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Train Yourself to Hike a 30-Mile Day
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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Train Yourself to Hike a 30-Mile Day on 04/28/2009 19:15:20 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Train Yourself to Hike a 30-Mile Day

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Train Yourself to Hike a 30-Mile Day on 04/28/2009 19:59:48 MDT Print View

1. Get up early.
2. Hike all day.

Joe Kuster
(slacklinejoe) - MLife

Locale: Flatirons
Train Yourself to Hike a 30-Mile Day on 04/28/2009 22:32:22 MDT Print View

Not that I think this article isn't useful, but isn't this a straight copy / paste job from one of the print magazines? Not that I consider it a major offense and I'm sure it's a frequently requested article, but I paid for the magazine once already...

Jonathan Boozer
(anywayoutside) - MLife

Locale: South East
Re: Train Yourself to Hike a 30-Mile Day on 04/28/2009 22:57:57 MDT Print View

Joe, I think the intention here is to begin adding the previously printed material to the site. It does state that is was first printed in the first issue of the print magazine. I don't feel it was meant to be a substitute for new material, but merely publicizing new accessibility to old material.

Then again, I may very well be wrong ;)


Devin Montgomery
(dsmontgomery) - MLife

Locale: one snowball away from big trouble
Re: Train Yourself to Hike a 30-Mile Day on 04/29/2009 06:15:39 MDT Print View

Ummm... Isn't that the same picture as was used in the Underground Doping exposé?

"Train" yourself to hike a 30-mile day: take endurance enhancing drugs :)

Matt Lutz
(citystuckhiker) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: Re: Train Yourself to Hike a 30-Mile Day on 04/29/2009 06:51:23 MDT Print View

@John: it is not that simple, even with a light pack. Physical conditioning, in some form or another, in necessary to long trail days.

On his AT yoyo, Brian Roble did a 100 day nobo and a 75 day sobo - he credits the time drop to being in poor physical condition at the start and in better condition by the time he turned around.

Devin Montgomery
(dsmontgomery) - MLife

Locale: one snowball away from big trouble
Re: Re: Re: Train Yourself to Hike a 30-Mile Day on 04/29/2009 07:15:02 MDT Print View

>@John: it is not that simple, even with a light pack. Physical conditioning, in some form or another, is necessary to long trail days.

It can be that simple, but you'll be hurting by the end of the day. I did it last summer, with some pretty good elevation gain. Staying in the kind of minimal shape that one should, just to be healthy, is pretty good preparation. I wasn't at the time. :(

Edited by dsmontgomery on 04/29/2009 07:30:22 MDT.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Re: Re: Train Yourself to Hike a 30-Mile Day on 04/29/2009 08:39:38 MDT Print View

"It can be that simple, but you'll be hurting by the end of the day."

Definitely. With a light pack and staying on the trail all day, I think most people in reasonable shape could do it without training.
But what's the point of a 30 mile day if it trashes your feet and wipes you out, causing you to do far less mileage the next day?
If you're taking the "get up early and walk all day" approach without training, I think this is likely what will happen.
30 miles in a day, trashed the next...why not just hike consistent back to back 15-20 mile days and spare yourself the pain?

Training (if done right) will give you the experience and ability to manage foot issues (I think many people underestimate their potential for disaster when logging longer miles) and consistently walk for 30 miles/day.

A valuable lesson I've learned distance running; How fast/far you can go in one shot is one thing, but how fast you recover and how often you can do it indicates an entirely different level of fitness.

Edited by xnomanx on 04/29/2009 08:40:51 MDT.

Matt Lutz
(citystuckhiker) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Train Yourself to Hike a 30-Mile Day on 04/29/2009 08:53:50 MDT Print View

@Craig: Well said on recovery. Now that I'm getting into longer hiking days and longer running days, I whole-heartedly agree.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
40 on 04/29/2009 15:07:51 MDT Print View

I agree with the spirit of John's comments, in that I don't think hiking a 30 mile day is all that much of a stretch, or anything that demands special training. One has to consider the audience though. I presume the average BPL reader has dozens of 20 mile days (loaded) under their shoes, but that might be erroneous.

