FULL PREPARATION FOR HIKING
We can safely say that psychological, not physical, endurance is key in long-distance treks. All the limits – both of the ‘I can‘ and ‘I cannot‘ variety – are located inside your head. However, choosing a route which is right for you and preparing yourself for conquering it will make pushing those boundaries a whole lot easier. Taking some time to prepare yourself for the coming trek will enable you to feel much more confident in your physical and psychological abilities.
We would like to share some tips on how to do just that with you – they are based on our first-hand experience, as well as consultations with the specialists at the Functional Therapy Centre.
How to choose a route?
First of all, you should consider your fitness level – how often do you engage in sports and active movement? If your job is sedentary and you hardly move at all, we recommend choosing a shorter route or starting your preparation for the walk as early as possible.
If you do not walk or jog regularly, but engage in other types of active sports (basketball, football, volleyball, skiing), it is a good sign – preparing yourself for the trek and conquering a longer distance will not be all that difficult.
EXERCISING PRIOR TO THE TREK
Before embarking on any trek, your body has to be warmed up properly. Whether you are going on a short walk or conquering a longer route, you should still do some light warm-up exercises at home or at the starting line. You should also perform these exercises regularly – your muscles will not only warm up, but grow stronger over time as well.
Test walks are a great way to prepare your body for the coming trek, as well as try out your clothing and break in your trekking shoes – you will be able to rest assured knowing that there will be no unpleasant surprises waiting for you during the trek. When training for your chosen route, your goal should be to walk at least half of the distance that you are set on conquering during the trek prior to the event.
Short everyday walks
If you do not move much, start off by taking short walks – a trip of 1 to 3 kilometres while walking to work, a shop that is further away from home or a friend‘s house fits the purpose. Over the first few weeks, you can increase this distance up to 5 kilometres a day. Walk at your usual pace – your breathing has to remain calm. You can take breaks of 1-2 days between separate walks. Your goal is to conquer at least 10-20 kilometres over the course of a week.
If you are generally quite active or have chosen one of our longer routes, we recommend walking at least 7-8 kilometres a day. If you are able to take short walks like these everyday, you should do just that. Later on in your preparation, set aside a few hours and embark on longer walks of around 10 kilometres.
Two months before the trek
If you are set on conquering one of our longest routes, it is important for you to perform at least three long-distance test walks prior to the actual trek. We recommend walking at least ⅓ of your chosen distance a couple of months prior to the trek. Bring some friends along with you, choose a city or forest route that you have been dreaming of conquering for ages, and go!
Five weeks before the trek
We recommend walking half of your chosen route 4-5 weeks before the trek. Organise a serious test walk. Choose a circular route that allows you to start and finish your trek at the same point. This is exactly how our treks are made: the walkers return to the starting line at the end of their walk. You should take short breaks of around 10-15 minutes every hour or so during your test walk – it is a great idea to do some stretching exercises during these breaks. Do not forget to have some water and light snacks with you. It is important to limit these breaks to less than 20 minutes – otherwise your body might lose some of the necessary heat that it has accumulated.
If you have a chance, ask your loved ones to bring some tea and food to your chosen location along the route and wait for you there. If you cannot do that, plan your route in a way which allows you to come home or visit a café after conquering half of the walk, so that you can have some food, do stretching exercises, rest for a while and then continue walking.
Three weeks before the trek
You should organise another test walk 2-3 weeks prior to the trek – this time around, you should conquer ⅔ of your chosen distance. Take rest breaks from time to time, just as you did earlier. It is vital to try out all of the clothing and equipment that you are planning to use during the trek over the course of this test walk.
One or two weeks before the trek – take a rest
It is crucial for you to rest for 1-2 weeks between longer test walks. We recommend taking short everyday walks of around 3-10 kilometres (depending on your chosen route) during this time, but you should avoid walking long distances. Your body has to regain its strength during the last two weeks before the main challenge. You should avoid engaging in other sports in order to protect yourself from traumas – even small injuries can prevent you from conquering your route successfully and enjoyably.