Sep 13, 2010 at 8:26 pm #1263268
@babymattyLocale: Western/Central PA, Adirondacks
In order to boost my stamina, I have been loading up a pack with weights, and hiking my local trail with it. Sometimes I'll even bring it to the gym and go on the stairmaster with it. I get some strange looks, believe me.
I discovered that the Osprey Argon 70 I got a couple years ago before I'd ever heard of UL, now has a great use – I load it with iron and haul loads way heavier than I'd ever carry on a trip, in order to build my endurance (as well as tolerance for discomfort). When I started doing this in April, I was using 45 lbs for my four-mile trail (two miles out and back). By July I had the weight up to 80 lbs! I use considerably less while on the stairmaster, however <20Sep 13, 2010 at 8:38 pm #1645379
For training for my Colorado trail thru hike (rather high altitude) while living at sea level, I loaded up a backpack to 30 lbs and walked on the treadmill in the gym here. I did about 60 – 90 minutes about 4 – 5 times a week.
In 60 minutes, I would do about 2000 ft of elevation gain by setting the treadmill to the maximum slope (15%) and the pace to something around 2.6 miles per hour.. I found this REALLY strenuous but kept at it. In 90 mins, I'd do 3000 ft of elevation gain.
My legs grew in size in a month of such training and I had great endurance on the trip. Very glad I did it..
BUT : I got plantar fasciitis ('heel spur') foot pain right at the start of the trip by doing this. I feared I'd have to stop the 30 day trip after day 2 but taping techniques, ibuprofen and freezing the foot in mountain streams and a couple of rest days allowed me to finish the hike!
Please stretch before doing anything strenuous at the gym! It's repetitive and unnatural and you can easily injure yourself. Best if you can cross train and do a variety of things instead of just the treadmill or stairmaster like I did.Sep 13, 2010 at 9:05 pm #1645387
My training routine is pretty simple – take a long walk in the rain, try to hitch a ride, and then go home and sleep on my sleeping pad on the floor. That's pretty much backpacking… right. ;-)Sep 13, 2010 at 9:36 pm #1645395
Ken T.BPL Member
Walk my dog. A few miles every day, day after day after day. With a pack sometimes too. Plus my day jobs are somewhat physical.Sep 14, 2010 at 7:14 am #1645440
Michael LBPL Member
By taking walks with my son. He is nearing 19 lbs now, so that is a decent sized pack to carry around!Sep 14, 2010 at 7:36 am #1645447
Chris WBPL Member
My weekly activities include runs, mountain biking, stretching and/or yoga, and resistance work so I don't feel the need to train for backpacking.Sep 14, 2010 at 8:40 am #1645465
JASON CUZZETTOBPL Member
@cuzzettjLocale: NorCal - South Bay
I walk and walk and walk and walk… 4-5 miles a day and 10+ at least once a week. I am a flatlander so I need to train a little bit.Sep 14, 2010 at 11:05 am #1645510
When I have a major trip coming up – like New Hampshire or the Grand Canyon – I do feel the need to train. The tallest "mountains" around here are about 1000' bottom to top, so on weekend hikes I go up one side, down the other, and then back over again. When I'm in my 4th floor office, a few times a day I walk down the fire stairs, then run back up, and repeat. When work takes me out in the field I find opportunities to walk some fairly short but brutal hills – in jeans and safety toe boots.Sep 14, 2010 at 11:08 am #1645511
@erdferkelLocale: S. California
I train for hiking by hiking. Sometimes with weight, mostly not. There's really no substitute for the variation in angles, terrain etc. that improve your balance and uses those weird muscles that aren't exercised normally. And as longhiker pointed out, you can do yourself a repetitive stress injury if you overdo it on machines…Sep 14, 2010 at 11:30 am #1645515
Ben 2 WorldBPL Member
@ben2worldLocale: So Cal
Training? No. I just do two things: stretching exercise and practice hikes (day hikes) on a local trail. These suffice for my typical 12-15 mile per day hikes.Sep 14, 2010 at 11:35 am #1645517
Jay WilkersonBPL Member
@creachenLocale: East Bay
I just got back from a big hike so I am letting my body rest for now. But leading up to a big hike I will hike about 2 days a week from 2 to 4 hours with a pack on at about 25-30 lbs. In addition I swim 2-3 days a week for about 30 minutes–The older I get the more I really enjoy swimming.(No pressure points at all on this old body) I also feel that no one can never stretch enough or do Yoga. I have had back issues in the past so I have really concentrated on CORE body strength and I feel it has really paid off for me…
Hiking, swimming, stretching and Core body strength is all I ever do any more—No more weight training for this old rugby player.
2 cents worthSep 14, 2010 at 12:02 pm #1645522
@kieranLocale: Seattle, WA
Yep, I train. And I overload the pack like you describe. But instead of iron, I use water in platy bottles. Why? Because the water packs a little better (conforms better) so it's more like a heavy backpack load. Also because if for some reason I run into trouble on the training hike I can dump water without consequence. Also because it simulates one of my fave annual hikes – along a 5400' high ridge for 20 miles with no water supplies, so all water has to be brought along.Sep 14, 2010 at 12:35 pm #1645527
I dont think hiking requires training, especially when your hauling super light loads like the people on this site. I see lots of hefty people on the trail. Hiking is not strenuous in my opinion, it can be at times, but other times it can be very easy. So i dont think you need training to be good at it, however, you should train just to train, for your health. I seem to do the same miles regardless of how good of shape im in. I dont like doing 20 miles a day, i like exploring, if i hear a waterfall but cant see it, i like to bushwhack til i get a view. Otherwise i would miss everything.
