Top 10 tips for preparing for a long walk or hike
Whether you are a newbie to hiking and just getting started with local hikes, or preparing for your next big hike (Oxfam, or a mountain in the Himalayas anyone?), you need to be well prepared. Here are our top 10 tips for preparing for a hiking trip or long walk.
1. Start training well in advance
You need to start training well in advance. More than 3 months is ideal, even longer depending on the length, duration and difficulty of the hike. Mountain hikes that will include high altitude hiking need even more training to prepare your body for the lack of oxygen.
2. Ease in to training
Start with 30 minutes of walking 2-3 days per week, then gradually increase the time, difficulty and sessions per week.
3. Get out on the trails – but use the gym to your advantage
Although it is ideal to train on trails, it can be hard when you are time poor or don’t have any appropriate trails nearby. Using the Stairmaster or a treadmill on incline is a great option for training under these circumstances. Take your pack and load it up with weight to make it harder.
4. Strength training
Strength training is your friend when it comes to hiking, don’t be scared of it. Although you will be primarily focused on your aerobic fitness, there are many benefits of resistance training including that it can help with injury prevention. Exercises such as lunges are great as they mimic the movements required for hiking while building strength. Box step ups and step downs are also beneficial. Try a resistance session once a week.
5. Invest in a good pair of boots – and wear them in
You will need a good pair of hiking boots, and you need to wear them in. Do not go on a hiking trip with new boots. This will result in more problems for your feet, which you don’t want to worry about on a long hike. Our podiatrist can recommend the best hiking shoes for you – Book an appointment by calling 4356 2588 or online here.
6. Have the correct gear
Hiking gear is expensive, but it’s well worth the money. Depending on the hike – you may need cold weather gear, a large pack, hiking poles or even your own 5 season sleeping bag. It is important that you know what you need in advance, so you can get the correct gear and start training with it before your hike. Depending what hike/walk you are doing, there are often options to rent items such as bags and hiking poles, so make sure you check well in advance. However, if you plan on hiking long term, it is often worthwhile to invest in the above items.
7. Blister packs
Even with well-worn in boots, blisters and hot spots are still likely. Ensure you have a well-equipped first aid kit that includes a range of blister options. It is good to do your research and see what works best for you. A few good starting points to look at are blister packs and moisture wicking socks.
8. Increase your pack weight slowly
Depending on your hike, and whether you are doing a guided hike with porters or a solo adventure, you may need to carry large amounts of weight, so it is important to be prepared for the weight you will be carrying. However, don’t go on your first training hike with 20kg on your back. Start out light and build your pack up.
9. Train specifically – right down to what you eat
As you get closer to your hike, you want to nail down the small aspects. What snacks and food will you be taking with you? If you plan on taking different types of nuts or energy bars, make sure you try them out on hikes before you go, to make sure your body reacts well and that you aren’t eating unknown things on the trail.
10. Know the trail
Safety is the most important thing of all. When training, make sure you know the trails you are walking on. Print maps, charge your phone and don’t go walking in the middle of nowhere. Make sure you let someone know where you are going, and when you plan on getting back
At Coast Sport, we know what it takes to achieve success on long hikes. Whether you need advice on your boots, or help with and injury or strength training, we can help. Call 4356 2588 or book an appointment online via the button below.
Any one starting a new exercise regime should do so under the guidance of an exercise professional. We recommend you consult with your physician before beginning any exercise program.