How to Train for a Hike

 How to Train for a Hike

Our fitness is something that we should take very seriously. If I’m honest, I haven’t taken it as seriously as I should for about 5 months so it is time to change that.

No more taking the easy option and just buying more survival gear. It is time to get back outside and practice or we won’t be going very far when it really matters.

If we are forced to evacuate our homes then the roads will become jammed and traveling by foot may be the only option. We may end up needing to walk for miles before we reach our destination. Could you do that, without injury, if you haven’t trained? Hiking is quite a strenuous activity and it requires us to be in good shape. The problem is that we, as humans, are very good at underestimating and thus, being unprepared.

I mean come on, prepping isn’t just about gear right? And you could use this time to put some practice in with some of your survival gear too.

We understand that no matter what you do, it is always that very first step that is the hardest. Once you get past that it becomes easier. Because of this, start slowly and gradually, building up distance over time.

Most Important Tip
Above all, do what you can! Walking half a mile is better than walking no distance at all. If you plan to walk a mile but can’t manage it, go as far as you can and save the mile for next time.

How to Train for a Hike

When training for a specific hike it is important that you try and put yourself into the correct conditions as much as possible. As an example, if you are planning on doing a 10 mile hike across gravel and rocks in the rain then you will struggle if you have only trained on flat, level and dry ground.

Leg-Based Cardio

While walking itself will take up a big portion of your training, leg-based cardio also needs a place in your daily routine. Anything such as cycling, swimming or even football will help to build the strength in your legs.

Take the Stairs

If we have a choice between taking the stairs or the elevator, nine times out of ten it is going to end up being the elevator. This is an easy change that could be used in most of our routines.

Stop Slouching

We get into habits really easily and one of the hardest for me to break was to actually just start walking properly. You may think that it can’t be hard just putting one foot in front of the other but you’d be wrong. Correct walking posture is more than just what you do with your feet.

You must take the time to check how your walking and make any changes where they’re necessary. The heel should touchdown before rolling onto your toes. Keep your head up, your shoulders level and your eyes forward.

The Terrain

I have already quickly mentioned about getting the conditions right and the terrain is just one part of that. Don’t put all of your training into flat terrain but mix it up with inclines and declines, grass, path, roads, and anything else you may encounter on the actual hike. If you are planning on taking on a mountain then most of your training will be done on steep, rocky terrain.

Don’t Forget the Walking Poles

I have only started actually using walking poles for the last couple of years but was incredibly surprised at the difference that they make. Walking poles help to redistribute the pressure so that it is not all in the same spot such as the knees as well as giving extra support when needed.

Take Your Backpack

You don’t need to worry about taking literally everything with you straight from the start of your training but you must gradually build up until you can finish the distance with your complete kit. Just start off by taking a small daypack of essentials to begin with and build from there. Always add that little extra challenge each time that you head out.

Fuel is Important

It doesn’t matter how much you put into your training, you will fail on the day if you don’t keep your body stocked up with fuel. This is both food AND water but doesn’t need to be anything fancy. You could choose to carry chocolate, energy bars, nuts and any other quick source of energy and protein. It is usually fairly easy to find water if it is needed but make sure that you have a means of purification to ensure that it is safe for consumption.

Your Feet Matter

When I was about 15 or 16 I bought my first pair of proper walking boots. I thought I would try and save as much money as possible thinking that I was making a smart move, not so much!

I can’t remember the exact boots I bought but I got them cheap from an outdoor store we used to have in the town. I won’t go into detail but it was a disaster and thankfully, one that I have learned from.

Take care of your feet and they will get you to where you’re going and it is pretty easy to do. Don’t make my mistake by trying to go too cheap. Put a little extra money into buying a pair of good quality, water-resistant boots that have plenty of support and ventilation. Once you have these you will need to break your boots in before the big hike by simply wearing them on much smaller but varied treks. Doing so will help to avoid blisters on the trail too.

You are also going to need a few pairs of good quality hiking socks that will help to keep your feet dry. Some hikers wear two pairs at a time to reduce the chance of blisters even more.

Rest Before the Hike

If you are planning on doing a tough hike tomorrow then you should rest today and do not put any training in. Ideally, you will want to rest for two days without training before the hike. This is important as resting is when we give our bodies the time it needs to be ready on the day to crush the trail.

It doesn’t take a lot of preparation to succeed at something and hiking is exactly the same. Your training days are there to strengthen and prepare you. They will give you a better feeling on the day and the confidence to complete the hike.

If you have any extra energy left over at the end, use it to have a little victory dance.

How Often to Train

How often you choose to Train will depend on how strenuous the hike is going to be. Try to aim for a minimum of three times a week for two months for training before the hike.

Have some extra tips to share? Let us hear them in the comments below or share on social media for others to read.

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