HIKING BASICS

How to Train for a Long-Distance Hike

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Written by Daniele Murillo

With the ongoing pandemic, it’s pretty understandable why there’s an increasing popularity to go on long-distance hiking recently. Both outdoor enthusiasts and novice hikers are engrossed in following different trails where they get to explore nature and discover other species of flora and fauna. If you’re thinking of going for a long-trail hike soon, it’s best that you prepare and train early on to avoid injuries and exhaustion.

You can make the most of your hiking experience when your mind is mentally prepared and your body is fully trained. The goal is to partake in a safe hike that allows you to enjoy it yourself or with your friends and loved ones. To achieve this goal, apply some effective training techniques below.

1. Devise A Nutritional Diet Plan For Long Walks

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An appropriate sports diet will help you perform well in long-distance hikes. Ensure to incorporate the right amount of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fat into your diet plan. You can click here to find some helpful information on beef jerkies or search for other sources of protein for your muscles, such as protein shakes and powders, healthy organic bars, and nuts.

Practice eating, snacking on the same foods, and drinking the beverages you’ll take during your hike, so you can understand if they’re sufficient to sustain energy. You can also seek professional trainers, ask for advice, and consult with a certified nutritionist to know the proper training diet suitable for you.

For ultramarathons, you’ll need extra carbohydrates, as well as fat and protein. For example, peanut butter sandwiches, a trail mix, and candy bars with nuts are all excellent sources.

2. Incorporate Resistance Training Into Your Workout

Long-distance hikers should add resistance training into their regular workout routines. Training with resistance is a way to build your muscle strength and endurance. This form of exercise is similar to lifting weights. It allows you to grow the skeletal muscles in your arms and legs. Since these two body parts are mainly used when hiking, it’s only necessary to prepare these muscle areas. And because of the impact long-distance hiking will have on the body, developing these muscles is essential.

In the comforts of your home, you can perform different resistance training by using resistance bands that you can buy online or at your favorite activewear store. You don’t necessarily have to subscribe to a gym to get your arm and leg muscles strengthened. When you do bodyweight exercises, you get the same results as resistance training with weights, which could also be an effective alternative.

Try incorporating resistance bands in your workouts, like lunges, pull-ups, sit-ups, and squats. The added resistance will make your muscles work harder. When you become familiar with handling your own body weight, you can sustain enough strength to continue hiking for longer hours. With the help of your own body weight or free weights, hiking won’t be too tiring on the body and will be an enjoyable experience.

3. Strengthen Your Core Muscles

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Hiking is known to improve your body and mind, but it’s much more enjoyable when you have a strong core. During a hike, your abs and back will be used to keep you upright as you twist, lean, and climb. In addition, many people wear backpacks, so this will add even more weight, which requires your core to work harder.

Moreover, core strength is necessary for hiking because it improves your balance, helping you to remain stable in different terrain conditions. For instance, your abs can sustain strength to stabilize your body even when your feet and legs give in.

Many exercises are intended to build your core strength, one of which is planking. You’ll be surprised by how effective this simple exercise can be. At home, you can just put a yoga mat on the floor and perform planking at different times regularly, and you’ll see vast improvements in your abs.

However, you don’t need to have six-pack abs to hike effectively. The key is to stabilize your core strength through different core exercises. You can start with a modified plank by allowing your lower body and toes to touch the ground, which is like a half-kneel position.

Gradually, you can perform a full plank with a good form and aim to hold it for as long as a minute if you can. Other ab exercises, such as reverse crunch, leg raise, and mountain climber, are fun other than planking, so be sure to check out some of them. Try to mix them up in your exercise routine, and you’ll have a strong core soon.

4. Perform Cardio Exercises

To build up their fitness, long-distance hikers need to exercise regularly to focus on cardio. Aerobic exercise lets your body become accustomed to exercising for a prolonged period of time. This elevates your heart rate and allows oxygen into your muscles.

Your aerobic base will begin to develop if you devote enough time to performing cardio exercises, like jogging, walking, dancing, and cycling. Depending on your pace, you can increase your speed, and as speed increases, your heart beats faster. You can start with 15 minutes of cardio twice or thrice a week and gradually increase the time as soon as you can.

It’s often said that pushing yourself past your body’s fatigue threshold will also help you deal with fatigue. Create your effective cardio workout and perform it at your own pace. This will aid and support you in lasting through long hikes. No matter how steep and uneven terrains are, you’ll be able to cope as long as you’ve prepared yourself enough with your cardio base.

5. Practice Hiking With Your Gear

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Last but not least, you should practice using whatever gear you plan on bringing. Once you have scouted out the terrain you intend to hike on, you need to know the equipment you’ll need and decide early on what you want to bring for your long-distance hike. Some of the common hiking equipment most hikers bring are a backpack, a tent, and a hammock.

When it’s time for your hiking practice day, bring your chosen gear with you. This will help you get used to their weight. Furthermore, it’s helpful to get to know all of your pieces of equipment, so you can transition to the actual long-distance hike with confidence and peace of mind.

Conclusion

The tips in this article will ensure you condition your mind and body well, experience success, and create happy memories of your long-distance hike. With proper training, you’ll be prepared for the challenges you might face while hiking.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Daniele Murillo

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