Rest. As a running coach, I always preach to the young athletes the importance of rest. In fact, I say, rest is almost always as important as your workouts. Sometimes the kids listen, but I’m mostly concerned about them staying up most of the night entertaining themselves on social media.

As a hiker, we have to remember that we are essentially endurance athletes (although my BMI still disagrees). Our legs are moving and our heart rate is accelerated for eight hours per day or more. Your rest is extremely important. After my first three weeks on trail, I firmly believe that it was important to take at least one zero day every five to six days. While I have no statistics, I can imagine that there are a great deal of hiker injuries that are either indirectly or directly related to hiking fatigue. Slow down so that you can enjoy your journey. The trail will greet you with open arms whenever you return. The trail isn’t going anywhere!

Currently, I’m at my home in Pennsylvania on a planned seven-day break. I miss the trail, the trail community, and my tramily. But, as a coach, I keep telling myself that this rest is deserved and needed.

Hikers: take care of yourself physically and mentally! You deserve the best out of your trail experience!

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