What are you trying to do when training for a hike? Are you just trying to get fit? Or is there a bit more to it?
All too often, I run into this opinion:
"Why would you train for hiking? Just go out and hike!"
I am sure you have seen it countless times.
And when I first started training hikers, trekkers and mountaineers I will admit, I struggled to answer this question succinctly.
I knew the reasons in my head, but when I tried to say it out loud, I always undersold everything.
And I would walk away from the conversation knowing I hadn't gotten my point across.
And I figure, if you are interested in training for an adventure, you have likely been in this situation as well. So today, I want to give you some clear and easy to remember reasons why training for hiking can be so valuable:
1) Training Helps You Stay Safe While Hiking
A bit portion of what I talk about in these emails is injury prevention. Structured training is the single best thing you can do to prevent injury on the trail.
Usually, I find myself talking about recurring foot, knee or back issues and how necessary the right training is at overcoming these.
But training is just as crucial at preventing a major catastrophic injury (such as spraining/breaking your ankle, snapping something in your knee and even upper body injuries like dislocating your shoulder). All of these are trip enders, so the value of reducing the likelihood of these cannot be understated.
Also, one of the biggest contributing factors to 'major incidents' on the trail (such as falling off a cliff, slipping off a bridge or tripping down a hill) is fatigue. When you are overly tired, you don't concentrate, you make bad decisions, and your reactions times are slowed.
So training can not only prevent the likelihood of injury but also reduce the chance of a catastrophic, trip ending incident (by preventing fatigue).
2) Training Helps You Enjoy Hiking More
Aches, pains and niggles all are common things on the trail.
Whether it is sore legs at the end of of a day, super tight muscles when you roll out of your bed or overuse injuries (such as plantar fasciitis or hiker's knee) flaring up on the trail; all of these suck a big chunk of enjoyment out of your time on your adventures.
On top of this, if you are not in good enough shape for the trail, you will likely spend a significant portion of the days huffing and puffing, staring at your feet and fighting an internal battle about just how tired you are...
On the other hand, if you have done the right training, and are MORE fit then you 'need to be' you can look up at the beautiful scenery around you, you can chat comfortably with your trail buddies, and you can properly enjoy every step of the way.
3) Training Increases The Likelihood Of Success While Hiking
If you are planning a tougher, longer adventure, the right training can simply give you a better chance of completing it!
There are so many people who have to bail out of adventures due to reasons entirely within their control...
If you are putting all this time, effort and money into a once in a lifetime challenge, it makes sense to give your self the best chance possible of actually completing it!
So as you can see, training for hiking goes a bit beyond just getting fit. Some people might scoff at the idea, but we know just how important it can be. (In fact, I think it is SO important, I have made it my life's work!) If you did need help with your training for hiking, and want to give yourself the best chance of a safe, enjoyable and successful adventure, you can check out my online training for hiking program here:
Rowan is a personal trainer who specialises in training for hiking, trekkers and mountaineers for their bucket list adventures.
Summit Strength is a personal training for hiking service created specifically to help hikers have the best chance of a safe, enjoyable and successful adventure.