How to Do Everything: Tips to Become a Mileage Monster

Hike farther, faster, and pain-free with these training tips and exercise.

Photo: Thomas Barwick via Getty Images

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Build Lung Power

Want to turbo up the steeps? The key is interval training—short, intense bursts of aerobic activity. Add one or two interval sessions per week (with at least one rest day in between) to your normal, moderate-intensity exercise. Veteran adventure racer Jenny Hadfield suggests this killer routine (“Walk Faster,” 9/04). The workout Warm up for 10 minutes with jogging or jumping jacks, then run hard for three minutes—on an intensity scale of one to 10, shoot for an eight. Recover by walking for three minutes. Start with four reps and build gradually to eight.

Go the Distance

To amp up cardio endurance, mimic Ed Viesturs’ workout (“Climb Like Ed,” 10/05): Do five 30- to 75-minute aerobic workouts (running, power-hiking) a week. Stuck in a gym? Hit a stair climber with a weighted pack (start with 10 pounds and build to trip weight or five pounds more).

Prevent Shin Splints

These sharp pains often arise from overtraining. Treat Walk on your heels, toes pointed up, for 90 seconds or more; then stretch by pulling your toes into a pointed position for 30 seconds. Do three sets. Stretch your calves, too: Stand on a flat rock and let your heels hang down.

Banish Blisters

Should you pop? We settled this hot-button topic in April 2001. Yes, except for burn blisters. Here’s how Clean the blister, and puncture it with a sterilized pin. Cut a slit at the base, and massage out the fluid; leave the skin flap in place. Dab on antibiotic cream. Cut a donut-shaped piece of moleskin, place it over the blister, and cover it with another moleskin piece; secure with tape. Prevent Wear boots that fit (toes should wiggle and heels shouldn’t slip), keep feet dry with wicking socks (synthetic or wool), and rub Sportslick or Bodyglide on problem areas. If a hot spot develops, tape it ASAP.

Treat muscle cramps

The culprits: dehydration, fatigue, and low electrolytes, resulting in a sustained contraction. Treat Straighten the cramped muscle; stretch and rub it. At the same time, contract the opposing muscle. So if your hamstring spasms, contract your quads. Also, quaff a sports drink.

End ankle rolls

Improve balance and foot strength by doing the squats or lunges above with your eyes closed. Or while brushing your teeth, stand on one foot, eyes closed. To make your arch more supple, roll one sock-clad foot atop a golf ball for one minute. Eventually, you’ll be able to do this while standing.

Get that man a kilt

To decrease pack weight, former Editor-in-Chief Jonathan Dorn suggested, “Go commando. You’ll be cooler, drier, and less stinky” (12/02). When asked to recant, he dug a deeper hole: “TP x 5 days = 5 oz. Use snow!” Note to boss: TMI, dude.

Last updated April 2023

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