Crafting a Training Plan for a Thru Hike
The data shows most who complete a thru hike for the first time did not have extensive training prior to the attempt (curiosity of The Trek website under FAQs). It is true you can have little hiking experience coupled with limited training and still make it all the way through. There is a level or risk involved with this strategy. To lower the level of risk, I developed a comprehensive (I hope so) training plan to ensure my body plus mind can meet the physical/mental demands of this adventure.
I will be 44 at the particular end associated with next month and have had varying levels of fitness over a lifetime. We played sports in middle school plus high school, stayed in shape during the military, and dabbled in cross fit, triathlons, plus long distance cycling. Using all these experiences and the insight of knowing my own body (definitely important to listen to it), I actually crafted the weekly coaching plan to include nutritional aspects. Quick disclaimer though : I do not have certifications inside fitness, nutrition, nor am I a medical competent authority. The majority of my knowledge is from reading and trial plus error.
The Thought on Training and Correlation in order to Resilience
We view physical fitness and training for an event as a checking account. Imagine your body is the checking account and every workout you perform is deposited into that account. This builds up a fitness balance which you may then withdraw as you compete or perform. If a person do not have a balance in your accounts, well then your body laughs at you and the check bounces so to speak. I actually experienced this particular first hand going through training at 100ft elevation to over 6000ft elevation. My checking account was not really ready for that withdrawal.
Consistently working out will also help with resilience. When the body starts to experience fatigue in regards to performance the mind will either push through, or decide today ain’t the day. When in this spot, you can counter this thinking by reminding yourself how many workouts you’ve made it through in order to this point plus push further. The mind will quit way before the entire body will. So to help prepare mentally for the tough task, training (for me) is a key component.
What to Train and How
I looked at what muscle groups and types of workouts will pay the most dividends with regard to hiking consistently. Strong legs, back and shoulders, along with a sustained level of exertion for hours in a time. I focused on three tenants to improve my overall hiking stamina and physique: Muscular strength endurance, cardiorespiratory endurance, and joint/ligament stability.
Can this be achieved by just hiking? I am sure it can, however I figured I will certainly be “just hiking” regarding 5-6 months. I wanted to have a plan that didn’t have me dreading a workout or mentally drained before I even started the actual conquest.
Whenever training there is always a line between intensity and insanity . An intense workout is beneficial in many ways, however lack of intensity can be detrimental. On the flip side an overly intense workout to the point of insanity may more likely than not cause injury and require time to heal. Finding the “Goldilocks Zone” between those two aspects will be key.
I am a huge proponent intended for High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts because of this particular concept; those forms of exercises can really skirt the line among the strength and madness. Not too mention intensity is in the name too! There is the veritable gold mine associated with fitness articles describing the particular benefits of HIIT from weight loss to VO2 Max and sustained health.
Another important aspect of training is usually recovery. A simple rest day or a lower intensity day (particularly after a toughening day) can do wonders for the body. Sprinkling in stretching and flexibility throughout a training program pays dividends with joint balance and prevention of injuries.
With all the previous aspects mentioned, We crafted the 7x day time training plan that looks like this:
Example key___Day #: First exercises are performed in the morning (mileage, minutes, or Targeted Heart Rate); second workout is performed in the afternoon or even evening
- Day 1: Hike (5-7mi) or cycle (20-25mi) additional option spin class; second workout weightlifting back exercises
- Day 2: Recovery cardio (60min) possibly elliptical or light spinning (126-148BPM along with 30min 140-148BPM); 2nd workout weight training shoulder workouts
- Day 3: Weightlifting focus leg exercises with stair master while wearing pack as a finisher; only one workout on this day
- Day 4: Walk (6-9mi)
- Day time 5: HIIT cardio exercise (examples are Cindy, Ivan the Terrible, Helen, etc/148+BPM); second workout weightlifting concentrate arm workouts
- Day 6: Hike (7-10mi) or period (25-30mi) extra option skiing!!
- Day 7: Recovery walk (2-4mi, THR 126-148BPM)
This strategy allows for some flexibility in order to switch up days plus workouts depending on how my figure feels and weather conditions. Here is an example associated with one of the weightlifting focus workout routines:
- Start the particular workout by walking reverse on a treadmill for 5-7min (this does wonders to get knee pain and joint stability)
- Next move to the leg extension machine. Pick a weight that you can hold extended pertaining to 30sec. Rest 1min, then repeat 3x more times (this strengthens the joints and ligaments around the particular knees)
- Squats or leg press: 8-10reps for 4x sets
- Lying leg curl: 8-10reps meant for 4x units
- Weighted step ups (using dumbells) or even walking lunges with barbell (15 steps per leg)
- Calf raises: 10-12reps designed for 4x models
- Finisher: Stair master with weighted pack (30min 10min stepping up forward, 5min stepping up sideways left leg first, 5min stepping up sideways right leg first, 10min stepping up forward ) or 30min climbing stairs. With the step master 5min intervals I actually pick 2 songs upon my playlist that are usually roughly 5min so I know exactly when to switch vs constantly looking at the time.
Ready to Train!
So there’s my teaching plan I will follow just for at least the next four weeks. After that time frame, I am going to conduct an assessment to make sure I am doing things right and doing the right things. I typically keep logs of data (times, weights lifted, etc) to aid within the evaluation process plus show improvement. Sometimes it’s hard to see enhancement when regularly exercising and not monitoring progression. If anyone has any tips or even tricks please let me personally know. My next post I am going to cover nourishment for the training program which is uber important. Thanks for following along and have a great weekend!
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