The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Training for the AT (in Winter)


This is my plan. My plan may not work for you.* To each his/her own!



Eat lots of Ramen. Add things to it like veggies and eggs and tell yourself you’re experimenting for life on the trail. Eat all the Kraft mac & cheese. Lie to yourself about this too. If you eat it out of your backpacking pot/mug/bowl in your kitchen, it’s basically the truth. Try every Pop-Tart flavor as “research.” Make a spinach smoothie or two because you’re not going to be getting those for a while. Avoid anything in bar form, as you don’t want to wreck your palate for these in advance.



Go the gym, get on a treadmill, and set the incline to max. Be the weirdo walking slowly uphill. Be the bigger weirdo doing it with a full pack on. Try the stairmaster. Realize the stairmaster is a torture device from hell and get off after 20 seconds. Go outside. Go hiking in the sleet and the ice and feel hardcore. Accidentally hike 16.5 miles when you thought the trail was 10 miles. Feel like a champion. Find a path that goes straight uphill. Do it. Feel shitty in the moment and question everything about why you’re thru-hiking. Feel amazing at the top and question everything about why you have any doubts about thru-hiking. Relish this time when you get to wash the stink and sweat off your body at the end of each day.

Strength Training

Ditch all your HIIT classes and just do yoga. Do so much yoga. Challenge yourself on all the standing balance moves to strengthen your ankles. Revolve your half moon and get your fingers off the floor. Put both hands on your ankle in standing splits. Add in some Pilates, sometimes, as core work will be essential. Plank the length of your favorite song. Engage those hip flexors! Go the climbing gym as much as possible because taking up a new sport that drains your bank account and strengthens the extremities least necessary for hiking is a brilliant idea. But it is really fun, so do it anyway.



Hibernate. It’s cold outside. Sleep in every day. Remind yourself of what you’re about to put your body through. Let yourself enjoy your bed, your clean sheets, your pillow top mattress. You’re going to be missing these things soon enough. You deserve to sleep well for each one of your remaining 50 nights. Treat yourself….to a nap!


Read all the books. Thru-Hiking Will Break Your Heart. On Trails. Journal obsessively. Do those adult coloring books. See above about yoga. Make your thru-hike real and tell everyone you know. Stop caveating it with “I’m going to attempt to….” Avoid watching or reading the news. Or watch the news and be thankful for your upcoming exclusion from society.

*my plan will not work for anyone. literally everything written here is in jest. please do not follow this advice. except for the bit about the yoga. do that. 

all the lolz and happy hiking. more to come….



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Comments 8

  • Jaime : Jan 26th

    Treat yourself… you deserve it and I’m with you F the stair-master! Loving this post!

  • Kate Gewehr : Jan 26th

    I am attempting to taste test alll the bars. Except I’m worried about how to do that and still fit in my hiking pants.

    And seriously, I think the climbing gym is not a bad plan. There will be some pretty intense rock scrambles with hand-over-hand climbing on the trail. I have zero upper body strength, so I was going for a while last year until my shoulder problems started.

    • Shani : Jan 26th

      Kate – Let me know your favorites!

      • Kate Gewehr : Jan 27th

        I will probably write a post about them once I get all the ones I have ordered lately, but my favorite so far are evo hemp (, particularly the apple ones.

  • Heather Provoncha : Jan 29th

    All.the.feels. This is probably the best blog post I have ever read! You get me! I also took up climbing just a month after deciding to hike the AT….why not plunk down allllll the money at REI for hiking and climbing gear??!! Makes perfect sense when you plan to quit your job haha! I have also been preparing by indulging in most every sweet treat I can find…all of my coworkers encourage it by saying “Just think of all the extra calories you need!”

    • Shani : Jan 30th

      Heather – you are too sweet! I’m really enjoying your posts too and I’m sad because I think you guys are heading out a bit before I plan to. :/ Maybe fate will have us meet up on the trail, otherwise know I’ll be following along on your adventure! Best wishes!!!!! Also, I’m with your co-workers – we will definitely need the extra calories, so it’s only rational to eat…well….everything!


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