Now before you tell me how crazy I am, hear me out. It’s not that I am doing nothing at all; it’s just that I’m not doing much more than my normal fitness routine. My goal is to be in good shape when I hit the trail, but I have accepted that those first few weeks will be really tough on my body. And that’s OK.
I’ve heard from several successful thru-hikers that the only way to prepare for carrying 30 extra lbs. up the side of a mountain day-after-day is to just get out there and do it. If it were at all possible for me to hike several days a week, I would absolutely do it. But like most people, I work 5 days a week and on the weekend I have things I need to get done. So, I compromise on training and settle for what I can fit into my schedule.
My basic workout plan right now is running 6-7 miles a few times a week and getting out for a long hike each weekend. Now that I’m only 2 months away from the AT, I am also going to add weight lifting back into the mix. I have a love/hate relationship with weights and I get bored easily when I’m indoors, but I’m going to majorly regret it if I don’t build up some muscle before I hit Springer.
I’m also rediscovering yoga and loving it. One of my goals on the hike is to make sure I stretch often in order to take care of my muscles & joints. Learning the building blocks of yoga now will definitely benefit me on the trail. I daydream about waking on a mountaintop and using yoga to prepare for the day ahead.
So there you have it. I guess you could call it “training lite” because it’s not like I’m straight off the couch, but I’m basically just exercising like a normal person. Come April, the mountains will OWN me. I will be intensely sore and tired in those first few weeks. And I must be crazy, because it sounds downright awesome.
If you're interested in reading more about physical training for an AT thru-hike, I suggest reading this article on WhiteBlaze. It's long, but it's packed with great advice for all kinds of training plans. It's written by several successful thru-hikers and gives a range of perspectives.