The key to my success in this endeavor will be training, training and more training. Right now, if I were to grade the shape I am in, overall I would say a C+ / B-. For hiking shape, I am I would pull about a C-. One thing that people don’t realize is that hiking can be very brutal on your body. A lot of pounding, carrying heavy packs, difficult balance and so on. After long difficult hikes your entire body can feel wrecked. For this particular adventure you need to be at an A+ for overall shape and an A+ for hiking shape.
The training plan is comprised of two major pieces. First is overall fitness. About three months ago, before I thought about this project, my friend Megan convinced me that it was time to get into yoga. So I have been steadily working on my practice (under the amazing tutelage of the Greener Postures Yoga instructors). In addition, I have started running again and it is almost time to bust out the bike from the basement. A daily routine of mixing in biking, running and yoga will help me in my overall fitness.
The second part is getting back into hiking shape. The Hiking Plan is a work in progress that currently resides in the very capable hands of Ben one of my closest friends and long time partner in crime for far too many shenanigans. Not the least of which has been many, many, many, many hikes over many, many hundreds of miles. Based on his experience and knowledge as well as our long history together, knowing all of my strengths and weaknesses, he is the perfect architect for this program.
Initially the goals for my training hikes will be two fold:
- Add about 1000 feet of elevation gain per month to build up the strength and stamina and
- Hike for speed. We will be setting pace times for the training hikes that they have to be completed in.
At this point we know that speed is the absolute biggest hurdle to clear and being able to maintain that over a long sustained climb is our barrier. Right now I judge my average pace to be about 1 mph. This is slow (very slow). For the Traverse I need to get up to about 2 mph so that we can travel the 20+ miles in about 16 hours. On top of that, we need to build in being able to have the strength, stamina and strength to plow through elevation gains which total about 9000 feet.
The plan is still in the infancy stages of being developed. We are looking at the timing, structure, measurable metrics, etc. All with the goal of being able to complete the Traverse in one day.
This is going to be hard.
First hike is tomorrow. We’ll see how it goes.