Since posting the my first Continental Divide Trail entry last week, the outdoor conditions here in midcoast Maine have dramatically, but not unexpectedly, ramped up. In the past week, we’ve experienced unseasonably low temperatures and 18 “ of snowfall.
It’s made for challenging training conditions.
There are hikers who believe that the only preparation for hiking is- well, to hike. On the other hand, some folks actually “plan” to show up for a thru-hike out of shape. They start really slow, generally grunting through less than 10 miles a day, and allow themselves to shed weight and build up mileage so that they’re in decent shape by week 4 to 6. I don’t want to be in pain and suffering when I’m just starting out, so I train. I don’t escape the discomfort and strife, but spread it out over a longer period of weeks, rather than add additional stressors at the of start of a long hike.
This week, I’ve re-read Andrew Skurka’s recommendations on training for a long hike. <—Recommended reading.
I’ve also revisited Ray Jardine’s Trail Life, specifically Ray’s excellent chapter on physical conditioning.
My ultimate goal is to follow Ray’s recommendation to work up to walking on rugged terrain for 12 or more miles with thirty-five pounds on my back. I have a setup with a 50 pound barbell plate that I strap to an old Trailwise pack from the 60’s that I’ve put into rotation before. The Camden Hill State Park is a superb terrain to do backpack. I can see the top of those Hills from my kitchen window.
At his point of my life I train every other day. I find I need to rest in between, – ok, maybe I do walk two or three miles in between.
This week the training has been snowshoeing and mountain biking on the snow. Both are difficult. For a glimpse of my most training episode on Thursday night- check out this blog entry.
One aspect of training that is not often spoken about is training for mental toughness. My wife believes I have a “Polish suffering gene”, and the following article from 2008 National Geographic Magazine gives strong evidence that she might be correct.
On my next entry I plan to introduce companies and individuals that have agreed to help me out with gear and supplies.