Training for any thru-hike is a significant undertaking. Regardless of whether it is your first thru-hike or your tenth, it can be a little overwhelming. Because not only do you have to get yourself ready to hike for weeks (or months) on end, but there are SO many other things you need to prepare for...
You have to get ready for rough and uneven terrain. Elevation changes. Carrying a full pack. River crossings. And a dozen other things factors that make thru-hiking the unique challenge that it is.
On top of all of this, not only do you have to survive these issues (and ensure you don't break down with pain, injury or exhaustion), you also want to be in a position where you can actually enjoy yourself!
So whether you are training for the Kokoda Trail, Te Araroa, Larapinta, Tour De Mont Blanc or any other big thru-hike, this will get you pointed in the right direction towards a safe, enjoyable and successful hike!
When training for a thru-hike, you must take a balanced and comprehensive approach. This is because there are no many things you need to prepare for (such as elevation gain/loss, rough terrain, long distances, injury/pain prevention, pack carrying etc.) And if you are not covering all your bases, you are leaving yourself open to so many things which could go wrong.
With this in mind, I recommend aspiring thru-hikers incorporate the following things into their preparation:
Hiking + Hiking specific conditioning
Strength training (Including CORE strength)
Extra, low-intensity cardio (optional)
I would advise joining a regular hike training group - Like our Friday Trail Fit Training which is a 2 hour hiking specific training session.
Get into the gym and if possible engage a Personal Trainer who has a good knowledge of hike specific training as well as mobility and core conditioning
Pilates - either Mat or Reformer which are both great for core conditioning
Get familiar with the terrain that you will be navigating on your trip and try to replicate this as much as you can with your training. Seek out stairs and rock scrambling challenges to push your fitness.
Get out your maps and pour over them with your coach and hiking buddies so that you are all familiar with what is to be expected.
At BU Adventures we prepare you for any trip you book with us and of course any trip or challenge you have coming up. We organise regular half and full-day hikes as well as overnight and some multi-day hikes which will give you the opportunity to test yourself, as well as manage your gear requirements.
If this is your first thru-hike, you would be best placed to talk to others and research the suggested gear list thoroughly.
Many of our hikers have been hiking for some time and are more than happy to share their advice.
One of our golden rules about gear is to purchase the best you can afford. The difference between quality gear and cheap gear can save your life. Many operators will hire out the essentials, so you don't have to have everything to get started.
For our BU Adventures training all you need are;
Sturdy trail runners or lightweight hiking boots with grippy tread
A day pack (20 - 30litre capacity)
Drinking water min 1litre (either bladder or Nalgene bottles)
Lightweight rain jacket (foldable)
Hat and sunscreen!
BU Adventures are the experts in training and preparation for your adventures, whether it be that next 'bucket list' thru-hike or an overnight or day excursion.
As a Master Personal Trainer and Exercise Physiologist I can help you prepare with private sessions or join any of our up-coming events.