Physical Preparations for a Thru-Hike
I consider myself to be a fit person. In no way am I saying I am going to win any races or competitions, but I have what I would consider better than average endurance. I enjoy long, steady-paced workouts. I prefer Crossfit style workouts, a combination of cardio, weightlifting, and gymnastic movements.
Even being in decent shape, I’m not in walk 2,000+ miles shape. Can you get into that kind of shape without walking hours a day, every day?! I’m doubtful of that, but my attempt is to get my feet and legs used to carry this body for days on end.
Your feet are pretty damn important. My short, blocky feet have taken me more places than I can remember. I often wonder why I don’t treat the poor things better, as thanks for carrying me around nearly all of my life. After 5 hours in hiking boots, it was evident that I needed to change my footwear. I went to a local running store, where they helped me find the perfect pair of trail runners for my foot, the Brooks Calderas, which have a nice wide toe-box.
I now walk around in my new trail running shoes with my pack strapped to my back as often as possible. I did a modified version of Murph (THE Crossfit Memorial Day WOD) wearing my pack. I started my training carrying 20-25 pounds on my walk/hikes, after a month I have upped my pack weight to 35 pounds (using hand weights) to simulate a full supply of water and food. I will be doing a post on my gear and base weight next week.
Workouts these days consist of a lot of weighted lunges, squats, and box step-ups, but I mix in heavy arm work with those movements because I’m afraid my arms will shrink. Also, I include a lot of cardio- running, biking, and jump-roping. Here are a few recent workouts:
6 Rounds for Time:
– 6 push-ups
– 12 kettlebell swings (36 lbs)
– 18 weighted box step-ups (25 lbs)
– 24 double unders
Here’s a long weightlifting workout that works the legs and the arms, allows time for rest, but gets you breathing heavy.
Every 2 Minutes for 30 minutes (15 rounds)- heavy, but manageable, weight
– 12 Deadlifts
– 6 Squat Cleans
– 3 Push Jerks
This workout *looks* easy enough, but is a real bitch:
400m weighted lunge, 5 burpees every time the weight is dropped. (I use 25 pounds)
Nothing is going to truly prepare me for a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, but I hope to go into my attempt with plenty of miles and practice under my belt!
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