Writing a how to hike a 40 mile day would be a more interesting article, as the get up early and hike all day thing doesn't quite cut it.

Also, where can you hike 30 miles and only gain a couple thousand feet?

I would differ slightly with the article on a few things. If you're going for speed on the flat and especially for speed on the up, high intensity work is useful. We're talking intervals here, folks. Ideally finding a steep trail, warming up, busting up it for a minute (poles are great for full body work) walk slowly back down (say 2 mins), and repeat. That sort of thing. It's painful and not fun, but effective.

The other essential thing for 30+ mile days in my experience has been foot adaptation. My feet get sore before my muscles get tired.

David T
(DaveT) - F
. on 04/29/2009 16:17:31 MDT Print View


Edited by DaveT on 05/17/2015 21:41:26 MDT.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Train Yourself to Hike a 30-Mile Day on 04/30/2009 12:44:23 MDT Print View

A similar program in Washington Trails Magazine:

No way I'll ever get to 30 miles; 10 would be extraordinary for me. Of course I'm a bit older than most of the folk here.

Thomas Trebisky

Locale: Southern Arizona
Training pays off. on 04/30/2009 15:20:25 MDT Print View

I read this article, and my thoughts were "nothing new here, of course you have to train to do things like this". I am not saying this in a negative way though, this is just how it struck me. Earlier in my career, the idea of training for backpacking would have seemed revolutionary, now it seems like a foregone conclusion. And I know plenty of the young bucks just go out and do things relying primarily on the vigor of youth.

An old goat like me has learned that you have got to get in shape, and maybe most importantly stay in shape, and I find that bike commuting and running are activities that can be woven into my day to day lifestyle. Along with some weight training each week, and I am good to go, and less of a weekend warrior.

I have gotten into trail running (and running in general) over the past few years, and have found this immensely beneficial for my hiking and backpacking (and many of my hikes and backpacks tend to turn into trail runs at times).

So I guess what I am saying is that the article didn't provide any revolutionary training methodology (for me anyway, but then my wife is a marathon runner and I was reading a book on triathlon training before bed last night). Look at Ray Jardines book - he has several chapters on training and preparation. Whether your goal is to hike 30 or 40 miles per day (or 20 like me), a training plan will pay off big time.

Edited by trebisky on 04/30/2009 15:27:05 MDT.

Samuel C Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
"Train yourself to hike a 30-mile day" on 04/30/2009 22:37:25 MDT Print View

"You have been invited on a summer backpacking trip that will cover 30 miles in one day, including 2.000 feet of elevation gain and loss, and your anticipated pack weight will be 15-20 pounds. You have 15 weeks to prepare. What is the best way to get your body and mind ready for such an outing?"

Train yourself to hike a 6 mile day, and choose a beautiful 30 miles for the hike, such as a traverse of the Weminuche or Holy Cross Wilderness areas in Colorado. You will enjoy the hike a lot more and will have four more days for your enjoyment.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
Train Yourself to Hike a 30-Mile Day on 04/30/2009 23:17:45 MDT Print View

I don't always think hiking less/slower equates to enjoying a hike "a lot more". The enjoyment factor of hiking and backpacking is most definitely subjective. Given the nature of this forum and its content, that lightness on your feet and back contribute naturally to more enjoyable days on the trail and for many, greater mileage on the trail. From the little time I've spent on this forum, and I have read many trip reports and articles thus far, the physical challenge and ability to hike further, farther, faster seems to lure some people, that is my consensus, maybe I'm off base? But the physical ability to "comfortably" hike 30 miles a day and not be down for 3 days recovering afterward would likely require training and consistency, maybe not 15 weeks worth, but endurance feats definitely require training.

