Training for my AT Thru Hike

Let’s talk Training

Once I step foot on the trail at the southern terminus in Georgia to attempt to continuously hike north for 2198.4 miles, training will be done.  I have given myself several months to physically prepare for this 6 month journey.

I am treating this endeavor as a job and my body is the machine that will get the job done.  What I put into it, and how I treat it, through words and actions,  fuel and preparation will determine how it performs.

In looking specifically at the physical aspect of my training, now is the time for fine tuning.  I have always been an active person , so I am starting with a good base of at least 60-90 minutes of daily physical activity and 10,000 steps.

Starting In December I upped my steps to 20,000 day and found myself often at 9pm walking around in my neighborhood with a flashlight on to meet my goal.  I also added Rucking to my walk with 20-28 lbs in my backpack. This has proven quite a challenge but will be what I will experience on the trail.

The Appalachian Trail is full of PUDS (pointless ups and downs) with mountains all along the trail.  The  elevation gain/decrease is the equivalent to going up to Mt Everest and back 16 times.  To prepare, I started using the Stair-stepper at my gym WITH my weighted rucksack!  My plan started off in December with a 30 minute minimum time on the stepper.  I am adding 10 minutes more to this time each additional month leading up to my launch.


The final focus of my physical training is lifting weights.  This is my least favorite activity and I have to force myself to run through a series of sets a couple times/week.  In fact, I am currently behind in staying on top of this goal.  In acknowledging this I hope to hold myself more accountable.

As I work though my daily goals over the next couple months, new goals await.  I hope to end up rucking for several hours and up to 8/9hrs per day before my official first step on the trail.  That is after all what I will be doing In Real Life – my new life – very soon!

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Comments 2

  • Cliff Ward : Feb 3rd

    Good going Jenny!
    I am shifting my exercises to a bit more like yours. I have a 30lb “backpack” that is solid as a rock and will start using it
    more. I am 72 so I will not be a speed demon on the trail but won’t be a turtle either. Next year for the hike, my work
    (ships officer) will keep me out this year.

    • Jenny Reed : Feb 6th

      Hi Cliff,
      Sounds like a solid plan. Wishing you much success in your training and future thru hike!


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