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  1. #21

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    I got a used stair stepper on Craig's List a couple months ahead of time and felt that helped me do better as I started hiking in GA. This type of leg strength training is more useful than running IMO.
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  2. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Izzy.Karnis View Post
    I am planning of thru hiking the trail 2021, but am wondering what types of training should I do. I obviously know to do lots of hiking and backpacking, but what exercises would be helpful as well? I try to go running as much as possible, which I know will help me too.
    Physically, the highest risk of injury for backpackers overall are slips, trips, and falls. As Mr Myagi said, "go learn balance." Do this by walking on sandy beaches, beach dunes, hiking in waist deep light surf wearing a weighted old pack, using balance boars, Bosu Balance bubbles, standing on one leg, jumping on a trampoline, practicing sliding like tennis players do on clay, etc. To that training I add walking and doing standing toe raises on curbs and parking lot lines(when the lot is closed). At the same time these are less high impact techniques as well as developing cardio and muscle. TIP: as you progress don't just do this in fair weather This takes into consideration posted age and the question asked was, "How TO START training for thru hike?"Riding a stationary bike that's under water is also a lower impact to joints workout that many ignore in offering hiking training advice. I also like using an elliptical changing direction, foot placements, etc.


    LD hiking is also about expanding mental and physical comfort zones. So, instead of sleeping inside sleep outside, turn off the AC/Heat, instead of driving those 3 miles to the grocery store walk and carry home groceries in your pack, and for U.S. citizens especially, get yourself out of the comfort zone of convenient rampant consumption(food is a big one). Many struggle with food on hikes never having gained control over it.

    Lastly understand thru hiking is more of a physical endurance and mental event not a body building or weight lifting activity/sport.
    Last edited by Dogwood; 01-09-2020 at 02:44.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    ...Lastly understand thru hiking is more of a physical endurance and mental event not a body building or weight lifting activity/sport.
    Or perhaps more a mental endurance with an added physical event? I think more hikers leave their thru-hikes due to mental fatigue (trail fatigue?) than any other single cause. Yes, some physical issues do arise with almost everyone, but they usually aren't "hike over" maladies. It's all the other issues - nagging minor injuries, joint pain, hiker food, cold/hot, wet/dry, bugs, green tunnel, missing friends/family, etc., that wear you down if you can't deal with them mentally. Hiking for months on end in the woods just isn't for everyone. And I don't think there is any way to realistically train for it. Many section hikers really enjoy their week or two week long hikes, but don't do well when attempting longer distances/times. You go, you hike, and you find out that you either enjoy it, or you don't.

    EDIT: I'd add that having your camp/backcountry skills down pat before leaving is a big plus. Things like knowing how to find a good tent site that won't wind up under water, or worse, under a dead tree, during the night, pitching your shelter, lighting your stove and cooking your food - all in the rain, wind, and cold; how to keep your gear dry at all times (sounds easier than it is sometimes), backcountry hygiene (avoiding gastrointestinal illness, minor wound and bug bite care, dental hygiene, foot care), etc.
    Last edited by 4eyedbuzzard; 01-08-2020 at 16:38.

  4. #24

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    I agree.

    Real talk. Snowflakes may take notice.

    As harsh, and offensively triggering to some, but as honest as it may be, some, over romantizcized by thru hiking wannabe thrus use "hike over" maladies as excuses to quit. But few will fess up to having used lame excuses for quitting. Again, it may be strongly suspected this falls into one's habitually psychological behavioral comfort zones. I too had to get over that mental pattern from yr's of making physical excuses for tardiness from school, work, eating as healthy or as near to it as I knew, maintaining a fitness and health standard, and applying myself at different endeavors. I still have to guard against it on occasion.
    Last edited by Dogwood; 01-10-2020 at 01:02.

