I am leading a crew to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. We are covering 115 miles in 10 days and summiting four peaks around 12,000 ft. What workouts would you recommend to prepare 12 guys
around the age of 16 for this trek?
As you know, many books have been written to answer the question how do I get in shape for the trail. But I am willing to throw a few ideas your way:
Walk a lot. Work up to where you can walk two miles in 30 minutes or less on relatively flat terrain. Then change your walking route to add hills. Then start walking with a pack on your back–and add weight to the pack with each workout until you can carry, say, about 10 pounds more than you think your Philmont pack will be at its heaviest. When you can walk two miles in 30 minutes under a heavy pack on varying terrain, I think you’ll be ready for just about anything your summer can throw at you.
Of course there’s nothing wrong with jogging. I just think walking with a pack gets you ready to walk with a pack, and jogging makes you a better jogger.
Be sure to do some gentle stretching after your walks while your muscles are still warm.
And a few weight lifting exercises will improve your performance as well. A general workout with weight is okay, but I recommend they include arm lifts, lateral arms lifts, and bending lateral arm lifts to be sure your shoulders are adequately strengthened for the weight of a pack.
The higher altitude will also create a threat. I strongly recommend spending several days below 10,000 feet before you take on the first 12,000-foot peak.