Traveling Man: We’re going hiking pt. 1

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But I just can’t get this dreamin’ off me

It feels good to sit down here. I’ve been dabbling on this post all week and I think that’s my plan, work on them bits at a time unless I have that spark in my fingers.

But this one I definitely wanted to take my time.

So I mentioned in my last post that I’ve been doing some searching this year.

Words I hate: brave, courageous, resilient. I think some of my clients would agree, when we discuss these kinds of words it makes us cringe because we don’t think of our actions as this. These aren’t labels we easily allow to stick to us.

Phrase I’ve been holding onto for two years: do shit that scares me.

That started with competing in powerlifting, not just using that structure in my programming, it includes going hiking solo and giving myself permission to let go of things that didn’t serve me or fit me anymore.

That’s how I ended up here.

There’s a shitty misconception that those who help others don’t need help, but if you talk to therapists, trainers, RD and other coaches like me, we’ve been pulled to this work because of our experiences.

I’m a health coach and I also have to push myself to be better each day, give myself compassion, reflect on my own guidance.

I started hiking a few years ago. Around the same time I started dabbling with photography and now I do a bit more than dabble in both of these. I like to think of these are fun facts because they usually surprise people. I mean, it kind f surprises me sometimes too. I was definitely not this kid growing up and never really had the opportunity to be this kind of adult until recently-ish.

I can’t believe it’s only been two years. What is time?

After a year of hiking, I finally gave myself permission last summer to invest in a good pair of boots. I wear Merrell Moab’s. I have both a low cut and a midrise for ankle support, both are waterproof, which I highly recommend.

I preach footwear to all my clients, especially training clients because your feet are your foundation. If you don’t treat them kindly, you’re doing to fuck yourself up – and that’s less than ideal.

I’m not an expert and actually here are two Instagram accounts I follow (this one too!) that always give me ideas and inspiration about gear and food and other considerations, I also follow #hiking as well.

As an extrovert, I talk to people on the trail when I pass them or they pass me when I’m taking a break. I always learn something when I go hiking – and maybe that’s a metaphor for life too.

Take what you need, leave what you can. Kind of like paying it forward.

So let’s talk about getting ready for a day of hiking.

This post will be in two parts.

Part one: considerations I make for my strength training before and after as well as hiking selection. Part two: snacking + meals and hydration as well as a list for those of you who like to plan like me.

First, you CAN strength train and do endurance activities. The fun name for this person is the hybrid athlete. Essentially, integrating different training and nutrition protocols to support a variety of activities. I’ve had a number of clients participate in activities that challenge them in this way – we just have to think more strategically that’s all.

One of my favorite people to follow on Instagram is Alyssa Olenick, MS, CISSN – she talks about this a lot on her instagram.

Before you say, but I’m not athlete you should consider your purpose for your activities. There are a lot of people that I’ve worked with who would have never considered themselves athletes, but were training like one, which means nutrition and mindset need to align with that too. You may not have a competition or a race in your plan, but you can still train hard and push yourself and perform as any other athlete does.

It’s hard to say if this is the first thing I consider when I’m planning a hike, but it’s in the top 3.

I consider what training I’m doing before and after a hike – I look at not only the muscle groups, but the volume and weight. I also try to recall what my recovery looks like after these workouts normally. For me, training upper body has been ideal for before a hike, but lower body has been fine after with minimal adjustments and I do take a rest day after a hiking day. The rest day, however, isn’t just due to the hike, it’s also considering the driving and day as a whole. I drive between 2 to 3 hours each way to hike, that a lot of sitting.

Currently, I’m in a hypertrophy block, which means I’m doing more total volume, but the weight being utilized is less. My recovery has been quick and muscle soreness has been minimal. This has given me a lot of flexibility in choosing more strenuous and longer hikes.

I also consider the hike itself – the distance and level of difficulty I want to do. Remember this is 100% variable to you.

I’m still a beginner as far as hitting the trails, but I’ve found that I’m capable and comfortable completing up to 10 miles of moderate to strenuous trail. I didn’t start this way. I started with 2 to 4 mile loops that were level, easy or moderate.

While living in Massachusetts I would go to Wachusett Mountain a couple of times a week and explore the trails – often doing the same trails over and over working on improving my pacing and breathing so I could ultimately improve my pace, but get used to how to move my body when hiking because it’s different being the gym very different.

I love to research – I think many of you know that about me. Resources I use other than the state’s park and rec site include:

  • Gaia for iPhone
  • AllTrails (usually on my computer)
  • Maps I bought from REI + state parks
  • Facebook groups I’m in for hiking specific to my area (you can easily search for these)
  • Follow on IG: #hiking, #hikingadventures, #hikemore (not necessarily area specific, but you can get some cool ideas and see awesome shots)

I get torn between holding a map and playing with apps – I really enjoy sitting on my living room floor with a notebook looking at a map and see the topography – I also use technology A LOT so this is a nice break. The maps I have will list distances and level of difficulty of trails shown. Sometimes I use the maps along with googlemaps to see what’s nearby for breaks or to find fun food.

REI has a great selection of maps, but here in South Carolina, the state parks have maps available for purchase – not just for those parks but for regions here too like western North Carolina. This is my favorite map company so far. Their maps are for trails of Southern Appalachians so if you’re in this region these could be fun for you too.

Gaia is my favorite because it works when you lose service and you can use it when driving too. That’s definitely a precaution you need to take when traveling in rural regions and being on a trail, whether you’re alone or not. It’s free to use and you can record your adventures so you can see distance, pace and time as well some other metrics like elevation changes. You can also search trails that others have recorded too.

Asking advice from others is helpful, but remember like everything take what you need and adapt to you. Facebook groups are really great for this and one of those ones I’m in is only for women. They also host meet ups (I haven’t been to any yet), but that’s a great way to find someone to go out with.

Speaking of which, I’m looking forward to other adventures. I have a few overnights planned with the CRV – some solo, some with a friend. I have a former client to thank not only for the idea, but for giving me courage (ugh, that word) to do this on my own because I want to and I’m the only one holding me back. You can follow her here.