Preparing for 500 km (~300 miles) mountain trek

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  • Preparing for 500 km (~300 miles) mountain trek

    Hello everyone

    The thing is me and my friend, we decided to walk the Main Beskid Trail (Poland).
    Let's say we have four to six weeks to prepare our bodies. What types of exercises or programs would you reccomend for this?

    I don't really know what additional information could be helpful so let me know if there's anything to add.

  • #2
    Have you gone backpacking before? Getting used to carrying your pack is probably the most important thing. I do a ton of walking, and even with a day pack with just water/snacks for a 15-20 mile day the difference between carrying nothing and carrying stuff is HUGE.... and if you are going that far you will have emergency supplies, clothing, possibly shelter and cooking tools on your back to contend with as well. Imho, along with whatever else you do you should load up your pack as if for the trip and try shorter distances leading up to what will be a full day's hike. (Like, if you have 6 weeks start w 3 miles, then 6, then 10, 12, 15, 17 so you are set for 20 when you start your trip.) Also if you do not have an iron stomach, do not overlook getting your digestive track used to whatever you will be eating as trail food, sick to your stomach on a hike would be miserable. That sounds like a ton of fun, good luck!

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    • #3
      Thanks for responding! Actually, despite I used to walk a lot in mountains, I've never gone real backpacking. I guess my friend has similar experience. It is REAL challenge for us. Such trips with backpacks was an idea of ours so I see we have a point
      I see that handling backpacks is the main issue but do you think it would be enough preparation? We're wondering if some cardio stuff or some legs exercises would be useful but we don't want to overtrain before such trek.

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      • #4
        I guess walking regularly and with the back pack you are going to take as well as the shoes you plan to wear in combination with some full body and leg strength protocol should do the trick. Especially squats come to mind.

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        • #5
          One more thing to consider is altitude difference (how much will you be walking uphill and down again?). How much does this particular trek have?

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          • #6
            If it was me, I would do 2 short and 2 long walks a week w pack + some back and leg exercizes.

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            • #7
              Do you have already a training plan? How are you used to train? Are you going to camp out there?
              I'd go with 2 full body strength workouts during the week and hitting the trails on the weekends for endurance. Possibly with backpacks. Casual training on the other days.
              Alternatively you could do 5 strength workouts for different body parts during the week. Focus more on legs and torso stability than on the rest.
              Train for strength and endurance. Cardio and explosiveness aren't quite as important. I'd not increase training time nor intensity on the last 2 weeks before heading out, so you are not fatigued. Maybe even a slightly decrease on the last week.

              Training with the hiking kit, maybe putting up a tent for a night, making and preparing food gives you a very good insight on what works and what doesn't. This allows you to shave a few grams off your pack which will be very valuable. As a rule of thumb I never pack a clothing item more than twice for outdoor adventures. Special clothing like rain jackets only once. Maybe look into getting hiking poles, since they make life so much easier. Fixed length ones are tougher and cheaper than other ones.
              You could try to make your own food bars. Produces less garbage and is a handy skill. Lentils are super easy to cook and provide most of what you need. Breakfast cereal, dry milk and cocoa are pure luxury

              Always calculate too much time. Sometimes you might just want to stay at a beautiful spot for a day or two, especially when tired.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by EricThePersistent View Post
                Train for strength and endurance. Cardio and explosiveness aren't quite as important.
                I am totally agree

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                • #9
                  Hey, thank you all for contribution! I see the main thing for me is getting used to carrying a load on the back.

                  BusyBumbleBee I even started to claim that morning without squats is a mornig wasted I really like that state when I actually feel my legs. As far as shoes are concerned, I'm going to buy some high trekking boots but haven't decide what brand/model yet... Maybe you or anybody else have idea for some fine pair for about 60-70$ (I guess... Probably, I have other prices because of taxes and s#!t but whatever...)? I thought of Targhee II Keen, Quechua Forclaz 100, Moorhead KathmanduII or The North Face Storm Strike WP.

                  draco_dormens I'm not sure about exact altitude differences yet, but could you explain what do you have on mind considering it? I mean, how can it influence my preparation process?

                  EricThePersistent I don't have any program at the time. I'm not really used to train. I decided to change it when I've started climbing (~one and a half year ago). After some time of a little bit chaotic training (darbee workouts for back, chest and abs, plank challenge [interrupted], hiit program [interrupted]) I had tailbone ache. And here's my worry. Despite I went to a doctor and had rehabilitation exercises I haven't been training again for a last few months.
                  Anyway, I liked the idea of training diffrent parts each day. Good point with decreasing intensivity before the trip! I'm not entirely convinced of hiking poles, but I'm not sure why.
                  Power bars is must-have for me - that's very good idea I also had.

                  Thanks a lot again and waiting for answers and optional further suggestions

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                  • #10
                    HareBidit that's an awesome thing you guys are preparing for. Hiking is different to running. The ground is uneven, you have a lot of weight on your back and you're on the move for long periods of time. A strong core is key here. It will make everything else easier. A little aerobic preparation by doing the odd HIIT workout once a week will also be of benefit, not because you will be using anything to such and intensity but because the intensity will help you better prepare your muscles for the steady load of walking and carrying a weight. So, anything from our Core workouts will be of direct use to you: https://goo.gl/CKTPNj and any HIIT workout: https://goo.gl/xgDEZb will help with your overall physical fitness and abilities. I hope this has helped a little.

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                    • #11
                      HareBidit I cannot recommend a certain brand as I do not even know which ones are available to you, also just like running shoes you should choose the ones that best fit you and your needs. I DO and strongly recommend to buy such footware in a dedicated store where you get decent advice and can test different models because if these shoes do not fit you well, you will have a very uncomfortable time. That is a point you might want to consider apart from price. I'd also recommend to buy some hiking socks to go with the shoes. From experience I can say that quality functional clothing can make a VERY big difference.
                      Enjoy the preparation and the trip!

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                      • #12
                        Oh, thank you Damer for the links. I like such direct help ! I will definitely consider those exercises added to my preparation. Unfortunately my spine is not perfectly straight, I have a little bit of scoliosis and lordosis. (Only my fault and I don't like myself for that one...) Despite the doctor told me it's not a big deal because this change is not so significant and people with more damaged spines live well and do amazing things, I experience some ache in the middle part when carrying a backpack filled only with the laptop, a book and some food on my way to work. I suppose those workouts will cause getting rid of this problem and help with bigger weight on a trip as well, am I right?

                        BusyBumbleBee I see, you're totally right! Everyone is unique and different things are suitable for each. I experience this in my profession so why would it be different in others
                        I' ve already done the research of shops where I can check those boots. Thanks for advice with the socks, I wouldn't think of it for sure! I think I will focus on quality indeed because I hope to trek more in the future. Thank you!



                        Btw, I'm so happy this hive is so active and helpful

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                        • #13
                          HareBidit I am sorry to hear about your back. Funnily enough it's a fairly common issue thanks to the many screen-watching jobs we all seem to have. These workouts will help but you might also consider our posture workouts here: http://darebee.com/workouts/posture-workout.html and here: http://darebee.com/workouts/posture-...t-workout.html which address spinal issues. Onwards!

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                          • #14
                            HareBidit
                            Sorry for the somewhat late reply.
                            Well, the same distance can be very different in difficulty depending on altitude difference. If there is a lot you should prepare for walking uphill (AND downhill), especially with a backpack.

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