How and where do you train for the trail?
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John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
How and where do you train for the trail? on 01/16/2010 12:21:36 MST Print View

I live in a suburbian setting. I use a combination of elliptical training and long walks with my loaded pack.

Yes, I get many stares and comments during these walks. I've been told which way the mountains were and I've been offered rides to wherever it was that I was going to. :-)

I am sure that at one time or another I was considered to be a homeless person while seen walking with my loaded pack alongside the local thoroughfare.

I once tried walking the cart paths of a local golf course simply to enjoy the setting that was at least minimally similar to what I see on the trail. Almost everyone on the golf course that I had occasion to talk to seemed supportive and some even knew and understood what I was trying to accomplish. The question was asked of me, "Getting ready for a trek, huh"? I thought I had found a solution. I practiced good "golf/hiking" etiquette. If I approached someone attempting a shot I would wait quietly and proceed when their group was done. If I can share a trail with horses or mountain bikers I can certainly share a cart path with golfers. :-)

Remember I said almost everyone! Once as I was walking on the cart path and almost off of the course completely I heard someone yell "fore". As I looked over my shoulder I saw a ball bounding past me. The next thing I heard was, "Hey you don't belong here anyway". He was technically correct. I turned and gave him a friendly non-antagonistic wave goodbye and exited the course never to return.

In his defense I believe his comment was due to his nervousness about almost "beaning" me with his errant shot. Realizing that there are other golfers like him out there I have decided to walk somewhere else rather than invest in a hardhat. :-)

Humorous warning sign at Hemlock Hollow Inn

In these days of gated communities how, when and where does a hiker who lives in suburbia get his training in? Please share your ideas, practices and humorous stories of your training "escapades" with us.

Party On ! 2010

Newton

Andy Berner
(Berner9) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: How and where do you train for the trail? on 01/16/2010 12:33:02 MST Print View

I get a lot of walking in at work. I wouldn't be surprised if I walk 4-7 miles a day depending on the day.

I also have a couple of trail systems that I can walk. Which I normally hit up once or twice a week. No issues with other walkers, joggers, bikers, cross country skiers.

I need to start walking longer times though. I want to be able to do 25-30+ miles back to back for up to a week.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
training on 01/16/2010 13:42:46 MST Print View

Lots of us get some routine training in by walking or jogging in our neighborhood. However, you really want to get more out of it than that. Find a nice hilly trail, and carry a daypack with ballast. Start with light ballast at first, and then work you way up. For ballast weight, I recommend that you use filled one-gallon water jugs. If you get halfway out and have a problem, you can simply empty the jugs to head home. You can use an ultralight pack for this, but you might put some stress on the shoulder strap stitching.
--B.G.--

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
My Pain and Punishment on 01/16/2010 13:47:25 MST Print View

Nearly daily elliptical and a 30+ mile dayhike about once a month up on the AT. I also do a trip in the sierras about once a month year round (backpacking/snowshoeing) so I stay in pretty good shape for my long summer hikes.

John Whynot
(jdw01776)

Locale: Southeast Texas
Re: How and where do you train for the trail? on 01/16/2010 14:49:27 MST Print View

I've done the walk/run through the subdivision, but I've switched my workout to the gym -- treadmill, elliptical, and bike. I'm also doing other exercises -- lunges, hip flexors, crunches, calf raises, and leg presses. I'll also do some day hikes (with pack) at the nearest state park.

It is fun to walk around the subdivision with a backpack on -- most folks ask if you're training for a trip...

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Re: How and where do you train for the trail? on 01/16/2010 14:52:06 MST Print View

I usually stay close to home. There's a couple mountains really close too, but there's not much to see since the fires burned it a couple years ago.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"How and where do you train for the trail?" on 01/16/2010 15:11:46 MST Print View

I typically train for the trail on the trail. Backpacking is usually a welcomed retreat and nice break for my body when I get enough time to take a trip. I run at least 5 days a week on trails around where I live, doing hill runs and long runs on the weekend. I've also incorporated strength training and core work at the gym 3x a week, but most my lower body work is done on the trail outdoors. My pack isn't heavy anymore so the weight isn't an issue over 3 days. As far as doing a truly extended hike (over 100 miles), haven't ventured there yet.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Step Mill on 01/16/2010 18:17:46 MST Print View

If you can find a gym with a Step Mill, give it a try. It's like a mini escalator canted at ~45 degrees, and you can vary the pace from ~ 1 mph on up to faster than most people can handle. The advantage it has over any other cardio machine I have ever used is that you actually have one foot off the ground at all times, just like hiking. With all the others, both feet are in contact with the foot pads all the time. In addition, one of the parameters you set up is weight. It can be just body weight or body weight + pack. An hour on this baby with a 25# pack at a fast walk is the next best thing to getting out in the hills, IMO.

