Hiking tips

How to Start Hiking – Tips for Using Hiking as Cross Training

Thinking of cross training for runnersusual activities that come to mind are cycling, swimand some form of strength training, such as weightlifting or bodybuilding exercises. Another great way to supplement your exercise routine? Get out on the trail for a hike.

Not only does hiking present unique and challenging physical challenges, but it can also relieve stress as you explore new places and connect with nature, your body will appreciate a break from the repetitive motions of running.

“Hiking activates different muscles and puts less strain on the joints than running on the pavement,” says Marvin Sandoval, endurance trainer, athlete, and donkey racer based in Leadville, Colorado. “Using secondary muscles for stabilization while hiking can actually help prevent injury; for example, putting your weight on your heels on steep climbs activates the buttocks and puts less strain on the calves and Achilles tendons.

Runners who focus on hard workouts may consider hiking a leisure activity, but it’s not always a walk in the park (so to speak). According to a professional marathon runner Nell Rojashiking can be a valuable cross-training exercise, especially beneficial for ultrarunners who naturally use it in the uphill portions of their runs.

“Power hiking can make you increased heart rate to aerobic zones or even threshold and is a type of strength endurance if it involves a lot of climbing, she explains. “It’s also great for those who aren’t able to do high mileage due to injury. they get the benefits of training without all the pounding.

Whatever your motivation, whether you want to mix up your training for a future race or are just looking for a fun and different way to challenge yourself, hiking is a great option for any runner. Here’s how to start.

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find trails

When exploring the best outdoor adventure areas near you, be sure to do some research on your route of choice before you hit the trail. Word of mouth is an easy and reliable way to learn about fun local trails. Consult outdoor friends who can point you in the right direction (and possibly go with you), join online hiking communities, or post on social media asking for recommendations for good beginner hiking trails in your area. .

Some appsto like All trails, will provide a variety of options by displaying known hiking spots near your location. Look at the photos, ratings and descriptions of each trail so you can make an informed decision. Beginners would be wise to try those rated as “easy” before attempting any of the “moderate” or “difficult” routes.

“Start with lower ranges of hills before moving to higher peaks,” suggests Ben Walker, personal trainer and fitness specialist at Fitness anywhere at Dublin. “Progress should be slow, so consider mapping your destinations this way when you’re just starting out as a hiker.”

what to wear

Once you’ve chosen a trail, the next step is to check the weather forecast so you can plan how long your hike will take (shorten it if lightning is in the forecast!) and determine how you will equip yourself.

Similar to run in the cold, layer up if you’re going out in cool weather – you can always take your jacket off while the exercise warms you up – and for warm weather outings, opt for light, breathable clothing that won’t chafe your body while you you rush the path. Rojas shares that her hiking wardrobe isn’t much different from what she wears on a run. “I like short and steep hikes, so I don’t need anything too crazy: I carry solomon trail running shoesnormal racing ups and downs, and whatever hat I can find.”

Trail running shoes often feature grippy studs and rock slabs, making them well suited for casual hikes. However, if the terrain you’ll be facing is rougher or rockier than you’re used to, a solid pair of hiking boots might be a better choice. Try both types of shoes to find out your preferences, always choosing socks with cuffs that go above the collar of the shoe to avoid blisters.



Stay fueled and hydrated

Again, hiking protocol is similar to running protocol when it comes to proper nutrition. Sandoval recommends consuming lots of calories just like you would on race day. Hydration habits, on the other hand, can vary depending on weather and altitude. “As you go up in altitude, you should drink more,” he says. “Try to aim for about 20 ounces of water per hour; it’s easy to forget to drink enough while hiking.

Wear one hydration bag with the garden hose floating easily over your shoulder is a perfect way to keep sipping on the go, and it can serve the dual purpose of holding your snacks. Trail mixes, gels, fruit gummies and protein bars are easy to pack and are good sources of calories when your energy drops.



Stay safe on the trail

The hike presents different challenges in an environment that is less predictable than some runners are used to, so take the right precautions to stay safe. Before you get started, make sure you:

  • Tell someone where you’re going or bring a friend
  • Check the weather forecast to avoid getting caught in a storm
  • Choose a route that suits your abilities, study the map and follow the signs
  • Bring enough water and food
  • Prepare a first aid kit

    If you are concerned about wildlife, do some research on any animals you might encounter on the trail you are hiking. Sandoval’s advice? Wear a whistle and don’t walk too slightly over time. “Wildlife is not there to catch us. Try to make some noise during your hike, don’t be intentionally quiet.

    And, in the interest of injury prevention, reserve difficult hikes when you haven’t done long runs or intense training sessions in the past 48 hours. It’s best to rest or go on low-key hikes when your body is repairing itself after an intense workout.

    “I don’t hike when I’m training for a big race because my legs are maxed out with a pretty strict training plan,” says Rojas. “But I love hiking in the off-season. It gives me a chance to slow down and enjoy the outdoors that I usually zoom through.

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