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Getting in shape for Wonderland Trail


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Home Forums General Forums General Lightweight Backpacking Discussion Getting in shape for Wonderland Trail

Viewing 14 posts - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)
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  • #3771255
    Joey G
    BPL Member

    @joey-green

    So, I plan on doing the Wonderland Trail this year with a buddy of mine. I’ve been building my aerobic endurance with peloton power zone rides and plan to until the trip.

    My main concern is preventing all the aches and pains you get from hiking in your knees, ankles, hips, etc… I currently live in Austin, Tx which is pretty flat. There is one trail that all area backpackers train on which can give you like 1200 ft ele in 2 miles. However, this trail is beyond my aerobic threshold and into anaerobic zone for me. Also, last time I did it, I was wrecked for 2-3 days.

    So, my question is:

    1. I have a lot of flat trails around my house. Would walking long distances on these trails with a weighted pack be better training for me? I could build up to walking 2-3 hours on these a day if I wanted. The benefit of doing this is I’m also still working on aerobic endurance.

    2. Or stick to the peloton and do this 1200 ele trail once a week? Build up my aerobic endurance with the peloton to offset this weekly hike.

    #3771281
    Murali C
    BPL Member

    @mchinnak

    I live in Austin, TX as well. I train on River Place Nature tail – which is 5.5 miles and 1050 feet or so. I train year around on this trail – around 15 times a month with my backpack. A month before my hike, I will do 11 miles (River Place Nature Trail – 5.5 miles and then around the neighborhood which is very hilly – another 5.5 miles and 1100 feet or so) on 3 consecutive days to see how my body reacts. I will do this 2 to 3 times (3 consecutive days that is). This has worked for me well for my monthlong trips every year like JMT, CT, SHR, PCT-Washington, AZT etc With this training, I can start with 20 miles on day 1 of my trips….I am not a young gun – 55 years old. But, it works!

    #3771284
    Joey G
    BPL Member

    @joey-green

    River Place Nature trail is the trail I’m talking about :)

    #3771287
    Murali C
    BPL Member

    @mchinnak

    I think the 2 miles  you are talking about is probably the steepest portion and that is actually 550 feet or so. The entire trail is 5.5 miles and 1050 to 1100 feet based on how GPS is feeling that particular day. Probably out of the 550 feet, 500 of them comes in two steep chunks of 0.08 mile and 0.12 miles where there are lots of steps. Yeah – it is painful. But, it is all training. Since I do this trail like 15 times in a month, I don’t suffer that much anymore. Just keep training and it will get easier. The first time will be difficult. But, as you do it more, it will become much easier.

    #3771289
    Ron Bell
    BPL Member

    @mountainlaureldesigns

    Locale: USA

    When the weather was really too bad for mountian training runs we used to run up and around and up 5 story parking garage ramps and take stairs down. Repeat. It’s got all the parts!  Soul crushing boredom + hard + people think your nuts.

     

     

    #3771296
    W I S N E R !
    BPL Member

    @xnomanx

    I think this is an excellent, basic template to add to/scale to your needs accordingly.

    https://www.adventurealan.com/train-for-hiking-backpacking/

     

    #3771303
    Nick Gatel
    BPL Member

    @ngatel

    Locale: Southern California

    So, I plan on doing the Wonderland Trail this year with a buddy of mine. I’ve been building my aerobic endurance with peloton power zone rides and plan to until the trip.

    What kind of elevation gains will you be hiking on the Wonderland Trail? Training should be done under similar conditions with the same load you will be carrying in your pack. As mentioned, steps in a parking garage or football stadium can help, or those stair-stepper machines in a gym.

    #3771350
    David Hartley
    BPL Member

    @dhartley

    Locale: Western NY

    This has been a long term challenge for me as well – no good long climbs closer than an hour drive from my house. I always did plenty of aerobic training and aerobic conditioning has never been an issue for me on backpacking trips – even at elevation (as long as properly acclimated). What has been a problem though is the long climbs and long descents – the climbs just destroy my quads and the descents my knees. Until last year – I made a conscious effort to train on stairs with a loaded pack early in the year and it made a huge difference. I was motoring up and down hills without stopping for breaks like I had in the past.

    I would strongly recommend loading up a pack and heading to your park with hills once a week and adding another day of climbing stairs.

    #3771353
    Jacob
    BPL Member

    @jakeyjohn1

    Stick to the peloton and add in step-ups. Find a bench or something flat and 18″ tall, wear your pack, and step up alternating feet each step (right up left up, right down left down, left up right up, left down right down). 1000ft elevation gain is about 335 steps per leg. You can work up to higher and higher volumes of steps and increase intensity by adjusting weight in your pack and your pace.

    Also be sure you’re ‘heel striking’ on the peloton as to stretch your calf and ankle (ala walking uphill), an awesome benefit to bike training beyond the zero impact.

    My 2 cents, hyoh!

    #3771358
    DWR D
    BPL Member

    @dwr-2

    Build your heart and lung capacity on the Peloton… gradually push the incline and speed. Build your legs on stairs… lots of stairs. If there is some way you can spend a few days or a week at altitude before the Wonder Land, that would help.

    I have done the Wonderland twice… if I recall correctly, the total is about 26,000 feet of gain, and loss for the complete circumnavigation.

    I live at 6,000 feet. My training hike is a 3,000 ft gain from 6,000 to 9,000 and round trip of about 12 miles. I had no problem with the Wonderland. But was tired at the end.

    The number of days you will take will make a difference. More miles per day will be harder. Some people actually plan for a zero day or two along the way.

    #3771359
    DWR D
    BPL Member

    @dwr-2

    Oh… and at least the last month or 6 weeks… do the peloton and hikes and stairs with a full pack…

    #3771360
    Joey G
    BPL Member

    @joey-green

    Thanks everyone for your advice! Good stuff here.

    #3771367
    DWR D
    BPL Member

    @dwr-2

    You do know that the Wonderland Trail is a very hard permit to get, right?

    Not too early to start educating yourself on the permit process… last time I checked it was basically a lottery… with by far most people not getting a permit…

    #3771379
    Joey G
    BPL Member

    @joey-green

    You can always make a plan for the WT without the lottery if you act early enough after the MRNP permits open up. You just have to be willing to change things up. My friend got permits for a route last year the day after permits opened up. Yes, there is a lottery, but there is always Mt. Rainier National Park permits that you can grab to make up your own WT route. I use to live in Washington and have experience with getting permits for the area.

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