Getting through that tough one! Self Care & Mindset for Success on the Trail

As we head back into our adventurous lives and start to plan or indeed lead up to that 'bucket list' adventure. One thing that we don't initially take into account is how we look after ourselves once we are immersed in that adventure.

We know that proper preparation is essential to any successful journey, we do the cardiovascular training, the hikes and the strength training. However once out on the trail, nature tends to throw us lots of different challenges both physical and psychological.

I recently interviewed Rowan Smith who is the founder of Summit Strength and is a personal trainer and online hiking training specialist. You can listen to the full interview on my Podcast here. We talked at length about the physical preparation and how important all the elements of this are. Talking about one of our 'bucket list' adventures that is set to go in May 2022, The Larapinta End to End -14days and 225km of hiking

We covered some of the elements required in preparation;

  • Strength Training

  • Core Strength

  • Cardiovascular Training

  • Mindset & Self Care

When I mention mindset, lots of peoples eyes glaze over and believe me I was one of them, dismissing it as 'hippy dippy' stuff. Oh how life experience and having to overcome challenges can change that thinking!

Having a simple mantra that will help you through those hard or challenging moments wherever you may find them. It could just be dealing with a tough day at work or a really bad day out on the trail or in training.

I know that over the years when I have been competing, back when I was in my early 20's and Alpine Ski Racing, I always had a 'mantra' that I would use to focus on the task at hand. Now that mantra has changed somewhat as my tasks at hand are a little different. Although the discipline of this is there. It's a good thing to develop something that works for you and have that to use when you need it.

More recently when running the New York Marathon, and going into it with an injury which I had to manage without it being 'top of mind', along the way I would repeat in my head any one or all of these; "when you feel good go with it and when you feel bad back off'; "I've got this" and "Never Never Ever Give Up". These I use also when hiking and running or swimming, as well as in some day to day challenges, "Im well prepared & I've got this"

If you are looking for some reading matter about mindset and overcoming challenges here is something I would recommend;

From Snow to Ash

The incredible, inspiring story of a solo journey through Australia's toughest and most beautiful hiking trail - the Australian Alps Walking Track - for fans of Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer or Cheryl Strayed's Wild and anyone who dreams of iconic wilderness walks At the start of the hellish, fiery Australian summer of 2019/20, Walkley Award-winning journalist and suburban dad Anthony Sharwood set off on a journey. Abandoning his post on a busy news website to clear his mind, he solo-trekked the Australian Alps Walking Track, Australia's most gruelling and breathtakingly beautiful mainland hiking trail, which traverses the entirety of the legendary High Country from Gippsland in Victoria to the outskirts of Canberra. The journey started in a blizzard and ended in a blaze. Along the way, this lifelong lover of the mountains came to realise that nothing would ever be the same - either for him or for the imperilled Australian Alps, a landscape as fragile and sensitive to the changing climate as the Great Barrier Reef.

In the Self Care area as Rowan will talk about managing your own body and the aches and pains and discomfort that will come about during those multi-day through hikes. The ability to get yourself through and manage your body by self diagnosis and massage around the area to ascertain if you have done anything serious or are you just a little stiff and tight which can be relieved with a simple roll out of the tight area using your water bottle or hiking pole as a tool. You don't need any special equipment, your hands can do wonders.

On an of our long multi-day hikes, BU Adventures will always run a stretch session before we head out each day and at the end of the day. This is informal and can be 5mins or 20mins depending on individual needs. I like to incorporate in the mornings in addition to stretching, some activation exercises for core and those muscles we will use predominantly during our day out. At the end of the day I shall add some yogic stretches and of course tailor the stretch to what everyone is feeling and what they need.

Some great stretching exercises for you to try and add to your repertoire!

5 stretches to improve your flexibility

  • Hamstring stretch

  • Hip flexor and quad stretch

  • Hip opener

  • Glute stretch

  • Side bend

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