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  1. #1

    Default Practice and training

    What are people doing for conditioning before their trips?

    I live about 45 minutes from the white mountains in NH so ive been going with the classic climb mountains whenever you get a chance approach.

    What are you doing to physically prepare?

  2. #2
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    I get out on average about three three weeks year round for a long weekend hike. So I guess hiking keeps me in shape for hiking.

  3. #3

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    There is no better training for backpacking than backpacking. There is no better training ground than the White Mountains
    I hike every week and get out for 5 or 6 trips a year
    Last edited by hikerboy57; 07-20-2013 at 16:12.

  4. #4
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    I walk 5 miles a day pretty much everyday rain or shine. About a month before we leave for long hikes I start carrying my backpack with 15-20 pounds in it on my walks.

  5. #5
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    I hike and do trail maintenance.

    Working with a local trail club will certainly give you a workout.

  6. #6
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    A quick primer of some options can be found here:

    http://www.backpackingengineer.com/p...g/fitness.html

  7. #7

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    Train as if you were training for a mile, 5k, or 10k. Too often I have been asked the question "How do you hike so many miles each day?" My reply is my running background. Then they follow up with "...well I have run several marathons, but I'm still [injured, slower, or not hiking as much as you".

    I eventually realized it's not aerobic endurance that allows me to hike 3 mph for 14 hours a day, but it's aerobic strength. Essentially, my threshold/work capacity is greater.

    If you look at my daily hiking schedule, it goes something like this
    6AM Hike
    10AM 5 minute water break
    12PM Lunch
    12:30PM Hike
    3PM 5 minute water break
    6PM Dinner
    6:30PM Hike
    9PM Stop hiking

    ...very little breaks at a constant 3 mph regardless of terrain

    That aerobic strength comes from 15+ mile long runs at 7 minute mile pace, 9 mile threshold runs at 5:45 minute mile pace, tempo runs, hill workouts, and track workouts.

    In the end, 3 mph doesn't feel hard because I am accustomed to running much faster. Even carrying a 30 pound pack hasn't changed anything. But, I will agree that hiking with a pack is a good way to get used to carrying the weight.

  8. #8

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    Before their trips? Well, I always seem to lose weight after a typical long trip and so I figure in a couple more years I'll weigh 25 lbs. ha ha ha.

    Anyway, you can jog, you can bicycle. I just came in from hiking around the "back 40" with my pack filled to about 70 lbs. As someone said, there's no better training for backpacking than backpacking.

  9. #9

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    I've been working the stairs pretty hard lately both up and down. Nothing better in my opinion but I'll find out in Sept when I hit the trail.

  10. #10
    Registered User Edro's Avatar
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    Nothings better than hiking to get you in shape for hiking! but i cannot hike every single day, but i do work out. I figure my workouts will help me be strong enough to begin the trail. the trail will help me get strong enough to finish. My workout routine is a combination of cardio and weight (strength) training. i even walk on my treadmill with my loaded backpack on just for the extra resistance it offers. I dont beiieve it resembles actual trails bit the extra weight caint hurt! so between the local trails, the gym and my home workouts, myabe i'll be strong enough to begin come March 2014.

  11. #11
    Registered User Just Bill's Avatar
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    For my fellow flatlanders like me- I train a few days a week on Asphalt bike paths, I find the "punishment" of the pavement to be good training for hiking all day when time is limited. Further time crunch tips- I do run/walks- walk a mile to warm up then run a mile, walk a half; repeat. I finish with a mile walk (about 10 miles total). Find a trail near your house to get some off road work and bring your water treatment options to practice staying hydrated and make sure you like your system and snacks. I found an old toboggan slide near me that lets me get in about 6000 feet of elevation gain in a fifteen mile hike (a few different loops). If you're fortunate to live out east or west- straight mileage is good- for flatlanders I find that you need to overtrain (by about a third) for your intended daily mileage. A flatland forty turns into a thirty mile day on the AT. Finally- make sure you get in some "back to back" long training days to get your body used to doing it every day. If you get burned out- add in bicycling. I ride about 15 miles to my trail, hike for 30 and bike home- I get the "experience" of being out all day without overtraining too much. I also try to walk barefoot for a half hour or so after dinner as often as possible to stretch out and strengthen my feet.

  12. #12
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    I just wrote a blog on P90X2 since I finished it just recently. It can be considered overkill, but hey it is a challenge!

    http://www.backpackingengineer.com/blog.php/25

  13. #13
    AT NOBO2010 / SOBO2011 Maddog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edro View Post
    Nothings better than hiking to get you in shape for hiking! but i cannot hike every single day, but i do work out. I figure my workouts will help me be strong enough to begin the trail. the trail will help me get strong enough to finish. My workout routine is a combination of cardio and weight (strength) training. i even walk on my treadmill with my loaded backpack on just for the extra resistance it offers. I dont beiieve it resembles actual trails bit the extra weight caint hurt! so between the local trails, the gym and my home workouts, myabe i'll be strong enough to begin come March 2014.
    +1 Maddog
    "You do more hiking with your head than your feet!" Emma "Grandma" Gatewood...HYOY!!!
    http://www.hammockforums.net/?

  14. #14

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    Right now I'm getting ready for a Loop of Franconia Ridge
    http://www.everytrail.com/guide/fran...erty-and-flume
    Got only 1 day off next week so im gonna try and make the most of it by leaving work weds evening and headed directly for NH and get as far as i can then set up for an overnight then on my day off hike to my hearts content. Looking forward to possibly bumping into 2013 thru hikers headed north.

    I think this is my first real section hike of the AT since deciding to thru hike it. Going back into a 60hr workweek in a busy kitchen afterwards should feel like continuing to hike.

