Do you ever hiked so long that you thought that your legs are going to fall off? Or do you ever been hiking that long that you could not walk, literally? Majority of us been in these type of situations and we are facing them time to time. But what we have to do to run away from them?
In this article I will briefly talk about hiking long or even super long distances.
Last weekend I with my friend decided to hike around 50 km (31 miles).
We get up early in the morning went to train station and bought one way ticket outside the city, to the place that is around 50 km (31 miles) from our home. So at 9 am. we started our hike home.
Beginning of our hiking trip was slow and after a while our pace raised up. After about 20 km I was starting to get a “feedback” form my legs and my head started to flow up with thoughts, “why I am doing this?”.
You often facing this type of thoughts in the hard traveling trips when you are on the limit. In this trip my limit came really fast.
When we there already close to the city and after about 37 km (23 miles) I started to feel a huge pain in the back of my left leg. After about 1,5 km (1 mile) I could not walk any more. So we called for help and one of my friends came to pick us up with his car.
So the question is what did I do wrong this time? Even then my record hike is around 80km (49.7 miles) in one day and what advice can I give you about long hikes.
The most important item in your hiking gear is shoes. If you have bad shoes you could stop after 5 km (3,1 miles) even if you are capable to hike a lot more.
At the moment there is a lot of brands and a lot of different types of hiking shoes so it is hard to pick the right one. My advice buy hiking boots that has water repellent fabric and are comfortable for you. If you are going to hike in the difficult terrain chose stiffer sole shoe and the opposite for hiking in the light terrain.
Clean up your shoes after every hike and look around then because it is the most important piece of gear in your trip. And please don’t be greedy when you will buy them, you are going to thank me for this advice later 😉
Comfortable clothes are really important also if you like adventurous traveling you are probably have some in your closet already.
Underwear – my advice try to use half natural half synthetic underwear, some think with merino wool would be perfect and the same goes for your hiking socks.
Pants – in my traveling trips I prefer pants because if you are hiking through forest they will protect your legs from scratches and you would feel better. Choose pants that do not restrict your natural movements also look for more durable models they will hold on longer.
Jacket or sweater – If outside is cold put on jacket or sweater. For sweater I prefer light fleece because it is warm and dries quickly. For jacket it depends at what temperatures you are going to hike. For warmer temperature look light wind resistant jacket for colder look for extra insulation.
Rain jacket – if you are going for the long hike take with yourself light rain jacket. You will never know 100 percent when the rain starts to poor.
Eating the right food at the right time is important at your hiking trip. When you hike for a long time you have to think about what food in what proportion and when to eat it. You need the right food for energy and for recovery.
My advice when you get up in the morning eat some complete carbohydrates. I personally like something like granola or oatmeal. Remember that the breakfast is most important food of the day. After you eat your food drink cup of tea or coffee and you are ready for the trip.
At the hike take with your self carbohydrates that will give you energy. I like to take with myself few bananas, cookies and few candy bars. Also take with yourself something for recovery like protein bar or something like that.
Eating right food on long hikes is important but eating it at the right time is even more. My advice to you eat every hour even something small banana or few cookies that way you will not waste your energy levels. Eat like that and also at lunch time stop for the rest and eat some serious food that will recover you. For lunch I recommend slow digesting carbohydrates and protein.
Resting at your hiking trip is important but you have to know how to do it correctly because your body has a rhythm and you have to look to be in the right one.
Basically your body has two rhythms, the first one is resting and the second is “attack” and you want to be as long as possible in that one.
When you start hiking don’t do small rest stops like 5 to 10 minutes it is bad, because your body thinks that you starting to rest and it turns on resting rhythm and when you start to hike after 10min stop it is really hard to go to the right rhythm.
My advice go from 2 to 3 hours and then stop for 30-60 minutes for rest. Sit down eat some food and relax. Also I prefer to rest less the longer I go. At the beginning I am resting every 3 to 4 hours about 1 hour and after about 10 hours of hike I’m trying to rest less. Why? Because if you stop after 10 hours of hiking it is probably that you will not go any longer and even if you go it will be extremely hard to do.
You also can rest when you hike just drop the tempo a bit and it will help for some time. Also if you are hiking near the lakes or rivers jump in to or just put your foot in the water if it is cold it will freshen you up.
In the beginning of this article I briefly talked about my 50 km (31 miles) hiking trip. The main reason why I couldn’t finish it was that I wasn’t prepared for such a long hike.
If you are planning to do extremely long hike evaluate how well physically prepared you are. After winter my physical form wasn’t at its best and because of that I had to finish my hike earlier.
So before you are planning to go on long hike try to go at least 50 percent of that hikes distance and if it was a piece of cake only then try to go for that extremely long hiking trip.
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