Obviously, I want to be in peak shape when I attempt to cross Scotland for two weeks. While I get out under pack on a regular basis – at least once a month – that doesn’t compare to 13 days of hiking in a row with minimal rest stops. Based on previous experience, this is as much a mental exercise as physical, but I want to make the physical aspect as easy as I can, given the fact that I won’t have time to take a week off and train before setting forth on the adventure.
My plan is to maintain and increase my usual weekly exercise regime (6 days out of 7) as follows:
– Workout 1 hour on the elliptical on days with limited time
– 6 mile round trip walk on the local greenway at least 2/week
– One long day hike – 10+ miles and 2000′ elev. 1/week
– Monthly weekend backpacking trips of 30+ miles
On the greenway walks I am going to start carrying a pack to help train. I already carry a pack on day hikes, but will increase the weight on that gradually to mimic my projected 20-25 pound full pack weight with food. My local state park (map above) has a good 10 mile loop with 2000 ft in elevation gain, and there are other options around within an hour or so – I think weekly visits to these areas will be key. I can’t simulate Scottish Highland terrain, but can come close within a couple of hours, and the weather is impossible to plan but I won’t cancel unless extreme weather (road conditions etc) prevent a trip.
I have set up a plan to increase from 25 to hopefully 50 miles per week by April and then maybe back off for the last couple of weeks to rest. Available time might make this impractical and things might change, but I need a plan and goals to keep me motivated rather than show up out of trail shape and reduce my enjoyment during a shake down period.
Regardless of how successful this training plan is, I will be in the best shape I can in May!