  5. #25

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    I'm convinced if backpackers and hikers incorporate more sliding and falling well, as stunt men and parkour activists, there will be less hiker slip, trip, and fall injuries and overall less falls. Some ways to practice sliding beyond tennis on clay are bringing a sand board, like a snow board or skateboard without wheels, to those beach dune workouts. Its fun as well without necessary hard falls as on packed snow/ice or skateboarding. Surfing is yet another way to work on balance and sliding.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    I agree.

    Real talk. Snowflakes may take notice.

    As harsh, and offensively triggering to some, but as honest as it may be some over romantizcized by thru hiking wannabe thrus use "hike over" maladies as excuses to quit. But few will fess up to having used lame excuses for quitting. Again, it may be strongly suspected this falls into one's habitually psychological behavioral comfort zones. I too had to get over that mental pattern from yr's of making physical excuses for tardiness from school, work, eating as healthy or as near to it as I knew, maintaining a fitness and health standard, and applying myself at different endeavors. I still have to guard against it on occasion.
    https://thetrek.co/i-quit-4-days-into-my-thru-hike/

    The most inspiring thing I've ever read. I've many a stories with this particular hiker. She hates my guts.

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  7. #27

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    You go, you hike, and you find out that you either enjoy it, or you don't.

    Sure. But consider how many things, activities, etc are always enjoyable or fun? YET, we learn to adapt, maybe finding joy or fun rising to the challenges or we DO NOT. That's what expanding comfort zones often entails!. It's not always accomplished with a smiling face or it's a 'always gotta be fun' mentality. What a lame excuse it is saying I quit because I was bored or not always experiencing a 'fun' time. Expecting a over romanticized trail life that always includes having fun or joy is a fairy tale hard for anyone to maintain. That's why some need a supporting structure such as military life to change or maybe prison or maybe time as an island Castaway as Tom Hanks.

    As Anish deliberately says in her TedX talk " the kaleidiscope of human emotions doesn't cease because you're in the woods..." Listen how many times she says she didn't know if she could do this or that despite her experience. YET she applied herself DEALING with her challenges and emotions. Alex Honnold does the same thing. They are not emotionally dead. They deal with themselves HONESTLY!

    Listen to Heather bring home, including to wannabe do a thru hike folk, not just elite hikers or FKTers, what it takes to complete a thru hike.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgDeh2XDNY4
    Last edited by Dogwood; 01-09-2020 at 03:24.

  8. #28

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    You want something you never experienced, never had, you will have to do something you never did.

  9. #29

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    You want something you never experienced, never had, a joyful far ranging as far as experiences thru hike, you will have to do something you never did. For me, that was how I defined success on my first thru hike. I was going to joyfully, kind-fully, non self absorbed, with gratitude and generosity and the wisdom I could muster walk to Mt Katahdin. Talked little. Listened mostly. Adapted. It wasn't a thru hike attempt as is in 8 out of 10 AT thru cases. My mind was set daily as best I could while sometimes struggling with deeply rutted mental patterns. I was accustomed to non supporting self talk, - self speak, beliefs and listening to sometimes well intentioned but never the less naysayers resulting in sabotaging goals and desires of all manner. I intentioned completely feeling the success I knew I would at the summit of Mt Katahdin LONG BEFORE I GOT THERE. I practiced success before I had thru hiking completion success. Sure, emotions ranged widely but these mini goals drove me setting each days' mental stage that I intentioned to maintain. Some of what I then thought were attaining mini goals turned out to be very big goals. It MOFO hurt to change, to gain a higher mental ground, to change mental comfort zones. The changes and positive goals had positive consequences on others as no thru hike or AT Completion is accomplished in an alienated disconnected bubble. Don't we all want this, to positively affect others? A hike can do this. It does NOT have to be an utterly selfish endeavor. It created, for lack of a better word, aura or "good vibrations" that spread as a pebble thrown upon a mirrored pond surface. I didn't go in knowing all that would occur as Anish but I was going to deal with it. These were my motivators.

    Many will tell you that's too intense. Some will tell you it's only walking. But that intensity was needed to mentally change patterns that to this day I sometimes struggle.