  15. #15

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    I could say I have this set workout regimen doing these specific exercises/reps/machines, etc blah blah blah but getting and staying in physical/mental shape doesn't happen that way for me anyhow. I'm constantly mixing things up. It keep things interesting for me. It's a lifestyle not something I try to cram into preparing for a hiking trip on a temporary basis. It's LARGELY about maintaining where I am physically and mentally and stretching myself a bit further. It's kind of like putting a new even sharper edge on a knife. And, IMO, I find when I'm engaged in physical training it's naturally accompanied by mental training, They are inseparable for me.

    My often American counter culture living outside of the box lifestyle helps me prepare for hikes. OFTEN, I leave the car at home and instead CHOOSE to get to places by walking often alternating my pace from very fast(almost a run) to creeping along checking out the plants and architecture and most everything else I can experience. Even then sometimes I just stop and breathe in and absorb the universe. That going to sound strange as hell to some. Sometimes I'll throw on a pack and walk/hike like that. I wander off into the forest, down creeks/rivers. up/down mountains, wander along bike paths/train tracks/into large botanical gardens/golf courses, etc just to explore and having the goal of seeing what I can see. Sometimes, I purposefully try getting a little lost when I'm doing that. I like leaving the pick-up at home and riding a bike. I'll choose to even do it when I'm making a small grocery store shopping run, going to the PO, going out to eat, etc - in the rain or when it's snowing or in the middle of the night. The purpose is to train my mind, getting mentally comfortable with things that are going to be experienced on a long distance hike, while at the same time, I'm training my body which I think is key in completing a thru-hike. I also spend about half my working time outside working for long durations up to 16 -17 hr days sometimes managing and overseeing and sometimes doing grunt work as a Landscape Architect. Again, training my body and mind simultaneously. I like what Glacier Freeze alluded to, it's essentially about expanding your threshold and making your work capacity greater. I despise being locked up in an office behind a desk or computer for long durations.

    Here are more things I do to prepare for, not only a hike, but for life. Along the getting comfortable with thru-hiking idea I sometimes sleep outside in the woods near where I am even in the middle of the week when I have to be at work the next morning. I do keep my wt down too and it's a STRONG interest of mine to consume the healthiest foods I can afford. I refuse to ever ever ever let myself get fat or lethargic for an extended period. I also used to run about 4-5 times per wk on 10 mile per day runs but these days I run outside less and jump on the elliptical tread mill. I run/walk stairs alot. The highschool football stadium stairs at midnight are one of my favorites. If it's raining or snowing even better. It will make me stronger. The local high school security as well as the police know me by now. They've ceased stopping me in the middle of the night sometimes even when I'm wearing a weighted backpack. I'm the guy who you see near the elevator that's looking for the stairwell opting for the stairs instead. I'm the guy that made it to the top before you by taking the stairs rather than the escalator. I'm the guy walking fast through the airport wearing a backpack like he's on a mission while others are creeping along on the flat people moving conveyor belts on their cell phones or some other electronic device. Do I lift wts? Yes, a little but not consistently enough to do much more than just help me stay toned. I do weighted and inclined sitting leg raises, stomach crunches, push ups, some upper body workouts with low wts, and stretching. After having gotten away from stretching I've realized how important that is, especially since getting older, so am back doing that. Many will be hearing this for the first time but I've worked on my breathing for several yrs now. It really helps getting that full oxygenating breathe which I find is crucial when getting above 10 k elevation attempting to squeeze as much oxygen as I can into my lungs and being able to make the most of it or when I want to sustain a faster hiking pace. It also helps in relaxing your mind and body when you're extending yourself.

    While I much prefer hitting a trail in optimal long distance hiking shape, this is the type of hiking I mostly do, and I would say I do quite a bit of it, no matter how fit both mentally and physically I'm in, there are always adjustments to long distance(thru-hiking) life that I must make. I say that because IMO some hikers think they can micro manage all the details of a hike and this doesn't happen in boots on the ground real life. IMO, one of the key factors to embrace in being able to complete a long hike is knowing you can't control/prepare for/manage/know about everything - you need to be adaptable. You have to be prepared to embrace the unknowns.

  16. #16

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    I walk with and without my pack to stay in shape...with pack I add about 20-25 lb, that's about everything I'd normal bring less food and water and maybe some winter gear, I don't really weigh it, I just want some weight in there to give my shoulders and hips a work out to keep them ready for go time....I also do squats, though lately I've been slaking off on those. A typical walk for me is maybe 5-6 miles per day sometimes more, sometimes less depending on how I feel, lately with the heat...it's been less.
    Last edited by rocketsocks; 07-21-2013 at 22:56. Reason: schpellin

  17. #17
    Getting out as much as I can..which is never enough. :) Mags's Avatar
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    Do whatever exercise you can do often during the week (biking, weight lifting, elliptical, running, etc), backpack and hike as much as you can, do a lot of outdoor stuff for fun thrown in too (skiing? climbing? canoeing?) if so inclined.

    When you hit the trail, good chance the first few weeks will be enjoyable and not a chore.
    Paul "Mags" Magnanti
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    The true harvest of my life is intangible...a little stardust caught,a portion of the rainbow I have clutched -Thoreau

  18. #18

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    REAL Mountain Biking is good training too.

    http://www.environmentalgraffiti.com...h/8975?image=3

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    REAL Mountain Biking is good training too.

    http://www.environmentalgraffiti.com...h/8975?image=3
    No freakin way...not this boy! them kids are nuts.

  20. #20

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    Did you notice the long vertical crack in the rock where the cliff pt will eventually break away in the pic where he's doing a wheelie? Oh, I'd pay good money to see that pt break away right there as someone is showing off doing a wheelie. Bet that helmet will not make a difference in that situation.

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