A climber on the Ptarmigan Traverse, North Cascades Range, Washington.

Training For a Big Hike or Mountain Climb

In Backpacking, Hiking, Paddling, Skiing, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   10 Comments
By Michael Lanza When three friends and I decided to attempt to thru-hike the John Muir Trail—221
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10 Responses to Training For a Big Hike or Mountain Climb

  1. Casey   |  October 9, 2017 at 5:14 pm

    Thank you so much for this! This will be very helpful as I am planning my first mountain hike- Pico Mountain in the Azores Islands. Certainly not a big mountain by some standards but I’ve never done anything like this.

    • Michael Lanza   |  October 9, 2017 at 8:52 pm

      Hi Casey, thanks for the comment. I’ve never been to the Azores. Please recommend some hikes there. Good luck, too.

  2. Richard Ascough   |  March 10, 2017 at 3:45 am

    What an amazing article. Unfortunately we do not have enough snow in Australia to practice some of these hikes. The scenery at Lizard Head Peak looks incredible.

    • MichaelALanza   |  March 10, 2017 at 7:52 am

      Thanks, Richard. You will have to go to New Zealand or come to the U.S. to find some snow!

  3. James   |  September 23, 2016 at 1:17 pm

    I’m hiking Grand Canyon, south rim to north rim, about 21 miles in 1 day. Do you recommend a 3 week taper prior to the hike that matches what the Marathon runners do for their tapering? For example, I would hike 80% of my peak weekly miles 3 weeks out, 60% of peak weekly miles 2 weeks out, and essentially nothing but resting/stretching/eating right, the last week?

    • Michael Lanza   |  September 23, 2016 at 1:51 pm

      Hi James, really good question. You may be thinking this out even more than I do, but in general, I train on a four-week schedule, with week 1 being the easiest, building up to an exhausting week 4. And if I’m planning a big hike or climb, I schedule a taper week, or week 1, during the week prior to my hike or climb. In short, I taper for a week, but I’m training hard up until a week before the hike.

      That said, I’m also careful to avoid over-training. If I find that I’m not recovering from a workout within a day or two, and that I’m tired exercising even after a rest day, I dial back the workouts for maybe a week.

      Good luck with your rim to rim. Great hike. I hope you’ve seen my story about it: https://thebigoutside.com/a-grand-ambition-or-april-fools-dayhiking-the-grand-canyon-rim-to-rim-to-rim/

  4. JZ   |  March 13, 2016 at 4:53 pm

    Good tips. I will have to work some of these exercises into my morning routine.

    I would add that it helps to block some time first thing every morning to work on yourself. It can be hard the first couple of weeks, but once it becomes a routine, it is much easier to make sure the stretching and light exercise are done daily. A little morning mindfulness will also helps with getting better sleep and rest, as I try to wrap up work and life for those epic adventure holidays.


    • MichaelALanza   |  March 13, 2016 at 6:25 pm

      Good tip, JZ, I have a regular morning routine myself.

  5. Carl Gandolfo   |  March 13, 2016 at 4:26 am

    Great, great article…..will need to bookmark this link! I live in sunny, FLAT Florida and don’t have even hills at my doorstep. These simple exercises will work great for me, even as a basis to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Thank you again!!

    • michaellanza   |  March 13, 2016 at 6:06 am

      Thanks, Carl. You can train for the mountains anywhere.

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