    Consider how Heather Anderson gained and defined success on that PCT FKT? She learned by acceptance(to deal with) all that came her way. "In that process of acceptance the negatives lost their power and the positives became her motivators." "The success here are the lessons(the changes) along the journey. " That's a great success, consciously aware, and grounded perspective considering she smashed FKT records. This is pre-requisited by and can not be attained without mental toughness. Look at her. She's an elite of the elite LD hiker. Even Andrew Skurka said what she has done is astonishing. Sure, she has worthy physical attributes that can be applied to LD hiking and FKT's but I maintain it is more that beautiful independent self actualizing living with intention(she is clear where she's going) psychology that gets her stylishly across any finish line.

    NOW, training for a thru hike, what mental patterns and self talk, do you need to change and which support that endeavor? How are you going to train for those times when negative mental patterns and non supporting emotions arise? How are you going to navigate the mental ruts and unknowns? What will be your motivators? This is not something you can buy or have someone else do. We each have to take this responsibility on ourselves. And, are you passionate about LD hiking or is it something else? GREAT AT completions or section hikes can be accomplished without thru hiking the AT. All the physical training, great gear, good advice, etc is GREAT but it all can be sabotaged - IF it is the goal to Thru hike or complete the AT or enjoy any hike - by a defeatist or unaligned psyche. That is what gets most to abandon their AT thru hikes.

    This is also why 2/3 of CEO's come from military backgrounds and/or practice some form of martial arts. The mind needs to be trained just like any muscle. That's how Navy SEAL cadets/wannabes make it. They deal with it, whatever it is, including themselves instead of resorting to their previous narrow comfort zones. They additionally unconditionally with their lives support each other. Who will champion your hike? It's a narrow gate that not all enter to succeed attaining one's lofty dreams.

    This is life talk not just thru hike talk. It'll serve well all through life.
    Last edited by Dogwood; 01-10-2020 at 03:35.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    ...This is also why 2/3 of CEO's come from military backgrounds and/or practice some form of martial arts. The mind needs to be trained just like any muscle. That's how Navy SEAL cadets/wannabes make it. They deal with it, whatever it is, including themselves instead of resorting to their previous narrow comfort zones. They additionally unconditionally with their lives support each other. Who will champion your hike? It's a narrow gate that not all enter to succeed attaining one's lofty dreams.

    This is life talk not just thru hike talk. It'll serve well all through life.
    Your data is a bit outdated. Back in the 1970-1980 era approx 60% of Fortune 500 CEO's had some military service in their background. That was not surprising given that many were young men during the WWII generation. Today the percentage of Fortune 500 CEO's with a military background is more in the 8% range and has been decreasing for some time. There has been a small recent uptick due to the gulf wars/Afghanistan. But the ratio largely follows the fact that only 3% or so of the population now typically serve in our military that has been voluntary since 1973. And I doubt the other missing 60% have black belts - other than perhaps in the Six Sigma sense.

    There is a not so subtle point left out regarding prior military service. Those with prior military background who do become CEO's are mostly former officers, not enlisted. And while leadership roles are certainly present in the enlisted ranks, they are not the same. It is the educational requirements that lead to being commissioned as an officer that factor in here to a great degree. Are there exceptions? Of course. But they are few and far between. There are very few CEO's without advanced college degrees.

    Success in managing a business, or even a civilian government agency, requires different skills and techniques than what works in a military structure. You can't manage a civilian workforce like soldiers. You will fail - monumentally - if you try. While there is obviously some crossover in hierarchical structure, both the goals and "troops" are very different. Those with prior military experience who succeed in the civilian world recognize the differences, and learn and apply knowledge and techniques that work in the civilian world. I work with, and for, both former military and life long civilians, and for the most part the similarities are much greater than the differences. It's more about the individual being able to do what is required in the current setting than it is any specific past learned leadership style. I've seen good - and bad - leaders from both walks of life.

