what you like to eat while hiking and experiment with that, and cooking or not cooking as you may choose (I don't carry a stove myself). Have that mostly worked out before you start as well. How you eat at home will not work properly for daily hiking's as your body's needs are different. How many miles per day you do on your hike changes how and what you want to eat and the more you work to figure that out beforehand the better - but you can also wing it if that is your preference.

Remember that the more you have hiked before you start a thru the more likely it will be enjoyable, injury free and successful.

Be adaptable and listen to your own body more than other's advise.

To give you an example this is what I do in general. It is only an example.
As I train up for a long hike I build my daily mileage up to close to what I expect to do on the specific trail. Not everyone does this as many do not have time or inclination. But think about what I said above. I build slowly from my non-training base (which is about 30-35 miles per week) which is my normal all year around. Say I was going to start the PCT in early May. Several months before that I would start a build up to about 100 miles a week with a full pack. I would start by increasing my non-pack hiking to about 50 per week while doing 2-3000 ft of climbing a day (I live in the mountains so this is easy for me- ymmv). Then I add in the pack for segments of the week at a light weight. Then heavier on the pack and more miles with the pack. In 3 months with this progression I go from the base of 35 with no pack to the 100 with a full pack. This is definitely an anal approach but it works. Note that my weekly mileage is on the order of 140 miles at the start of a hike so the numbers you see above are for that. If you plan on doing say 70 then your training needs would be based upon what you are planning on doing. On trail doing a thru I have never had blisters or a stress injury like shin splints, plantar fasciitis, or stress fractures which are very common if one is not really trained and in shape. Just an example and take it for what it might be worth to you.

As to losing weight I would not focus on that too much. If you train up so you are ready to hike and then just take off on your thru the weight thing tends to take care of itself. Many of the most accomplished thru hikers carry a bit of softness around the middle when they get started and just burn it off over the miles. If you can comfortably do your initial daily goal of miles then do not worry about your weight.

On your two week hike be careful not to try and do too much mileage as you could either hurt yourself or if you make that hike unpleasant by overdoing it you might get sour on the whole idea. Ease into the whole thing. Best of luck.

Hoofit
10-12-2019, 09:03
Excellent advice about the importance of the right shoes , particularly for us older folks.
I returned to the trail last September, perfect time to finish up as I had hiked as far as Gorham,NH.
My HUGE mistake was changing to 'Lone Peak ' shoes from my regular Keen Targhee . I picked them due mainly to the fact that they have breather holes to let water out ( A virtue I figured through the 100 mile wilderness).
The only testing I had done was flat land in Florida with thirty pound pack, right from Day One, just a few weeks before in August.
Well they have'zero drop', totally different to the Keens with more arch support.
To cut a long story short, I tore up some tendons so badly that I had to come off the trail two days later, near the Carter Notch Hut.
I am still in recovery mode , out about a thousand dollars and unable to return this year.
Huge letdown!
My fault, should have been much more careful about switching to a totally different style of shoe.
When I return, It's back to the slightly heavier, more supportive Keene for me.
As I am in my mid sixties, I will now make more gradual changes and hopefully do better next time., especially with a return to the Wildcats first on the list after Florida flat land preparations.

Spotter
10-24-2019, 11:55
I have done over 300 miles on the AT this year. Had to have knee surgery so now I'm recovering from that, but finally was allowed to get out last weekend to hike again so I did a 10 mile backpacking trip to ease back into it. I plan to get in the gym soon and strengthen my muscles that support the knee and do a lot of stair climbers.
Next year I have a section planned on the AT again to get me back into the swing of it before I begin my SOBO.

GlitterHiker
10-27-2019, 10:32
Excellent advice about the importance of the right shoes , particularly for us older folks.
I returned to the trail last September, perfect time to finish up as I had hiked as far as Gorham,NH.
My HUGE mistake was changing to 'Lone Peak ' shoes from my regular Keen Targhee . I picked them due mainly to the fact that they have breather holes to let water out ( A virtue I figured through the 100 mile wilderness).
The only testing I had done was flat land in Florida with thirty pound pack, right from Day One, just a few weeks before in August.
Well they have'zero drop', totally different to the Keens with more arch support.
To cut a long story short, I tore up some tendons so badly that I had to come off the trail two days later, near the Carter Notch Hut.
I am still in recovery mode , out about a thousand dollars and unable to return this year.
Huge letdown!
My fault, should have been much more careful about switching to a totally different style of shoe.
When I return, It's back to the slightly heavier, more supportive Keene for me.
As I am in my mid sixties, I will now make more gradual changes and hopefully do better next time., especially with a return to the Wildcats first on the list after Florida flat land preparations.

Wow - I can't imagine how disappointing that was. But thank you for sharing as it is a great example for us.

WesleyCBruce
10-31-2019, 13:42
My preparating is training for the ironman that happens a week before my AT start date, mixing in some stair master while wearing my pack.

Storyguy
10-31-2019, 14:06
Great advice. Thank you for sharing.

