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Get Fit for the Trail | Four elements

Women in the mountains

Have you got a big hike planned this summer

Have you got a big hike planned this summer or do you simply want to get out into the mountains more and feel fitter and have more stamina so that you can appreciate the scenery and surroundings more?

Hiking is definitely a real leveller - even a marathon runner with a good base fitness might struggle when they start on a mountain ascent- it's a totally different type of exertion, using different muscles and requiring a great deal of stamina.

The same way that you wouldn’t run a marathon without training for it, you wouldn’t undertake a big hike without any training... Hiking longer stretches and carrying weight that you are not used to over a prolonged period of time, can be a recipe for a miserable trek and even worse end in injury.

The great news is though, that if you can walk, you can hike and it’s just a case of building up strength and fitness- and this part can be just as fun as the journey itself.

Here are a few tips for preparing for this journey.

1. Get Trail Fit


Get trail fit with targeted training for hiking.

  • Build trail fitness into your daily routine- even if for just for walking an hour during your lunch break or taking the stairs instead of the lift and escalators.
  • Complete some form of cardio-vascular training 3 x a week 30- 45mins to build stamina and endurance to get further on your hiking days.
    Suggested activities: running (if possible on trails), biking, swimming or other aerobic exercise
  • Build strength & balance (2 x a week) - having strong leg and core muscles will give you more power and stability - especially when carrying a rucksack and on uneven terrain.
  • Go for a hike! Go at least once a week for a longer hike - incorporating ascents if possible.

2. Build up hikes gradually

Women in the mountains

Build up hikes gradually. First hike of the 2019 season with Trail Fit Club.

How far to the summit?
Only another 100m..
100m later along the trail… where is the summit??!
Ah yes, I meant ascent

In hiking terms when we talk about the length of a hike, the elevation is just as important as the distance and soon you will start thinking of hikes in terms of ascent as opposed to distance. Until you start hiking it is hard to get a feel for how this feels physically and impacts your timing. But once you have been out a few times then you will get a feel for your pace and your stamina, so that you can judge a suitable hike and your timings.

The best plan is to start with an easy hike and build up from there. Here is a good day hike a short train ride from Munich to give you an idea: Hoher Kranzberg, Mittenwald.

We completed this as our first hike in the Trail Fit Club 2019 season. For more details about Trail Fit Club 2024 click here: Trail Fit Club 2024

As you gain confidence and build fitness, start gradually adding in extra weight and get used to carrying the amount of weight you will be carrying on the tour.

3. Rest, recovery & Relaxation

Pig in the mountains

Rest, recovery & Relaxation

Don’t forget that your body also needs time to rest and recover. Long descents in particular can lead to sore and tight leg muscles. A great way of supporting recovery and long-term muscle health is through some form of stretching activity such as yoga. I also start every day with 15 minutes on my foam roller- this does a lot for stretching out those tight muscles.

Looking to get fit for the trail this summer and head to the mountain in good company? Then check out our Trail Fit Club- back for the fifth year- fun, fitness and friendship in the mountains...

Trail Fit Club

Or maybe you’re looking for a goal for your fitness training this summer? Check out our Transalp Trek:

Wild Switzerland Trek, Switzerland
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