    Remember that only 25% of SEAL recruits successfully complete BUDS training and become SEALS. But the guys who don't make it aren't exactly snowflakes. Well, at least I wouldn't recommend that you call them that to their face. They might have a sore spot. And you might get one as well.

    While it would be interesting to see if there is any correlation regarding AT thru-hike completion rates and prior military service, I think mining the data would prove very difficult. My guess though is that it's not a general predictor of success, and I would expect to see completion rates about the same as the general population. There are a lot of variables in play regarding thru-hiking that in my opinion are more predictive: The required time, finances, age, physical condition and limitations, motivation for hiking, outside responsibilities, etc. that apply equally to people both with and without prior military experience.
    Last edited by 4eyedbuzzard; 01-10-2020 at 10:41.

  11. #31

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    The reason why I wrote so much about mental toughness, other than being verbose at times , is because, sure, most say thru hiking is more a mental game however details on how that is attained and how that applies to hiking is lacking in comparison to detailing supporting physical attributes...and endless chatter about gear. I've found this misguided and irresponsible from those offering hiking training advice since most know that it is mostly mental and dont correct those that assume it is mostly physical.

    @4eyedbuzzard TU for the correction that my data on CEO's is dated. And TU for an overall high quality informative post. BTW, no one is remotely suggesting Navy SEAL school drop outs are snowflakes.
    I think you nailed why military personnel who do attempt thrus and drop: "Success in managing a business, or even a civilian government agency, requires different skills and techniques than what works in a military structure. You can't manage a civilian workforce like soldiers. You will fail - monumentally - if you try. While there is obviously some crossover in hierarchical structure, both the goals and "troops" are very different. Those with prior military experience who succeed in the civilian world recognize the differences, and learn and apply knowledge and techniques that work in the civilian world." I've said the previous thing repeatedly on threads when the topic has been breached.
    Last edited by Dogwood; 01-10-2020 at 15:07.

  12. #32

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    Here are two respected resources that effectively delve more comprehensively into the mental side of thru hiking the AT:

    http://www.warrendoyle.com/ati Warren Doyle's Appalachian Trail Institute.

    https://www.amazon.com/Appalachian-Trials-Psychological-Successfully-Thru-Hiking-ebook/dp/B0074U5L58
    Zach Davis book. I'm not personally aware of the effectiveness of Zach's personal coaching but I' strongly suspect it can be benefecial to many aspiring AT thrus.

  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    Here are two respected resources that effectively delve more comprehensively into the mental side of thru hiking the AT:

    http://www.warrendoyle.com/ati Warren Doyle's Appalachian Trail Institute.

    https://www.amazon.com/Appalachian-Trials-Psychological-Successfully-Thru-Hiking-ebook/dp/B0074U5L58
    Zach Davis book. I'm not personally aware of the effectiveness of Zach's personal coaching but I' strongly suspect it can be benefecial to many aspiring AT thrus.
    I think thru hiking is easier when your "normal life" is harder than thru hiking.

    I feel like lots of people who quit the trail do so because their home environment is cushy, safe, and careless.

    The last thing I wanted to do when finishing up the AT was go home. Others couldn't be more estatic to finish.

    Everyone's wired differently. Everyone looks at life differently.

    I've always laughed and excelled when times got tough on trail. When it got so "hard".

    I wish I had that same resilience to the societal normal pressures of American culture and life off trail as I do on.

    Trail life is simple. Living a meaningful life off trail where imo society is largely negative is much, much more difficult.

    I'd walk trails for the rest of my life everyday if I could. I don't know what I'm looking for though.

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  14. #34

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    I think thru hiking is easier when your "normal life" is harder than thru hiking.
    There may some truth in that. LOL


    Trail life is simple. Living a meaningful life off trail where imo society is largely negative is much, much more difficult.


    I'd walk trails for the rest of my life everyday if I could. I don't know what I'm looking for though.


    LOL. I hear people chime. I'd die for you. Dying is easy. It's harder to live for something.