Kittyslayer
10-31-2019, 14:32
Dial in your gear by camping in your back yard once a week. Say every Thursday night no matter what the weather.

Walk out the back door with your full pack. Unload and set up camp, cook dinner, sleep. Wake up, eat breakfast, load up all your gear, walk back inside.

You might choose to skip digging catholes all over your back yard, particularly if the neighbors can see.

Deadeye
10-31-2019, 15:47
There's been a lot of good advice here, including that about training slowly over the longer term for us older hikers. Practicing pitching your tent/hammock and practicing sleeping are also worthwhile. And while it's not really physical training, dialing in your rain gear is important, too. Once you learn to comfortably handle rain, it makes dealing with crappy weather a lot easier. Nobody ever complained about having a dry sleeping bag at the end of the day.

QiWiz
10-31-2019, 16:16
I found it helpful to spend some time using a stair-stepper machine in the weeks before getting on trail for a long section hike (Springer to Hot Springs). Allowed me to average 13-14 miles a day in the first weeks.

RangerZ
11-11-2019, 20:44
Did seven miles today with a day pack. Day pack because I finally got around to cleaning my backpack and it’s drying.

I did support the local little league by buying a soda from the ballfield concession stand.

Went to REI for some supplies.


Visited some national parks.

Thursday and today ( at least I didn’t have to walk 200 miles to get there today )

4583545836

Wyoming
11-13-2019, 15:05
There's been a lot of good advice here, including that about training slowly over the longer term for us older hikers. Practicing pitching your tent/hammock and practicing sleeping are also worthwhile. And while it's not really physical training, dialing in your rain gear is important, too. Once you learn to comfortably handle rain, it makes dealing with crappy weather a lot easier. Nobody ever complained about having a dry sleeping bag at the end of the day.

Sort of off topic, but since you bring it up. Assuming you can do this at home - wait for a rain storm and then go outside and figure out how to set up your tent without getting everything wet in the process. I learned how to do this by failing out on the trail the first couple of times and being very annoyed. Also pack up your pack like you are ready to hit the trail. Get out the garden hose and water your pack for about 20 mins. Then open it up and find out if anything you want dry is wet. Then adjust your waterproofing methods till they work right. I am so anal about keeping stuff dry it is a bit hilarious.

Dogwood
11-13-2019, 19:57
Sort of off topic, but since you bring it up. Assuming you can do this at home - wait for a rain storm and then go outside and figure out how to set up your tent without getting everything wet in the process. I learned how to do this by failing out on the trail the first couple of times and being very annoyed. Also pack up your pack like you are ready to hit the trail. Get out the garden hose and water your pack for about 20 mins. Then open it up and find out if anything you want dry is wet. Then adjust your waterproofing methods till they work right. I am so anal about keeping stuff dry it is a bit hilarious.


Real trail life advise.

Walk uphill 2-3 miles to the grocery store in the cold rain wearing your anticipated backpacking gear and apparel. Buy groceries. Load your pack. Walk home. eat the food you anticipate eating on the hike. Cant do it don't attempt an AT thru hike.

Walk 2-3 miles " " " in 95* temps with no shade. Buy ". Load ". Walk home. Cant do it head to the beach not the AT PCT or CDT.

With the shweet warm house with loaded fridge and sickening sweet drinks and comfy bed and blankets just a few hundred ft away with everyone watching that NFL or NBA game noshing hot pepperoni pizza and slugging frosty cold ones while snuggled into their comfy recliners in front of LCD big screen go outside in the cold and rain and snow and set up your tent and sleep in your bag joyfully. Make sure to say goodbye to all, what you're doing, -hiking training- and instructions not to baby you. Cant do it....

Walk 3 miles to a laundromat. Wash. Dry. Leave. Walk into the woods and sleep. Cant do it....
Sleep on the floor at home with all teh windows open and thermostat off with your relatives dirty wet socks to the left of your face and a dead cockroach to the right of your face.

FreeGoldRush
11-14-2019, 09:31
Dogwood is exactly correct. Training time is about spending that time just as you would on the trail. Don’t cut corners and assume something will work out. Eat, sleep and hike as you will on your thru. Food gave me the hardest time on my thru. At home we eat pretty good. On the trail you must eat what you carry and it takes a lot of trial and error to get that right.

Plan on early mornings on your thru? Then train with early morning climbs. Don’t get your pack ready the night before. Spread everything out and pack it in the morning.

Look at the weather to decide what to wear, not to decide when to train.

The more prepared you are the more fun you will have.

Elaikases
11-14-2019, 20:07
I'm curious, how people are preparing for next year? Have you started? What are you doing?

I plan on a two-week hike this fall. In the meantime I'm walking as much as I can and am trying to lose 30 lbs before next spring.


One thing that really helped me, though we ended up 756 miles short of finishing due to some family matters that took us off the trail long enough that the weather caught up with us after we flipped, was eating 750-850 calories for breakfast every day. Eating 5-6 thousand calories a day is hard and it is much too easy to find yourself like one of those guys who plans on 360 calories for breakfast and thinks that is a lot of food.

