Multi-day hikes, also referred to as treks, are one popular form of adventure travel. As I am embarking on such an adventure holiday of my own, I researched how to prepare for success. Physical preparedness is only part of it. This blog post outlines practical suggestions for training and preparation.
Adventure holidays come in many forms. I will be taking part in a G Adventure group travel tour in Peru. This is my first adventure holiday of this sort; 9 days of the 12 will be spent hiking. It sounds a bit daunting don't you think?!
Since this is my first time taking something like this on, I researched the best ways to prepare. So far, the longest I’ve done is a 3-day hike. So nine days is a new bar for me. On the trek I will be on, we do have porters to carry some of the gear and cook, so we are only responsible for our day packs, which is a relief for me. That is definitely one of the bonuses of joining an organized adventure tour.
Regardless if it’s 3 days, 9 days or somewhere in between, training is critical for success. Based on my research, here are preparation suggestions:
Start off small – start off with walks around your neighbourhood, gradually increasing the distance. Add in hills.
Start hiking on the weekends to build up your endurance.
Try to train on similar terrain. If you’re in the same boat as I (it’s flat as a pancake around Winnipeg), then train in the gym using high incline on the treadmill or the stairs machine.
Speaking of the gym, you want to include resistance training. This will boost your muscular endurance and encourage the growth of skeletal muscles. Don’t have a gym memberships; then bodyweight train. Push-ups, squats, lunges, crunches, pull ups are some examples.
If you can’t do any multi-day hikes before your longer distance trek, then try to amp up your workout schedule – do hard workouts a few days in a row.
Rest. Ensure one full day of rest every week to allow for physical and mental recovery.
Make sure your shoes/boots are well-broken in, but not so much so that they’re going to fall apart on the trail.
Practice carrying a backpack with weight similar to what you’ll be carrying on the actual hike.
Ensure you know how to utilize your gear. For example, if you’re going to be taking a tent, try building it a few times. You want to feel confident when the time comes.
Learn how to manage your energy with nutrition. Try a variety of energy bars to see which ones you like/which ones give you the biggest boost to keep on keeping on.
Don’t forget to prepare mentally. Attitude is just as important as the physicality. Remember that a long-distance hike is going to have tough personal obstacles to get through – steep inclines, sore feet, hunger, fatigue, tiredness and maybe even boredom. These things can make you want to give up. So mentally train yourself by taking on the things you don’t want to at home, one step at a time. In your workouts, push yourself just a little farther than you want to. Keep practicing and it will payoff in the end.
Hiking is not just about pain and suffering. It does offer an exciting opportunity to get away from it all and immerse yourself in nature. Longer trips allow you to experience it in a way shorter trips just don’t.
If you train and prepare ahead of time, you should only have triumph and happy memories ahead. Long-distance hikes are immensely rewarding. So far the shorter multi-day hikes I’ve done have been incredible, empowering experiences. I have no doubt this longer trek will be too!
Are you a hiker interested in taking it up a notch? Or someone who never saw herself as hiker, but secretly wanting to give it a go. I’d love to help. I’m a professional Travel Advisor who can help match you up with an adventure tour and group that fits your abilities and provide you with the information and tips you need to feel confident you can take on your chosen trail. Or if you prefer, I can create an unforgettable, personalized trip just for you. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and schedule your free 30 minute planning consultation.
Happy trails and happy travels!
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