  15. #35

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    Next time I hear the voices in the middle of the night I'll listen for yours. LOL

    Dogwood what do you think of my DCF stuff sack article? The ghost of gear yak past.


    You wanted to be entertained.

  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    Next time I hear the voices in the middle of the night I'll listen for yours. LOL

    Dogwood what do you think of my DCF stuff sack article? The ghost of gear yak past.


    You wanted to be entertained.
    I don't recommend DCF stuff sacks

    It's true though. Everyone I know who was having the best time on trail would have some really interesting backgrounds. Typically one with a lot of struggles.

    One of my tramily members was the most lively, energetic hikers out there in 2018. The language barrier was real. He was an older guy with a story to tell. When things got tough, he was a motivator and kept morale up. We started the same day. Hiked all the way to Katahdin together. I was the last person to see him on the AT.

    It was a tragedy to hear he had taken his life 3 weeks after finishing the AT.

    Thru hiking is easy compared to what some people go thru on daily basis.

    ~ Baxter State Park, September 16th, 2018. The German Passenger was not blessed to have walked the Appalachian Trail. Rather, the Appalachian Trail was blessed to have been enjoyed by a man with such character. Starting the AT on the same day and meeting in the Smokies, we shared trail all the way to Katahdin. We separated in Northern Virginia, and reunited in New Hampshire. Moving at different paces, our farewells were always meaningful. Knowing that these may be our last miles together. We crossed paths again 200 miles from Katahdin, estatic to be reunited. Each time we separated, we took a photo together, anticipating it to be our last. We joked, we laughed, we shared stories, and told tall tales. I vividly remember the day approaching The Horn in Maine, unexpectedly crossing paths once more, and teasing the Passenger that I would catch him in Baxter. He was moving up trail faster than I. Weeks later, I found myself at a picnic table in Baxter State Park, awaiting my spot at the Birches, trail magic ensued. Unaware of his whereabouts, and honestly more focused on my sore feet than anything, I looked up to see my friend approaching me. He had summited Katahdin and was gleaming with pride. "It's unbelievable man!'" We got to relish in our accomplishment and the incredible journey that brought us there. 2,190.9 miles. We shared one final photo, knowing that this time, our farewell was a reality. One that I keep close to my heart. No need to be on top of Katahdin to feel the power of such a journey. Having each other was more than enough. I'm honored to have shared this moment and trail with a remarkable friend. And so very grateful to have been with you till the very end. I share this with you all. The German Passenger, living life to the fullest in Baxter State Park, after finishing his incredible thru hike of the appalachiantrail. Rest in peace brother.

    This is dark and sad. I know. And ive never shared it here. But for those that make quitting the trail something it's not.. it's tough to take some of that pride away from thru hikers who have gave it their all in completing a 2000 mile hike.

    Here's one tough son a gun. I hope he's hiking somewhere. Where he at least has some fufillment in his life.

    This is the last photo of passeneger on the AT.

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    Last edited by fastfoxengineering; 01-11-2020 at 00:26.

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    Wow, what a great relationship and what a great story. Thank you so much for sharing that with us. That truly is special. They can't take our memories ....

  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by JNI64 View Post
    Wow, what a great relationship and what a great story. Thank you so much for sharing that with us. That truly is special. They can't take our memories ....
    Craig Mains recently completed a Yoyo hike of the AT. His fourth thru hike of the AT.

    Towards the end he spoke about how he has a really hard time with life off trail. Yet on trail he is one of the positive people you will ever meet.

    For some. The hardships and tribulations of thru hiking are nothing compared to their emotions and thoughts off trail.


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  19. #39

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    Going through trails and tribulations builds character, endurance, and hope. Now where's that book around here I read that?

    Look at Nelson Mandela's life. Look at every Olympic athlete.

  20. #40

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    Ease is a greater threat to progress than hardship. Without committment you'll never start. But more importantly without consistency you'll never finish(accomplish the goal). Denzel Washington

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