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#119886 - 08/25/09 10:45 PM Training for Backpacking trip
Steven Offline
member

Registered: 08/25/09
Posts: 24
Loc: United States
Good evening, This is my first day and my first post, so please be gentle. smile

I am one of those newbie backpackers. I am not new to camping, but I have always car camped at one level or another.

I am also a person that understands training for a goal. I set a goal in March to run a marathon. I am training now for the marathon that I plan to run in November here in downtown Atlanta Georgia. Once I have completed that goal, I have decided my next goal will be a hike from Tennessee / Georgia State line back to Springer Mountain along the AT.

So I would like some advice on planning for such a hike. Training hike lengths, how much weight to carry while training and such.

I figured I could dig around the site for equipment suggestions, but I reserve the right to ask about equipment later. smile

Thanks
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Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation. It is better to be alone than in bad company.
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#119901 - 08/26/09 01:24 PM Re: Training for Backpacking trip [Re: Steven]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
When training for a marathon, you run. When training for a hike, you hike. Find a cheap pack. Put about 20 lbs in it. Walk for an hour.
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#119910 - 08/26/09 03:07 PM Re: Training for Backpacking trip [Re: Steven]
Trailrunner Offline
member

Registered: 01/05/02
Posts: 1835
Loc: Los Angeles
I've been doing marathons and many other types of races for quite some time. Any type of training is good for backpacking but the absolute best is......backpacking. Nothing else can simulate it.

Go out and hike with a backpack on. Preferably the exact same pack at the same weight you'll do your long hike with. Get your equipment dialed in early. You don't need to do this every day. But the weight of a full pack on your feet should not be something new to you when you start your long hike.

You asked for a recommendation on training hike length. A good answer to that is impossible without knowing your fitness level, age, how much weight you will carry, the terrain, etc. etc. Yes you said you were training for a marathon but some people do them in 3 hours while some people run them in 6 hours. Big difference.

Specific questions will get you more specific answers.
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#119922 - 08/26/09 04:48 PM Re: Training for Backpacking trip [Re: Trailrunner]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
I'm in the 24 hour range with that marathon thingy. laugh
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#119930 - 08/26/09 05:52 PM Re: Training for Backpacking trip [Re: Steven]
MattnID Offline
member

Registered: 06/02/07
Posts: 317
Loc: Idaho
Welp, like has already been said, hike. Find a nice long hill and just walk it with a pack. Find a decent trail or just walk around the neighborhood every morning. However, I tend to think along the lines of that's just going to get me "good enough."

So for me, and this is my own opinion based on my own experience, I do weights and biking.

Not just legs but really all around on the weight lifting aspect. If you're body is well balanced, you're going to do everything a lot more efficiently I've com to find. So don't just work legs, but work core muscles and shoulders and the like. And nothing ridiculous of course. Keep it heavy but not to the point of you turning purple. I could go into more detail but I'll just keep it quick on that end right now.

And I always throw the biking thing out there. I can't even praise that enough. Since I started doing that on a regular basis over a year ago, I've never had any issues with climbing hills or being sore the next day. Putting it this way, I live at just over 2,500 ft. and that's of course what I workout at, but even when I go up to over 9k feet I still obliterate climbs w/o stoppingor getting tired. It's something I've credited to the bike given it didn't become so easy until I started biking regularly.

I always add those extra things onto the hiking part because it isn't always so easy for someone to go take a few hours to go walk, plus all of it adds to your ability. Just my opinion though.
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In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.-Aristotle

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#119932 - 08/26/09 06:26 PM Re: Training for Backpacking trip [Re: MattnID]
Pika Offline
member

Registered: 12/08/05
Posts: 1814
Loc: Rural Southeast Arizona
I agree wholeheartedly about biking and to a lesser extent about the weights. Given an opportunity, I will hike rather than lift weights; to me weight work is kind of boring.

I have a pretty well fixed regimen that I follow unless I am on a hike. I bike for an hour to nearly two hours 3-5 days per week. I use a heart rate monitor and keep my HR at about 75% of maximum. On these days plus on the days I don't bike, I walk mild hills for 40 to 80 minutes.

I also live about 20 minutes from a 9600' mountain range and I will hike the trails there 1-2 times per week with a 15 lb pack; except during the heat of the summer. I live at about 3400' which helps a small amount with altitude but not as much as when I lived at 7000' in Flagstaff.

I do a set of leg weight exercises, squats, lunges and toe raises, every other day. I also have a set of body core exercises, planks, crunches and push-ups, that I do on the days I don't do weights.

