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My plan is to go into the hike in as good of hiking shape as possible. I hope this will help to avoid injury, excessive soreness and exhaustion. Also, mentally, it should help with the difficulty in the beginning...it would feel horrible going into a big event like this and feeling run down from the beginning. Also, I want to push myself as much as possible on the trail, to be able to hike as many miles as I feel capable of doing. What has my training looked like?
I have been running on the road 3-4 times during the week, about 4.5 miles each time. And then on the weekends, doing as long a hike as I can on the trails by my house. This is how my training schedule has looked, in terms of the weekends:
Yesterday - 26 miles, 5,100 feet elevation
Last Sat: 12 mile trail run, followed by 4.5 mile run on Sunday
Sunday, Feb 6: 24.5 mile hike
Sat, Jan 29: 21 mile hike
Sat, Jane 23: 20 mile hike
Sat, Jan 15: 18 mile hike
Sat, Jan 8: 19 mile hike
In December, I increased my running to prepare for these long hikes. I feel like things are going well - I do feel I am getting stronger as I progress with my training. I am progressively increasing my weekend long hike mileage. I used to feel destroyed by a 19-20 mile hike, and now I have pushed that length out considerably. I am also hiking much faster than I was in January - I purposefully push the pace, to the point where I am hiking an average of 3 miles an hour for the entire hike, with just several very short breaks to grab food from my backpack.
My goal is to do a 30 mile day soon - it is made difficult because I need to get out very early in order to get back before dark. Yesterday, I got back right when it had turned dark...so I need to get out on trail around 6 or 6:30 AM to make it back in time. I feel like the longer I extend the length of my weekend the single-day mileage, the better. It is fun seeing how long I can go out for, and breaking my personal mileage records so consistently...painful, but satisfying.
I have two months left to train, as I leave for my hike on April 27th. Hopefully, March sees me pushing to 30 mile days, and increasing that one-day mileage as far as I can. There is no real training plan for a through hike, but this feels right at this point.