Right now, our schedules are filled with weddings, bridal showers, family parties, and more. That makes consistent hiking a challenge. We have some big hikes planned for this summer but when we sometimes go three weeks in-between large hikes, it means I have had to add some "training" in during the week.
I started researching and found that almost everything I read mentioned the dreaded words "stair climber" and I saw the quote "cardio is king" more times than I want to admit. I knew these two things would be essential to staying fit for the longer and more challenging hikes we have planned (if we aren't hiking during the week) but I just did not want to admit it.
I also found several articles pointing to cross training and specifically talking about yoga as a great way to increase strength and flexibility as you prepare for the trail. This was far more exciting to me than the mention of the stair climber because yoga is something I actually enjoy and have been trying to do more consistently.
On twitter, people saw it one of two ways: you hike just to hike and don't worry about training or you train and train and train but everyone mentioned getting miles in on the trail as much as possible.
So, what is my plan? Ideally to be doing a total of 15 -20 miles of hiking during the week (such as three to four 5 mile hikes spread out through the week) plus yoga 3 to 5 times a week but even that is not doable for me every week because hiking takes time, I have other obligations in my life, and sometimes the weather wont permit it (like todays howling winds and high temperatures.) On the days I would normally hit a 5 mile loop but can't because of time or weather I plan on going to the gym instead and either taking a spin class or hitting the stair master. This is my plan for now, based on what I know I can commit to and what I have read but it will probably change as I figure out what really works best for me.
What got me to this plan? Reading through the following resources I have listed for you and using what I know about my own abilities and what I enjoy doing.
The Workout: Hike Farther, Hike Stronger
Training for the John Muir Trail from SoCal Hiker
Conditioning for Backpacking from REI
Get in Shape for Your Next Backpacking Trip
How to Training and Conditioning for Backpacking from Outdorky
What do you do to stay fit and ready for the trail? Share it in the comments!
Disclaimer: I am not an expert. Any thing I write about on here is based on personal experience and opinion, not expert advice. Before attempting any fitness routine, outdoor adventure, or activity mentioned here be sure to consult experts and doctors.