SkeeterPee
11-15-2019, 12:52
Just got back from a 2-week trip. Hiked from West Virginia line to milepost 65 of Shenandoah National Park. It was a very good trip and I gave me some confidence that I'll be able to keep doing it For a long period. I plan a couple more shorter trips in November and December which should help prepare me for cooler Temps.

coyote9
11-28-2019, 12:16
How are we training? The approach trail. That counts right?

Wyoming
11-28-2019, 12:46
How are we training? The approach trail. That counts right?

The last time I went up the approach trail I bumped into a guy about 2 miles from the top coming out of the trees. I figured he was returning from a poop mission but, no, he looked at me and said something like "I can't believe how hard this is. I had to go bury a bunch of my gear so I could make it to the start of the trail."

Unusually for me, I was speechless. Maybe a little training is in order.

Of course, not long after that I bumped into a guy carrying an ice axe (it was mid-May by then). I did inform him he was not going to need an ice axe. But, as usual, I had completely misunderstood the situation as he informed me it was not for ice climbing but for personal protection.

RockDoc
11-30-2019, 21:31
If your training is walking I might recommend a weighted vest or backpack. Otherwise walking doesn't have much training effect--just too easy.

SkeeterPee
11-30-2019, 21:48
If your training is walking I might recommend a weighted vest or backpack. Otherwise walking doesn't have much training effect--just too easy.

If this was for me the OP, yes, my walks and hikes are all with my bag. I was doing 32lbs in the bag, now I am doing 38 just to get a bit more workout on our nearly flat terrain.

johnnybgood
12-02-2019, 19:07
The often overlooked mental fitness aspect is worth a mention when training for a long distance hike. The human psyche is a fickle thing—it feeds off of emotions. Try keeping a daily journal on your progress, with positive self feedback every day. This is a good way to stay focused, even when things aren’t going so swell.
Understanding how even the most physically fit person can simply quit a thru attempt due to what I call “trail fatigue” is worth noting—and acknowledging.
So look at the best case scenario every day, set realistic goals daily that are attainable. Try not focusing on the next day or the next week but the day right in front of you.
Oh yeah— take pictures, make memories —have fun.

RangerZ
12-02-2019, 20:21
The often overlooked mental fitness aspect is worth a mention when training for a long distance hike. The human psyche is a fickle thing—it feeds off of emotions. Try keeping a daily journal on your progress, with positive self feedback every day. This is a good way to stay focused, even when things aren’t going so swell.
Understanding how even the most physically fit person can simply quit a thru attempt due to what I call “trail fatigue” is worth noting—and acknowledging.
So look at the best case scenario every day, set realistic goals daily that are attainable. Try not focusing on the next day or the next week but the day right in front of you.
Oh yeah— take pictures, make memories —have fun.


I totally agree.

The AT is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical. (Apologies to Yogi Berra).

:banana

blackmagic
12-06-2019, 17:12
Walking home from work (6mi) four of five days (in NYC, so I have public transportation), and increasingly difficult day hikes on the weekends. I'll start carrying my full pack soon. I'm also going to PT twice a week until the new year (my deductible reset) for massage and to strengthen my knees and feet. Daily stretching my calves and hamstrings and rolling out my plantar fascia.

I also changed my diet to 80% vegetarian + dairy + eggs, and I feel f*ing great, so that change might be permanent.

Carbo
12-07-2019, 09:42
1. Losing weight to maintain an ideal BMI.
2. Strength training such as Leg Press, Calf Raise and Leg Extensions.
3. Hiking the hills with a pack.
4. Carefully plan and test your "Dry Camp Clothes" and "Rain Gear".
5. Imagine yourself living outside for at least 6 days, food/water? sanitation? shelter?

Mr. Dio
01-04-2020, 18:38
Gym 2-3 times a week
Yoga on Saturday to help flexibility
Walk everywhere with my pack. (lots of funny looks from people)
shakedown hike in a couple weeks

Slo-go'en
01-04-2020, 19:44
If nothing else, just going out for a walk everyday regarldless of length is better then nothing. Ramp up the mileage as the start date approaches.

If your new to all this, taking your gear out for a test drive before your fully commited is a very good idea.

bjd002
01-14-2020, 19:08
I trail run and do orangetheory.

wornoutboots
01-21-2020, 09:37
After hiking the PCT, I think I’ll train the same way, walk to restaurants/bars, within 5 miles, over stuff myself with food & drink & then cowboy camp on my patio.... repeat

Dogwood
01-22-2020, 01:03
After hiking the PCT, I think I’ll train the same way, walk to restaurants/bars, within 5 miles, over stuff myself with food & drink & then cowboy camp on my patio.... repeat

LOl Were you on the 7 month PCT plan he he he. I was on the 7 yr one BS degree plan doing sems as PT and FT, taking a sem off here and there to work 60 hrs /wk to pay for college.