Trekking is notoriously difficult, typically crossing through barely-accessible terrain, and ranging in the timeframe from weeks to months. Given the arduous nature of the sport, it is fitting that some serious training is needed.
For beginners, this guide will take you through everything that you need to know about trekking and how to get started. This “trekking for beginners” guide is appropriate for everyone too.
You don’t even need to be currently active to learn from the tips in this article. By building up your fitness slowly, after a period of time, you will be ready to embark on your first trek.
But remember, the journey is not for the faint-hearted, and training for trekking will take every ounce of motivation you can muster.
But don’t panic, by taking it slow you can meet your goals, and reading this guide is the very first step.
This trekking for beginners” guide includes:
- GETTING SORTED WITH EQUIPMENT
- CREATE A CUSTOMIZED TRAINING PROGRAM
- TRAINING FOR LONG TREKS
Let’s dive into more details….
GETTING SORTED WITH EQUIPMENT
There is no getting around the fact that you’re going to have to invest in some equipment – and it needs to be of the quality that can withstand a trek.
For starters, a pair of hiking boots is mandatory, and it’s a good idea to go to professionals who can assist with finding the correct shoe for your foot.
Unfortunately when it comes to boots, investing in lower quality can result in injury – something to be avoided on a trek at all costs. In terms of gear, both boots and rucksacks should be prioritized as investment pieces.
These items will determine whether or not the body is able to function optimally, under the most challenging of circumstances.
Clothing is not as important, and while some trekkers prefer to wear tight-fitting athleisure, others are more comfortable in looser garments.
Lastly, you will need to invest in good quality camping equipment – able to withstand whichever weather conditions your future treks will take you through.
Camping equipment includes a tent, sleeping bag, roll-up foam mattress, and cooking equipment.
There is a fair amount of equipment and gear to be sourced for a trek, but for those of you who are new to exercise entirely, the key is to start with a pair of boots.
You can use these boots to train in, and during the time it takes to build up your fitness levels, you can invest in the rest of the gear bit by bit.
It’s a good idea to reward fitness progress with items destined for your ultimate trek. This ups motivation for training and helps keep beginner trekkers consistent with their goals. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s take a look at the training needed for success.
CREATE A CUSTOMIZED TRAINING PROGRAM
To achieve a trek (which could take weeks or months) your fitness is going to have to be on point. For the beginners out there, creating a customized training program is easier than you think.
But bear in mind that if you dive into the deep end (walking distances longer than you can handle), you put yourself at risk of injury.
Instead, the trick is to start slow, focusing rather a on consistency. Begin by committing to one or two walks a week, at a distance you feel challenged by.
5 km routes are a great starting point, and after a month of practice, you could well be on your way to 10 km walks.
Remember, the journey of trekking is not limited to the trek itself. Your psychological journey has already begun, and all that is needed now is a regular commitment to training.
As the saying goes, commitment is key, and this is because committing to exercise is harder than the exercise itself.
This means that in order to build fitness, it is more important to actually commit than to achieve lofty goals.
With the right amount of dedication, walkers can transition to hikers after a period of only a month. Hiking is one step closer to trekking, offering day and multi-day routes that can take weeks to complete.
With this in mind, it makes sense that joining a hiking group would be the next step in terms of building fitness. When venturing into the mountains for long walks, it is important to stick together, hiking only in groups of three or more.
This is in case of injuries and emergency situations – so that one person could remain with an injured person, while the third one goes for help.
Of course, the more members in a hiking group the better, and joining a group will assist with motivation. After joining the hiking group you can commit to regular hikes and build your fitness further.
TRAINING FOR LONG TREKS
It could be a matter of months before fitness levels are ready to take on hikes longer than a few days. At this stage hikers have entered advanced territory, and are strong enough to carry rucksacks full of equipment.
Rucksacks would weigh anywhere from 20kg upwards, and add considerably to the challenge of hiking and trekking.
The weight of a backpack is what separates hiking from walking, although beginner-level hikes can be less than a day’s duration. After hikers have comfortably achieved a two-week hike, it is time to progress to trekking training.
Trekkers (who are generally professional athletes) must block out weeks of time for training. It is not possible to trek for such a long period of time without having practiced beforehand. As trekking is significantly difficult, so too is the training.
It is also more difficult to find trekking groups, and you may need to take the initiative in your area.
By creating a simple Facebook group, you can found a trekking group for your town or city, and find teammates in the process. Trekking is considered dangerous for the same reason that hiking solo is thought to be risky.
For this reason, trekkers are often part of teams who train and trek together. Training in such teams involves pushing fitness levels beyond all borders and is not limited to exercises such as hiking.
All types of exercise are beneficial to fitness and can therefore be used as part of a training program for trekking.
Trekkers need to exercise and train daily, to build endurance for the tough sport. For this reason, trekkers may choose to train both alone and with team members, in order to optimize their timetables.
If you beginner in trekking, this trekking for beginners” guide will help you to start correctly and quickly.
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