How to train for a trek

The Heysen Trail winds its way through the North Flinders Ranges | Tim Morris
The Heysen Trail winds its way through the North Flinders Ranges | Tim Morris
 
 
Trekking is a fantastic opportunity to explore amazing destinations and experience nature up close and personal. However, the amount of training you do before embarking on your trek can either make or break the experience. Whether its gaining the physical aptitude for the trek for multiple days in a row, carrying a full pack across varied terrain, or mentally preparing yourself for the adventure that lies ahead, trek training is an essential part of any trek! For an in-depth look at exactly what exercise to do to train for your trek, check out our 6 month trek training guide. 
 
The best way to approach trek training is to prepare your body and mind for the trek. It makes trekking easier, safer and more enjoyable. Ensure that you walk hills, train with a bag pack and exercise in different types of weather to get accustomed to what you may expect during the trip. Feel like you’ll need some encouragement? Consider joining a gym or hiring a fitness instructor with like-minded friends for extra support. When training for hikes, you may need to set aside adequate time to prepare physically and mentally for the trekking challenges that you may meet on your trip. Depending on how challenging your trip is, it is advisable to start training anywhere between 2-6 months before departure. Remember, the longer you train, the better the outcome. Read on to find trek training tips that can make a difference to your trekking adventure. However, this is a generalised guide just for informational purposes, as different treks require different training regimes.

Physical Preparation

If you are planning on embarking on a multi-day trek, you’ll need to be in good health and fitness (and a positive attitude wouldn’t go astray!). We recommend spending a couple of days a week walking for long hours and on rough terrains. Get your muscles used to undulations that you may experience on a trip, and depending on where you are trekking, try to train in similar conditions. After all, not many remote treks have a concrete footpath! Are you training for the Larapinta Trail? Practise walking in summer with hard rock underfoot. Training for the South Coast Track in Tasmania? Get some experience walking on uneven surfaces including forest floor, over foots, rocks and muddy areas.

Strength Training

Strength training aims to strengthen your legs, your core, and your upper body. It’s not a bad idea to build your core strength to condition your ab muscles to carry a backpack during the trip. Sit ups, shoulder presses, and kettle-bell swings can help strengthen the core, while lunges and squats can help strengthen your leg muscles. If your upcoming trek involves some steep ascents, train on stairs and hills to prepare you for the steep hills and climbing mountains. To build strength, we suggest carrying a backpack starting at 5kg every week as you climb the hills and stairs. Then increase the weight every week by 0.5kg till you can practice with about 15-20kg.

Technical Walking

Technical training enhances your fitness level and gives you more ability to overcome tough sections along the trek with greater ease. Rock scrambling is a good way to train for technical waking, as having the ability to jump, stretch and jump helps to strengthen your muscles and improve your balance. Best of all, it gives you an excuse to get out on the weekend to some of the beautiful natural training grounds in your backyard, such as along the coastline, hills or river banks! Another handy hint is to practice the rest-step technique that helps to maintain your heart rate as you climb mountains and hills. Climb a set of stairs and pause for a second or two before taking another step, resting your weight on the bones in your back leg, allowing your muscles to relax.

Mental Conditioning

Seasoned trekkers will tell you that when your energy levels are depleted and you feel like quitting, what keeps you going is your mental stamina. Mental conditioning is just as important as your physical training, so ensure that before you embark on your adventure, you prepare yourself mentally for your upcoming trip wit longer day walks to build stamina. Ready and raring to to? Check out some of our upcoming departures - they're guaranteed to go - all they need is you!
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