Preparing for the PCT: Training

How do you train to walk 2600 miles?

I’m a professional dog walker, so I walk a couple of hours every day. That’s the bulk of my training. I also bike and run, but not every day. I used to do intense cardio every day, but then when I started dog walking so much I stopped feeling like I needed to. It’s funny, last summer when I went backpacking with Finn, dog walking had been my main form of exercise for a couple of months, and I was worried about my fitness level for the trip. I was like, how can I be in shape for backpacking? I’ve only been walking. And then it was the easiest trip I’d ever done, and not just because my pack didn’t weigh 40 pounds. I was so fast. Not fast by thru-hiker standards, but definitely the fastest I’d ever been. It was amazing how easy it felt to hike. And it was because I’d been walking everywhere.

I read about how other people train for the PCT, and it seems like they mostly… don’t. Some people ride a stairstepper every day after work for a few months, some people put on their packs and walk around the city a little bit. But mostly people just find the right gear that won’t injure them, and the right shoes that won’t give them blisters, and then they go to the trailhead and…. walk. And for the first few weeks they’re slow, and then they get faster. At the beginning of the trail there’s leeway for this.

Actually, I have been doing something besides walking. There’s this giant staircase near my house that’s cut into a hill, and I’ve been running up and down it. Afterwards my calves are so sore they feel like they’re cramping. It might be too much unnecessary stress on my knees, though, so I might give it up. I might just keep…walking.

Readers! There are 16 days remaining on my kickstarter, and $2800 left to raise. The campaign is $300 away from the magical 30% tipping point, after which its chances of success go up to 90%. I did a little math- there are 112 people following this blog (that means you get an email alert every time I post- if you’d like to be added just scroll to the bottom of the page and put your name in the little box). If each one of you special people on my mailing list told three people about the kickstarter, and each of those three people pledged $8 to get a paperback copy of my PCT book at cost, then the campaign would be funded! Magic, right?

Help me make the magic! I want to hike the PCT and share it with you! Here is the link for you to share-

And remember, the way kickstarter works is if the project isn’t funded in its entirety, I don’t get any of the money. And then I won’t get to walk 500 miles through the desert, and tell you about how swollen and awful my feet are, and how dehydrated I am. Don’t you want to hear about how dehydrated I am?!

2 thoughts on “Preparing for the PCT: Training

  1. before hiking the AT my backpacking experience was pretty much non existent. in fact, i had never even heard of the AT until I was listening to Whole Wheat Radio (where you and Tara read stories) and the DJ mentioned it to a favorite folk singer of mine (Utah Green). I almost followed my ex’s advice and was about to hike with a fucking alice pack, thank fuck I didn’t. I hiked around town with a bunch of blankets and gallons of water in my pack. I read EVERYTHING on whiteblaze. but I don’t think anything could prepare me for the 100 mile wilderness after a week of rain, it rained every goddamn day we hiked that section and we had to ford four rivers of ridiculousness if you can picture me with my heavy ass pack (50 lbs WTF) trying to ford waist high rapids…oh yeah. then I burned the heels off my boots trying to dry them off by the fire. I threw a little bitch fit after that.

    you’re super badass tho, i’m sure you won’t have a problem. I wish lots of trail magick for you.

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