Trek training: how to get fit before your trek!

Trek training: how to get fit before your trek!

Trek training: how to get fit before your trek!

Planning to embark on a trek? You may be pretty active and health conscious already, but here are a few hints and tips on how best to prepare for the challenge ahead!

Preparation is key

Think ahead and ideally put your fitness plan into action about four months before your adventure. If you haven’t exercised regularly for a while or you’ve never trained before, then visit your local GP surgery for a check-up before you begin; and to see if there are any specific precautions you need to take in the light of your medical history.

Begin at the beginning

Whatever exercise you plan to do, warm up first, as it’ll help you prepare and lessen the likelihood of injury. If you don’t already have a warm-up routine, there is lots of advice available online for all levels of fitness. Remember to include dynamic stretches that take you through the range of movement you’ll be using in your workout, in a slow and controlled manner.    

Build up your training gradually

Over the four month period build up your training gradually. If you’re not used to exercising, begin with a fifteen minute walk every other day and gradually increase it by five or ten minutes, so by the end of week three, you can manage an hour or so.

Don’t stick to the same route each session or your walks will soon feel monotonous; and don’t worry if some walks are shorter than others. Any exercise is better than none, so if your walk is ten minutes shorter in the evening after work, but longer on a day off – that’s fine.

After the first three weeks or so, build in an hour’s work out at the gym once a week, giving yourself an full body workout, and do include the step machine as it will help you on the steep sections of the hike. Whether you are walking, running or at the gym, include some flexibility training about three times a week too, as it will help you to prevent injury.  

Ramp it up

Plan longer walks for the weekend and bear in mind that by the end of the four month training period you want to be able to walk for five hours or so, to meet the rigours of the trek. Every person is different, but if you already exercise regularly, aim for a substantial 3 ½ hours trek by the end of week six. 

By week nine you should aim to include a more substantial walk of 4 ½ hours and so on. When you are tackling these longer walks, always take regular breaks and do take refreshments and water with you. By week 11 you want to complete a 5 hour walk, but the week before you leave for your trek, exercise more gently with a couple of sessions of between 30 minutes and an hour, then rest for a couple of days before you leave.              

Ring the changes

Allow yourself to digress from routine every once in a while. Vary your workout and try something new - go for a swim, join a dance class or try out Pilates for a change!

Make it social

Make it fun and keep it social - meet up with your friends for a walk or a run sometimes, as it’ll help keep you motivated.  

Finishing touches

Always cool down by walking or jogging slowly for the last few minutes of your workout, followed by a range of static stretching exercises. Don’t skip the latter, as they’ll leave you feeling relaxed and will lengthen your muscles too!  

 Be kind to yourself

Be flexible, and don’t follow your schedule no matter what - take note of how you’re feeling. If you’re exhausted or below par, then it’s better to give yourself time to rest and recover, and always allow yourself a rest day once a week.     

Be kind to your feet

Ensure you have appropriate, good quality footwear for both training and your actual hike –and don’t begin a trek with a brand new pair of boots – always wear them in first. Take appropriate clothing, equipment and refreshments with you when you exercise and check with your trek organiser as to what you should bring with you for the big event. 

Looking for a challenge? Embark on the Inca Trail and discover the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu and much more! Don’t forget to check our training guides for more information on getting trek-fit.

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