I think hiking is more about conditioning. Conditioning the skin of your feet to be tough, your hip bones to absorb shock, your body to take to extreme temperatures more easily.Sep 14, 2010 at 12:38 pm #1645528
@babymattyLocale: Western/Central PA, Adirondacks
Kieran – I like the idea of using water as your weight. I should upload a picture of my ridiculous setup. Basically, I stuff a bunch of things into my pack to take up volume – my old 3-man tent, compression sacks full of clothes, old synth sleeping bag etc (that Argon really does swallow EVERYTHING you try to put in it). Then, I wrapped iron weights in blankets and tried to position them along the back panel of the pack. They always inevitably shifted to the bottom of the pack.
I will definitely try out the Platy method!Sep 15, 2010 at 6:10 pm #1645959
Last year I trained for the Grand Canyon by walking on a treadmill at 15% with a pack filled with 30 pounds of sugar. This served me well for the climb out but I struggled on the way down. This year I've done more downhill training by hiking up and down a local ski hill with a 50 pound pack. I'll know in a month how prepared I am as I'm going down the New Hance Trail and coming out the Grandview Trail.Sep 15, 2010 at 6:30 pm #1645967
Nick GatelBPL Member
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
I have found that the best training for hiking is hiking. Luckily I can get to a trail within minutes of my house.
Everything else just does not do it. Distance running helps for building your wind and endurance (aerobic).Sep 15, 2010 at 6:43 pm #1645971
W I S N E R !BPL Member
I've found that trail running always does it for me.
If I have a bigger trip coming, I'll find a running route with a similar mileage/elevation profile to my anticipated daily backpacking distance/elevation and run it regularly.
I.E. Running from a local trailhead to the summit of Mt. Wilson and back is very close to the daily mileage/elevation of hiking the Grand Canyon rim-river-rim in a day. In addition to short/medium runs throughout the week, I'll make sure to do this bigger run 3-5 times in the three and a half weeks before I go.
When I did the C2C loop with Nick Gatel (Hey Nick!) earlier this year, I did the same…made sure to get in plenty of runs that were at least ~80% of the mileage/elevation of our biggest days hiking.
I think the higher intensity of running balances (if not exceeds) the added weight of a pack.
Fortunately I live 1 mile from the Angeles National Forest…steep, long loops abound.Sep 15, 2010 at 6:55 pm #1645976
Sarah KirkconnellBPL Member
@sarbarLocale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Michael, I do the same training as well ;-) Mine is 17 1/2 lbs of love.Sep 15, 2010 at 7:19 pm #1645988
A poster above is right.. after the month of 90 min almost-daily sessions on a 15% incline, climbing 3000 ft with my heartrate at 160, I still felt like a virgin on the downhill segments of my Colorado Trail hike. Didn't even realize I had certain muscles and tendons until I had to go downhill for a while..
Plantar fascitiis on the uphill, shin splints on the downhill!Sep 16, 2010 at 8:05 am #1646097
@lehrscott4Locale: Louisville - KY
—-Sep 16, 2010 at 8:13 am #1646098
Michael LBPL Member
Sarah, they just keep getting to be a better workout!
Can't wait till he can hike too!Sep 16, 2010 at 11:17 am #1646155
Strengthening my core has made a big difference in my downhill hiking with a pack. I'm glad because I'd have hated to have wasted all those crunches.Sep 20, 2010 at 6:16 pm #1647347
George MatthewsBPL Member
Over the past six years I noticed that I'd tend to get in good shape after a couple of days of backpacking. However, if I went more than a couple of weeks without backpacking, then I'd get weaker with regards to backpacking.
During the week, Monday to Friday, I walk almost everyday. Also, I try to go up flights of steps throughout the day instead of taking an elevator. But I don't carry any load on my back.
This Spring I began carrying a +20 lb 'pack' on at least one weekend day when I could not go backpacking. Sometimes both Saturday and Sunday. I walk to a local college that is hilly and has a lot of steps. My round trip is about two hours.
For me, this has made a noticeable improvement when I do backpack. I've come to the conclusion that to 'train' for backpacking, you must carry a load on your back and ascend and descend during your walks. We are all so different. This won't work for everyone, and possibly no one other than me.
I call my 'training' pack the American Scream. I bought two Walmart 10 lb dumbells ($12). I cut up an old book bag type pack and using Gorilla tape, I attached an old piece of a Ridgerest pad. I also have a couple of straps wrapped around the whole pack. Basically, it is a harness with a padded load. It is comfortable enough to use for a couple of hours, and was very cheap. My Version 1 needed more padding around the weights.
Works just about right
Needed more paddingSep 20, 2010 at 6:46 pm #1647357
Eugene SmithBPL Member
@eugeneiusLocale: Nuevo Mexico
Nice salt deposits on the American Scream shoulder straps, looks like they've seen some work.Sep 21, 2010 at 4:45 pm #1647697
George MatthewsBPL Member
>> Nice salt deposits
This 'training' has inadvertently increase my average hiking speed, too.
I'm sure people I pass are wondering whudahell did they just see: does that old geezer have a fever or is he sweating bullets because he is a suicide bomber or something : )
"No rest for the wicked"
– Coach Isaiah
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