Get the most out of your charity trek or trekking holiday with our top 10 training tips. With many charities now offer trekking challenges, it’s no surprise to us that trekking is increasingly popular amongst girls who love the thought of a challenge or an adventure. By following the tips below not only will you be well prepared for possibly the experience of a lifetime, but you’ll enjoy it so much more as well.
Understand the Goal
Being properly prepared for your trek, especially if it is a team event , is priority. All members of your team or crew need to be on the same page when it comes to your event or holiday goal, whether that be to place, to finish, raise thousands of dollars for charity or to purely enjoy.
Get yourself in good shape to trek
The fitter you are before you embark , the easier your event or trek will be, no two ways around it! You will have spent a lot of time, effort and probably money too, to get to your event or trekking location, so it makes sense to get the most out of your trip by being in good shape .
Hydrate yourself frequently when walking
Whether you are training, competing or trekking in a hot climate or not, your fluid requirements will increase significantly. Losses on the breath and from sweating will serve to reduce your blood volume, resulting in your heart having to work much harder. By the time you feel thirsty you will already be dehydrated so try and drink small, frequent quantities of water throughout the day. Carry out the urine test to monitor your hydration: a pale straw colour indicates that you are well hydrated, anything darker means that you need to drink more. I have experienced team members being both dehydrated and over hydrated during long events and it is not only disappointing to be unable to finish your event, but both can be extremely dangerous!
Fuel your trekking
Similarly to hydration, your energy requirements will increase whilst you are trekking. Aim to eat frequent small meals and snacks on the go to maintain energy levels. During your training, experiment with foods that work for you and eating ‘on the go’, so that you get used to the foods you like and need and feeling of food in your stomach when you are moving. Don’t convince yourself you ‘just don’t feel like eating’, once again it can lead to serious problems and being unable to complete an event.
Start your trekking training early
Even if your planned trekking event/trip is 12 months away, it’s never too early to get started on your trek conditioning program. Look to build your strength and fitness and mobility through cross training, gradually, giving your body time to adapt to the new demands that you are placing on it. That way you can enjoy your trek training and avoid risking injury by trying to do too much too soon.
Build your strength
Leg strength is key for your trek, especially if the terrain is mountainous or the distance is long. Our advice in addition to trek training, which will strengthen your legs, try and include exercises that promote pelvic stability, postural and general strength. A properly designed training program can help prevent injury and also help with your ability to cope with the demands of difficulty of some events.
Build your walking training
Depending on the person walking training is the foundation of your training program and it is important to build steadily towards the sorts of distances that you will be doing on your trek. Initially intersperse training days with rest days. but as your fitness improves, look to include some ‘back-to-back’ training days, which will more closely replicate your actual trek.
Train on similar walking terrain
By mimicking the conditions that you will experience, as closely as you can, will help you avoid the common problems of trek style events or holidays. Train on similar terrain to that of your trekking location and build to at least one half of your daily trekking distance. Also, practice in the same footwear and clothes and experiment with a loaded backpack — it makes a big difference to your speed over the ground when you can avoid stopping often to fix problems such as chaffing & blisters.
Choose the correct footwear for your trek
Good quality and appropriate footwear for your trek and your walking training is essential. It is really different strokes for different folks here, but a supportive hiking shoe that suits your foot is of major importance. By making sure that your trekking shoes/boots are thoroughly broken in will help you avoid blisters, achilles tendon and other feet problems, sotest them thoroughly in training and not during your trek. Also a podiatrist during training can be a great friend to have!
Don’t forget your walking socks
The right boots with the wrong socks can ruin your trek so when trying on boots, wear the same socks that you intend to use for your trek. Look for materials such as Coolmax that has sweat wicking properties.
Practice using your backpack
It’s likely that you’ll be carrying items such as food, drink, spare clothing and possibly more, so your choice of backpack is important. Look for models with adjustable chest and waist straps so that you can position it correctly on your back and also with external compression straps so that the load doesn’t shift. More specialist types have removable bladders for liquid consumption on the go, but remember on a trekking holiday that water and washing facilities may be limited, so sterilisation may be difficult.
Use walking poles
Walking poles can make a big difference to your trek, they can save you up to 30% energy expenditure. Make sure they are lightweight though! They ease the load on knees and thighs on descents and give you ‘ extra legs’ on the steep climbs or if there is an injury. Once again though, use them during training to ensure they are right for you, sometimes if you want to travel faster they can be a hindrance.