What to do When You Can’t Hike Every Day
My favorite way to train for my AT thru-hike is by hiking. Life does not always allow for long drives or long days on the trail so what do you do?
I have spent many hours in the gym over the last few months. While it is not my favorite way to get exercise it is the easiest to fit into my schedule. I tried going in the afternoon but what would very often happen was I would have something else to do that gave me an excuse to not go. It is easier to do than I would like to admit. Having never been a morning person, the thought of getting up early enough to go before work was unpleasant. However, with encouragement from my husband I gave it a try. I was pleasantly surprised. Now I go almost every morning at 5 a.m. (people who know me won’t believe it) and don’t mind getting up that early at all. Best of all there is nothing else going on that early to distract me.
We live in a town with a nice greenway. There are miles and miles to this greenway through several parks that make for pleasant walks that we can do in the evenings and change out where we do it. There are lots of options on these trails that allow us to add more up hill or work in flights of stairs. The next best thing to being in the woods and often fits into our evenings. Next step will be starting to do these walks with a loaded pack!
We are lucky to live close to lots of different places to hike. Including a national park with over 900 miles of trails as well as several state parks and other public lands. These give us a variety of terrain and lengths as well as scenery all within day trip distance of the house. Most weekends we will do day hikes of different length and difficulty. Even when we are doing a short easy day hike I carry a day pack with three liters of water in it just for the extra weight. Next step to add a pack with all my gear and overnight trips!
I have lost a few pounds but that was not my main goal, just a pleasant side effect. My main goal was to get my body more prepared to walk for miles every day carrying my life in a bag on my back. I can tell in lots of ways I am stronger. My pace is faster than before without even trying. Hiking in the past I have often skipped even short side trips my hiking buddies would take to save my strength for the hike. Now I am doing those side trails and still finishing the hike less tired and sore than before. Stairs are getting easier although they are still something I am working on; my 48-year-old knees are a bit stubborn. I am pleased at my progress so far and will continue as my start date approaches. The closer it gets the more I am motivated to start this adventure in the best shape I can.
This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!
To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.