Tackle the Trail With These 6 Training Tips
So, you want to take on a mountain trail? Before you head to the hills, you want to make sure you are prepared for this type of hike. These six training tips can help make sure you arrive safely at your destination, no matter how high the summit.
Increase Your Activity
This should almost go without saying, but you really need to up your activity level when preparing for a difficult hike or climb. If you are very inexperienced, try hitting some local hiking spots to establish your current condition. Stick with flat terrain to start with; you can build up to working on hills and steep trails later on.
The goal of this step is simply to get yourself ready for the endurance you will need to have. Start by figuring out how long you can stay on the trail before you begin to feel worn out. Use that as your starting point for improvement. Aim for a reliable level of endurance that will carry you further than you think you will need. This way, if there are delays or unexpected side trips when you do go, you won't have to worry about stamina to finish the hike.
Eat for Success
You should also be eating to fuel your body for this increased activity. Consider adding a supplement that can help you meet nutritional needs. You might want to choose one like Le-Vel Thrive that can help you push through the aches and soreness that can accompany rugged hiking too.
Acquire New Skills
There are some things you simply need to know when hitting a mountain trail. Basics like forming a simple shelter, knot tying, and the ability to start a fire can come in handy if you find yourself lost or stranded. You might also want to learn how to navigate with a map and compass.
Safety skills that could potentially save your life, or that of your companions, include first aid for both minor and major injuries, water purification methods, and how to fully extinguish a fire.
Get the Right Gear
All the mountaineering skills in the world won't help you if you don't have the supplies to implement them. Make sure you have these essentials well before your trip so you can learn how to use them correctly. In fact, make plans to do a trial run close to home so you can be sure everything is operational and ready to go.
Water is crucial to your success on the trail, no matter how long or short your route is. If you aren't planning to carry all of your water in, make sure you have an appropriate water purification device that removes sediment, bacteria, and other microbes to make water safe to drink.
You should also plan on having basic rain gear, durable and supportive socks, shoes or boots designed to handle the type of terrain you visit, and a multitool to help with cutting, digging, and about everything else you can think of. Don't forget an appropriate pack to carry it all. You want a pack that can accommodate, at the minimum, rain gear, a shelter, first aid supplies, food, water or purification equipment, your tech gear, and identification.
Practice the Terrain
Once you have decided on a hike, get yourself acquainted with the type of terrain you will encounter. This is especially important in higher elevations, where lower oxygen levels can quickly cause health complications. If there will be heavy water crossings, prepare for those. Dry deserts with sand and wild temperature fluctuations? Make sure you are ready for whatever terrain and environment you are likely to encounter.
Know Your Route
Finally, make sure you know your route, and that you share it with someone who is not going with you. This way, if you do not return as expected, rescuers will know where to look for you. Carry a detailed map of the area and trail system so you can find an alternate route if necessary.
No matter what type of trail you are planning to take on, you want to do it properly and safely. Get your body ready slowly, and build up to the type of terrain you are likely to encounter. This can help you ensure a successful and enjoyable first mountain hiking experience, which hopefully lead to many more.
Ireland is home to more than 900 developed walking trails, encompassing a huge variety of terrain. Making Ireland something of a haven for hiking fans, reason enough to get out of the city for a while and enjoy the fresh air. From the Bray to Greystones Cliff Walk in County Wicklow to the Jean Kennedy Smith Walk in County Wexford, our beautiful country has something for everyone.
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