The Best Place to Train for a Thru-Hike
How do you train for a thru-hike? I think this has been answered by many a blog post already and most of them say the same thing. The best way to train for a hike…is to hike! It’s that simple.
But it’s not that simple.
You see, you need to replicate the conditions you’ll be in as closely as possible. For instance, on the Appalachian Trail, I’m going to be climbing up and down mountains day after day in some of the wettest conditions I’ve ever experienced. I can’t really replicate those conditions in my home state of…
(cue the trumpets!)
(Trumpets frack and the men slowly lower their instruments in disappointment.)
So another location would be preferable, if possible. Keep reading.
Dial in the gear.
I know. This is everyone’s favorite part. That’s because it’s the easiest part, so don’t get too excited. Hopefully, you’ve been working on this for a while and have a good idea of what your gear is going to look like. Training for a thru-hike has very little to do with gear and more to do with carrying it. So dial it in, strap on the pack, and get used to the weight. And if you’re not happy with how it feels, make adjustments while you’re still in your comfy home.
It’s easy to do too much in the training window and either injure yourself or burn yourself out, removing all the gas from the fire that’s needed once the real journey begins. Thus, know when too much is too much. A great majority of injuries on the trail happen when people do too much too soon. So I’m taking the approach of starting with low miles and building up slowly, being sure to stretch every day.
My Training Plan and Place
It just so happened that my husband got his month-long sabbatical right before my thru-hike began. And he chose to spend it in…
(Cue those trumpets again.)
Yeah, how’s them apples, trumpet players?
It should be perfect. Unlimited mountains filled with rainy days to push my body and gear to the limits. But let’s face it, I probably won’t be aware that any training is happening. I’ll be on cloud 9 the entire time. We’ll be trekking (or tramping, as kiwis call it) through New Zealand for one month straight. New Zealand has an exquisite backcountry hut system. But we’re not using it most of the time. We’ll be those poor souls in the tents next to the huts, staring at those people with nice warm beds and shelter from the elements. I’m hoping that will prepare me in some way for this thru-hike since I don’t plan on using the shelters.
Would strength training and cardio have done me some good for the last 3-4 months? Probably. But I’ve been busy staring at pictures of trails in New Zealand! Can you blame me???? It’s the equivalent of pornography for hikers.
Now tell me, if you could train for a thru-hike anywhere in the world, where would you train? Put it in the comments!
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