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Preparing for thru-hike
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Kevin Schneringer
(Slammer) - MLife

Locale: Oklahoma Flat Lands
Preparing for thru-hike on 04/29/2013 07:55:49 MDT Print View

I need advice on uping my mileage.
I am a overnight or 2-3 day out and back guy but am looking at doing a 233 mile thru hike
one way in the fall.
Elevation change is 600-2600 but of course there are lots of ups and downs.
This is the break in trip that I a m hoping will prepare me for the real thru-hikes
I would like to do in the future.

I currently am good for 8-12 miles per day over rough terrain.
What are the best ways to get mileage up to 20-25 miles per day?

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: Preparing for thru-hike on 04/29/2013 08:44:41 MDT Print View for any distance event involves doing the activity with increasing distance and intensity several days a week for about three weeks, then backing off a bit for a week. Then ramp up your intensity again...then back off a bit.

So if you can't take the time to actually go hiking for 5-10-15-20 miles a day for a few days at a time, then just walk and walk and walk and walk, with weight if you can, for as much as you can, as you go about your daily life.

Granted, I've not done a thru hike (yet!), and I'm like you in terms of being an 8-15 mile a day gal. But I've run a ton of marathons, some fast, most slow, and the training principles are the same. Get your feet used to walking that far, day after day after day....

Overall strength training of big muscle groups wouldn't hurt, and running isn't a bad way to work on endurance if you can't actually train by hiking (as an activity it's a pretty good correlate).

Not terribly helpful, but I'm not sure there's a better way to do it.

peter vacco

Locale: no. california
Re: Preparing for thru-hike on 04/29/2013 08:52:12 MDT Print View

not to be coy : but if you did your 233m at a comfortable pace, and then, when you got to the end, rested a day or two and turned around and came back the same way going like a madman, then at the end of that, you'd be good for your 20+ miles a day.

peter v.

Peter Bakwin
(pbakwin) - F
Training on 04/29/2013 09:05:18 MDT Print View

Also, you want to look at which factors are most limiting your daily mileage. Are you walking slowly all day? If that's the case then obviously you need to train to walk faster. If you can't walk all day, or find you need frequent rests, then you need to work mainly on endurance. In analogy with running, you can train both by doing short, faster hikes (or runs) most days, and longer, slower hikes on weekends. There are other possibilities. For example, I am a fit runner with good endurance but weak core strength. I find that carrying a pack all day my back & shoulders get sore. So, if I'm planning a long hike I need to train my upper body & core. I'm also working to get my carried weight down, and have ordered a Zpacks Arc Blast in hopes it will carry better and distribute more weight to my hips. As we say in running "train your weakness, race your strength".

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
Not just about average pace on 04/29/2013 14:34:06 MDT Print View

Doing longer miles per day isn't just about average walking speed; at least as important is hiking "style".

I.e., wake with the sun, and since the OP suggested a hike in the Fall, then wake *before* the sun, eat and pack up in the dark, set foot on the trail as soon as it's light enough to see a couple feet ahead. You particularly want to make the most of all of the daylight hours when daylight is in shorter supply --- not so much an issue in June, more of a factor in early spring or late fall.

Set a truly sustainable pace (really "energy output" as pace varies with trail conditions) and don't take breaks, or at worst take short ones. I think that lunch is a good exception, to rest, eat, perhaps treat water, air out your feet, possibly dry out stuff, plan the second half of the day.

The other piece is just being efficient in camp, but if necessary you can make camp at the end of the day in fading light. In shoulder seasons you've got plenty of dark hours to sleep in.

If you spend most of the daylight hours walking, you don't have to walk particularly fast to do decent mileage, especially in summer.

You do need to be in condition to keep walking all day, however, and of course having a lighter pack helps a lot. Even so, unless you seriously train ahead of time, I suggest that you don't plan on doing 20+ miles the first few days out.

But do the math: if you can average 2 mph and walk for 10 hours in a day (out of 24 total), voila --- 20 miles. That leaves you with 14 hours for breaks, lunch, and in camp in the morning and evening.

Bill Segraves
(sbill9000) - F - M
Re: Training on 04/29/2013 15:18:46 MDT Print View

+1 on Peter's. A focused response and plan of attack
requires identification of your limiters. What keeps you
from going farther with your current preparation?


Bill S