Preparation for the Trip — Training (or Can the Old Guy Do it?)

While I wouldn’t say I was in awful shape, my fifty-year-old self was not ready for a 110-mile trek. Let’s just say I spent more time writing legal briefs than at the gym or on the trail. Turning fifty and committing to hike the TMB changed that. I knew I needed a lot more than I had to commit to 11 days of hiking and 30k of elevation.

What did I do?  What was my program?

I went into full-on training mode to prep for this trek. The most obvious was to start walking and hiking more. I committed that I would walk or hike at least five days a week. Fortunately, Spokane, Washington has a ton of options close by. The Centennial Trail, which runs parallel to the Spokane River, is a five-minute walk from my place and provides a lot of options, paved bike/ped options though. We also have a lot of trails within a 30-minute drive, and I did my best to find hikes four miles or more with at least 1,000 feet of elevation change. I figured with plenty of walking I could handle anything.

Well, I knew I was kidding myself, so I decided to put my physical prep into overdrive. I signed up for 2 30-minute personal training sessions at the local Y. Julie, a rockstar of a trainer, got me on a program of high-intensity interval training (“HIIT”) focused on core strength, knee and ankle strength, and balance — all areas I needed to improve and would make my TMB less miserable.

Finally, I decided I needed to up my cardio and I signed up for a local 5-k training running group that included three days of running per week (see our schedule pictured here). I’ve never been much of a runner — suffering through it during those sporadic times in life that I actually managed to do it. But this group used an interval-based approach to get folks running 5-k at an admirable pace of eight weeks.  It was great and I ended up finishing fourth in my age group during the race we all participated in at the end of the first session. I signed up again and for the first time in my life can say I like (not at love yet) running.

I honestly can say I am nervous about my ability to pull this off, but I can also say that losing 20 pounds, getting stronger, and turning into a runner doesn’t hurt my chances.

Run Training Schedule

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Comments 1

  • John Rutkowski : Jul 24th

    Do Hadrian’s Wall as a warm up. Get a service to move your clothes.
    93 miles. I did at 64.

    Just back for the Maine north woods at 70.

    You are a youngster.

    But I did Mt Blanc assent at 30.


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