Get Macho for Machu Picchu: 5 Tips for Training for a Trek

Have you always wanted to walk where the ancient Inca tribes tread? To trek through rainforests and explore history like Indiana Jones? You can…and it’s not a hard as you think!

Here at EverGreen Escapes, many of our staff and guides are avid hikers. From backpacking through our own region to multi-day treks in Tanzania, Nepal and of course Peru, we’ve pounded pavement, mud-puddles and gravel gorges and loved every minute of it. All for you, our quests, so you can experience that same excitement in the great outdoors near home and abroad.

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The biggest apprehensions we hear from travelers are “Am I physically ready?” and “How do you train for a trek?”

So to help you prepare, we’ve compiled our top five tips for trekking. “The first step is you have to say that you can” – Will Smith.

1. Go the distance – gradually

While you might be gung-ho to get out on the trail for a 12-miler, take it easy. Gradually build up your strength and endurance because the last thing you want to do is injure yourself while training. And sitting in front to of the TV with your hiking boots propped up on the coffee table doesn’t count toward training. Try to go for a least one medium to long hike each week and slowly added extra miles as your departure date nears. Try to make your longest pre-trek hike a few miles longer than the longest expected day. Trekking isn’t about winning a race, but going the distance.

2. Add hills and stair running

While mileage is important, you also want to prepare your cardiovascular system for the elevation gain. When I hiked to Everest Base Camp, my biggest challenge was controlling my heart rate. Until you acclimate to the higher elevation, your heart has to work harder to circulate blood. Then when begin physical activity on top of that – like hiking – it can make even the mildest uphill sections feel like you are sprinting. By running hills or stairs before your trip, you can mentally and physically prepare your body for this increased stress and recover quicker.

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3. Train in your gear

You and your boots are going to be best friends on the trail. If you can’t make it an entire day without getting into a breakup brawl, you might want to think again about that relationship’s compatibility. Your hiking shoes should be a half to full size larger than your normal walking shoes with plenty of room in the toe box. When you descend, you don’t want your toes to hit the end of your boots. If you regularly get blisters, try a pair of sock liners. These help your feet to slide more evenly in your boots and reduce hot spots that might rub. Finally make sure to get out on several hikes with your backpack loaded up with all the gear you’ll need to carry – and don’t forget the water!

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4. Drink plenty of water

Speaking of water, try to drink 3-4 liters each day on the trail. Water will help you acclimate quicker and replace the liquid lost from heavy breathing in the thin, dry air at altitude. It will also keep your legs limber and help keep your immune system strong. A few days before you begin the trek (especially if you are already traveling) increase your water intake so that you are fresh and hydrated to start the exciting trip. Practice carrying the extra weight as you train and if you are going to backpack or trek in the wilderness, also practice using your water filtration system. Most popular international treks have potable water available.

5. Fill with healthy fuel

Just as important as water, your body also needs adequate and nutritious food – both when you are training and trekking. Pack snacks that are high in protein and calories and bring them on your training hikes. Eat a small snack every hour or so to keep your energy up. While you can often buy food for the trail at your destination, I like to pack a handful of trusty snacks that are familiar and my body is used to. I’m a big fan of trail mix, home-made granola bars packed with whole-grains, flaxseed, nuts and dried fruit, plus my candy of choice – gummy bears! Just remember to double-check the rules and regulations for transportation of food items across borders if you are trekking in another country.

Do you have a tip for first time trekkers? Leave a comment below!

One of the most extraordinary and rewarding treks on the planet, is the trek to the ancient civilization Machu Picchu. We’re incredibly excited to be leading our inaugural guided trek within an 11-day itinerary this fall. Check our website or call us to learn more about this once-in-a-lifetime journey.

Journey through Peru: September 24, 2014

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This 11 day, 10 night journey through Peru, will give you an in-depth understanding of this incredible destination.  Get acquainted with the culture through hands on activities such as cooking classes with a chef in his own home in Lima, to learning the ancient flat weaving techniques of Pisac, to participating in a Spiritual Pachamama Ceremony.  You’ll explore Lima, Cusco and the Sacred Valley, enjoying the best transportation and boutique accommodations, then hike from the Salkantay Trek to the crown jewel, Machu Picchu, an experience you will never forget.

Read the entire Escape Plan to see the trip’s exciting day by day itinerary.

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