Your Quest for Adventure, Part Two: Your Mind Is Ready and Willing, But Is Your Body?3 min read
In our first post, we discussed the plans you need to make and items that you need to bring in order to get the most out of your adventure trip. In addition to having the right clothing and equipment, it is equally necessary to be physically prepared for your adventure. Training for an active vacation is similar to training for any other test of physical endurance. Once you have a clear understanding of how rigorous your daily activities are going to be, you need to set a training schedule that will help you set benchmarks and meet your goals.
Start by being real. The excitement of your trip tends to give you a false sense of your own endurance. Imagining the trek might make for an exhilarating first training session, but will probably result in blisters, painful muscles, exhaustion and possible injury which could impact your training in the long run. It particularly holds true when you are ramping up an activity you often do at a low intensity (like walking). Consult with a trainer, ask an expert or use the internet to access one of the many sites available to help you set realistic short- and long-term goals.
Map out a plan and track your progress. Create a schedule that breaks down the necessary work you need to do each day, week and month leading up to your trip. These goals should gradually increase in intensity. Track your progress regularly. You can track your data using new technology like the Fitbit or you can track it on paper or online on one of the many websites dedicated to getting fit.
Practice on a variety of terrain and weather conditions. Be prepared for the possibility that you will have to contend with the elements on your trip: rain, wind, fog and uncomfortable temperatures. If you’re walking, biking or hiking, you never know if you’ll be going through grass, gravel, dirt or mud, so create training routes that include these surfaces and a variety of terrain.
Cross-train. Create at least one workout per week that does not focus on your core regimen. This allows you to keep building your cardiovascular strength while giving key muscles a bit of a break. Perhaps a trip to an aerobics or dance class or the local pool is in order. Swimming, for example, is a great counter balance to walking, biking and hiking. It is a non-impact activity that can actually help your joints and leg muscles recover from the stress they’ve been undergoing.
Stretch, stretch, stretch. This can’t be stressed enough. Tight muscles often lead to injury. Start your workout with a light five minute warm up and then stretch gently to prevent injury during the rest of your session. Stretch after your workout for flexibility; there are many easy stretches that you can perform anywhere. Yoga is a great way to keep limber and cross-train for those who are likely to be slack about stretching.
Train with the equipment and clothing you’ll be using on your trip. Though it is tempting, do not buy brand new footwear or clothing right before your trip. If not broken in, footwear can cause painful blisters and clothing could be uncomfortable or inhibitive.
Take some breaks. Give yourself at least one to two days each week from training and lower the intensity of your workouts the week before your trip. Doing your most intense workout right before your trip could result in muscle burnout and physical exhaustion for the start of your journey.
And while on your trip, remember to eat well, get adequate rest and stay hydrated!