Thomas Trebisky

Locale: Southern Arizona
Suggestions for improvement on 05/01/2009 13:34:57 MDT Print View

I thought about this article some last night, and reread it this morning, and to be honest, this article is one that I would have just flipped past in the print magazine and am disappointed with here. A couple of things are critically missing.

The first is that this article is missing any real connection to backpacking! I would have been much more interested if it started with a discussion of a specific trip prior to the training regime, mentioning how many miles per day were achieved, how the author felt at the end of each day. Then the article could wrap up with a description of another trip where the rewards of this program were reaped, so many days were hiked one after the other, the author found no trouble hiking 30 miles per day for 5 days in a row, covering 150 miles all told and felt great after each 12 hour day. Given all that I would also want to know some things about the author (age and gender) that would tell me how applicable this plan might be to me.

As it stands, the article is a sterile prescription we are being asked to swallow. For all we know, the author just slapped together this program, gathered up a collection of stretching exercises from somewhere and nobody alive has ever tried this program.

Maybe there is a part II coming that includes the human aspect?

A side note on stretching - most runners do not stretch to gain flexibility, but to compensate for the shortening of muscle and connective tissue that takes place as part of a training program. Without stretching, this shortening will often make a person more injury prone. Stretch not to warm up, but when warmed up, preferably after working out.

A second complaint (and others have pointed this out) is the foggy definition of the goal. A backpack trip involving a single day of 30 miles and 2000 feet - I am not sure exactly what this is.

Apart from this ambiguity, there is not much discussion of recovery, which is a vital, perhaps the most important aspect of any training program. If we are training to hike a week of 30 mile days, what in the program addresses the getting up the next day and doing it again, and then again the next day? The training focuses on the goal of doing a single 30 mile day hike as near as I can tell, which hardly applies to anything I plan to do.

Is BPL slipping from its roots in well researched articles full of lots of quantitative data?

Philip Werner
(earlylite) - F - MLife

Locale: New England
Hiking Long Distances with Wet Boot/Shoes on 05/05/2009 05:58:46 MDT Print View

How about an article on walking long distances, day after day, in wet boots/shoes with a focus on foot care and preparation. That would make this academic, he-man article, a little more applicable to actual trail conditions along the northeast.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
WHATTTTT??? on 05/18/2009 22:19:41 MDT Print View

Who in their right mind would hike a 30 mile day, even on the flats?

Good Lord! Where is the perspective in enjoying backpacking and actually SEEING nature, not watching the tread so you don't trip while walking warp speeds?

This entire thread is nuts.

Eric B.

P.S. Yeah, I have XC skied the Canadian Ski Marathon of 100 miles in two days but that was a RACE, not a backpacking trip.

william henderson
(williamhenderson) - F
Those who like it, like it a lot on 05/18/2009 23:12:18 MDT Print View

While I agree with many of the comments about the article itself, I do think that the topic is worth discussing.

There is no doubt that for many here, the idea of multiple 30 mile days is ridiculous. By the same token, for many people, the idea of trying to figure out a way to design a rain jacket that can also serve as a tent seems a bit much... (I'm just sayin'!)

I personally like expedition running, and the pleasure I get from enjoying nature that way is as subjectively valuable to me as slower paced trips. Virtually all of the skills are interchangeable, and the challenges are similar.

Doing one 30 mile day is tough, but I think possible for most people. However, to string a bunch together, especially over hard terrain, takes the same logistical determination, and more physical preparation, as a more "traditional" trip. Foot issues, and recovery play a crucial role, and often make or break the trip.

It's not for everyone, but it is a great way to explore.

Edited by williamhenderson on 05/18/2009 23:20:30 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Hiking Long Distances with Wet Boot/Shoes on 05/18/2009 23:25:36 MDT Print View

Hi Philip

> walking long distances, day after day, in wet boots/shoes with a focus on foot care and preparation
Well, I've done that, for several weeks on end in fact. But 'foot care and preparation' amounted to ... Darn Tough Vermont socks (washed every three days or so), wide joggers of a generous size, and nothing else.

Bit hard to make a whole article out of that!