I am at an age where joint problems are more likely than are muscle problems so I warm up some before I start anything and quit if it starts to hurt. The hurting is more common now than when I was in my 60's.

Right now, I am fighting off a case of plantar fasciitis in my right foot and a painfully arthritic joint in my left foot. Too much hard use and I can barely walk so I am easing off a bit in prep for a week in the Sierra; leaving in two days.

Getting old ain't for sissies! frown
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#119946 - 08/26/09 11:16 PM Re: Training for Backpacking trip [Re: Pika]
Steven Offline
member

Registered: 08/25/09
Posts: 24
Loc: United States
Wow, Thanks for all the great advice.

One of the posters suggested I provide more details as to my fitness level. I am 41 and I was in horrible shape in February. Since then I have lost 40 lbs, and I am now running 10 minute miles. My goal is to finish the marathon in 5 hours. Right now I believe that's doable. :-) From a fitness level I feel above average now.

I will have to try the biking thing again. I used to bike all the time. After I put on the weight I couldn't handle it.

From what everyone has suggested I think I have a good place to start. When training for the marathon the rule is not to exceed a 10% rule. Never exceed any distance by more than 10% at any one time. I think I will adapt that rule to not only distance, but also weight. My marathon training I work from a chart that spells out mileage per day over a 16 week period of time. I think I will build something similar for this training and post it here for people's comments.

I am limited on places to go here to practice altitude changes without actually going to the AT or the North Georgia mountains. Maybe I will start with hiking up Stone Mountain's walk up trail. Its about 1.3 miles long rising from about 1100 feet to 1680 feet. Later I will make the drive to the North Georgia mountains.

I am looking forward to more hints.

Thanks
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Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation. It is better to be alone than in bad company.
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#120001 - 08/27/09 09:52 PM Re: Training for Backpacking trip [Re: Steven]
scottyb Offline
member

Registered: 05/28/08
Posts: 278
Loc: Texas Hill Country
I find the bicycle is the best overall for me. I can no longer run due to chronic lower back issues. I like riding outdoors but have learned that spin classes give me a more reliable and controlled workout. I also use a heart rate monitor and have learned to control it. I can get the exact workout that I want, regardles of weather or other factors, every time. I ride 3 - 4 times per week.
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Just because you don't take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you.... Pericles (430 B.C)

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#120007 - 08/28/09 12:07 AM Re: Training for Backpacking trip [Re: Steven]
midnightsun03 Offline
member

Registered: 08/06/03
Posts: 2936
Loc: Alaska
Steven...

Like everyone else has said, absolutely the best way to train for hiking is to hike. If you can't climb hills, climb stairs, but walk as much as you can. I agree about working to core muscles too... I like to use a balance board to work my core plus knees hips and ankles. This past winter my SO and I walked an indoor track for an hour 3-5 times per week, plus used the balance board. When the trails solidified this spring we started hiking a loop close to where I live. The elevation gain is a modest 700 feet, but there are several ups and downs while gaining the elevation. When we started this spring we huffed our way through the shortest version of the loop. Now we go out for 2 hours at a time taking the logest series of trails we can and barely feel like we've exercised at all. Going back to the track this winter will require us to add weights if we want to maintain the level of fitness we've gained this summer. We're considering a trek up Kilimanjaro, but that might have to be put off a couple more years if we don't do it in 2010.

MNS

P.S. Congratulations on the 40 lb weight loss... that is great for you!!!!
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#123239 - 11/01/09 12:01 PM Re: Training for Backpacking trip [Re: midnightsun03]
oBUSo Offline
newbie

Registered: 11/01/09
Posts: 1
Loc: Space Coast, Florida

First post here.

I hope I am not out of line saying that I echo the posts suggesting that the best way I train is to actually hike. That being said I do not have a whole lot of hiking experience. But, I do surf a lot. I have always found the best way to get back in shape for surfing ( say after a long summer small wave spell on the Florida coast) is to actually get out and paddle that surfboard. Use and condition the muscles you will be suing in the way that you will be using them.

I plan on doing my first 2 -3 day trip in the Blue Ridge Mountains ( Pisgah Forest area) next summer. Being in Florida, there isnt a whole lot of elevation to train on. Luckily we have large causeways over the Intracoastal Waterway that somewhat mimic foothills. I also have access to the stairs in the VAB (Vehicle Assembly Building- 500 or so feet tall) at the Kennedy Space Center. Hopefully I can take a full pack up there with out much security hassle smile

Go a bit further each time. Maybe even consider something similar to the runners Couch to 5K program but adapt that to hiking.



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