Gone Outdoors

How to Train for a Long Hike

by eHow Contributor

Training for a long hike takes persistence and dedication. It involves a gradual increase of distance walked and weight carried. Follow these simple steps to be prepared for your long hike anywhere.

1. Purchase some good hiking boots.

2. Hike every chance you get. Choose a place that has an incline and variable terrain, like a local mountain. If you've never hiked before, start small. Go for a short 1 to 2 mile hike, without any weight, 3 to 4 times per week. As the hike gets easier, add more distance.

3. Once you have worked up to a 3 to 4 mile hike, start adding some weight to your pack during your training hikes. Fill a bag with five lbs. of sand (or a water satchel with 5 lbs. of water) or various objects. Start hiking 3 to 4 miles with the weighted pack.

4. When the 3 to 4 mile hikes with a weighted pack start getting easier (after 1 or 2 weeks) add another 5 lbs. of sand to your backpack and increase the distance you are hiking to 5 to 8 miles.

5. Continue to increase the weight in your pack, up to 25 lbs. while you are training for your long hike. This will improve your strength, stamina and muscle tone, ultimately making you a stronger hiker. Fill your pack with the equipment and supplies you will need on your long hike, and weight it to make sure you can carry it the entire way.

Items you will need
  • Hiking boots
  • Backpack
  • Sandbags or water satchels
  • A place to train

Tips

  • Hike at least 3 to 4 times per week. If you are training for a hike that will last for longer than a day, hike every day (e.g., for a five-day hike, do a practice hike every day for five days).
  • Always train in the hiking boots you will be wearing on your long hike.
  • Gradually increase the hiking distance and weight every 7 to 14 days.
  • Hike no less than 2 miles per training mission.
  • Even if the long hike you are planning does not include carrying substantial weight, training with weight makes a big difference in your strength and stamina during a long hike.
  • Music is a great way to keep yourself motivated while hiking. Buy an MP3 player and fill it with upbeat music.

Warnings

  • Always carry the appropriate amount of water with you when you hike.
  • Carry a small first-aid kit while hiking.
  • Wear sturdy hiking boots.

Photo Credits

  • Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images