A year ago I grabbed a life list opportunity to hike the final 50 miles of the John Muir Trail and finish on the summit of Mt. Whitney. The only problem was I wasn't in shape to backpack those miles at that altitude with a heavy pack. So the first thing I did was buy the airplane ticket; I was committed.
And did it take commitment to get up early and make the time to get in shape. I only had 12 weeks, but I figured if I started small I could build up. I started the day after I bought my ticket with Monday morning 1 mile run before work! And added a mile every week. I kept a log, and somehow I managed to find over an hour every day to train.
I trained by hiking with increasingly heavy packs. I snowshoed with weights in my pack. I cross trained. Then when I wasn't losing weight I went back to the last diet that worked for me: the South Beach Diet. And I trained the muscle specific groups I'd be using on the trip by finding the longest, steepest local mountains to climb.
While the trip didn't quite turn out as planned, I did lose 17 lbs, immensely increased my stamina and strength, packed 50 miles, and summited Whitney. And I felt great doing it!
training for long distance hikes.