John Whynot
(jdw01776)

Locale: Southeast Texas
Re: Step Mill on 01/16/2010 18:27:46 MST Print View

The gym I go to has those -- I'll have to try it. It looks like it would be similar to running bleachers, without having to change directions...

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: My Pain and Punishment on 01/16/2010 18:49:48 MST Print View

Greg,

I admire your discipline regarding your "pain and punishment".

Two questions come to mind. With the activity level you describe are you retired or independently wealthy? :-) Secondly with the amount of time you spend on the trail are you single or married? I would guess single. :-)

You may take the 5th. :-)

Party On ! 2010

Newton

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Step Mill on 01/16/2010 18:54:10 MST Print View

"I'll have to try it. It looks like it would be similar to running bleachers, without having to change directions..."

I think you've got the picture. :)

David W.
(Davidpcvsamoa) - MLife

Locale: East Bay, CA
Training on 01/17/2010 14:57:09 MST Print View

I lift weights 5 days a week on average. This is mostly a carry over from my passion for lifting before I began backpacking. Since discovering backpacking, I treat weightlifting more as training for the trail. However, I know to improve my trail fitness, I should drop about 20 lbs off of my upper-body. I need to change my lifting routine to more of a Crossfit model and less of a bodybuilding regimen.

I go to Yoga classes, bicycle to work on occasion, snowshoe and and of course hike, to balance my fitness. I dont especially like the cardio equipment in gyms. I already spend enough time in the gym and I live in place where you can do things outdoors year-round.

My plans is to hike the JMT this Summer and need to get in better shape to do consecutive 20+ miles per day. I plan to add running hills and some time on a stair stepper to my routine.

I am interested to see what other people are doing to train. After reading a number of trip reports I know there plenty people of all ages who are physical specimens. I am amazing with general fitness level of the BPL forum.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Training on 01/17/2010 17:04:05 MST Print View

I went for a hike this weekend with a lady who does the elliptical machine for an hour every day. I don't even know what an elliptical machine is, however if her experience means anything, it isn't much help for hiking.

I have called taking long walks in the city "urban hiking." This makes it sound more adventurous. I seek out places in town that have steep hills. The only thing missing is the uneven surface of a trail.

I've also done the bleachers. I just go use real bleachers at the community college.

I have often gone and done all my errands on foot to get exercise. Laundry, grocery shopping, or just picking up a few things at the drug store are opportunities for a little urban hiking. The farmers market is an excellent urban hike. Hauling home heavy produce is excellent exercise.

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: Re: Training on 01/17/2010 17:35:03 MST Print View

> I don't even know what an elliptical machine is, however if her experience means anything, it isn't much help for hiking.

Depends a lot on how she uses the elliptical machine. If she just loafs along on it all the time, then I can see what you are saying.

OTOH, if she does an appropriate mixture of workouts (aerobic, anaerobic threshold, intervals, etc) on it, then the machine should be quite a help.

As with most gym-based exercise regimes, using it most effectively takes enough intellectual effort to figure out how to (or assistance from someone who does know) and then discipline and physical effort to make it happen.

-- Bob

Brian Turner
(Phreak) - F
training on 01/17/2010 18:19:57 MST Print View

I trail run 11-18 miles a day (6 days per week) at Kennesaw Mtn here in Atlanta. Throw in as many day hikes and backpacking trips as the schedule permits.

Ethan Kunard
(ekunard) - F
Step Mill on 01/17/2010 19:55:09 MST Print View

Here in Kansas, the terrain is a little on the flat side. The campus rec has a couple of the "step mill" machines. They are the closest thing to simulating uphill hiking that I have access to.

Edited by ekunard on 01/17/2010 19:56:30 MST.

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: Eliptical Machine ? Gym Training ?? on 01/17/2010 19:55:24 MST Print View

I suppose if that's all you have then gym training is better than nothing.

But trail running and hiking with a pack require conditioning of all the stabilizer type muscles, not just aerobics on a tread mill.

How well do these machines handle this type of conditioning?

I never go to gyms. outdoor trail training only 5 minutes from my house. Would rather drive 45 minutes to the PCT than go to the gym.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Eliptical Machine ? Gym Training ?? on 01/17/2010 20:49:23 MST Print View

"How well do these machines handle this type of conditioning?"

They don't, Art, but they're better than nothing. That said, there is no substitute for on or off trail hiking, for many reasons, including what you mention.

"Would rather drive 45 minutes to the PCT than go to the gym."

It's a bit more than 45 minutes to the PCT from Kansas. ;}

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
John..... on 01/25/2010 14:38:19 MST Print View

Two questions come to mind. With the activity level you describe are you retired or independently wealthy? :-) Secondly with the amount of time you spend on the trail are you single or married? I would guess single. :-)


Married, with a VERY understanding wife. I am very fortunate to have a job that takes me to the CA at least once a month so the Sierras have become my playground.