Are you one of those hiking enthusiasts who feels that you can do more on your hike but don’t? Do you feel like you’re not using your full potential and that you can walk longer and faster? Well, if you can, you should!
Luckily for you, this is an excellent time of the year to up the level of your hiking. The weather is perfect, the landscapes are fantastic in the spring, and after the long winter, you’re more motivated to exercise than ever. All you need is the will and courage to achieve more.
For many years I was hiking on a trail that’s close to my home. Yes, it was convenient, and it had good paths and landscapes. But after a few times hiking on the same trail, I got bored. The distance was short, and very soon by body got used to it and I barely got tired while walking it.
One day I decided to push myself, and try to walk further on the same trail. I walked for a few hours, and at one point I saw a sign that said that I was seven miles away from my starting point. I decided to go back on the same path.
When I got back my body was all right, I felt great, and I’ve walked for 14 miles. Amazing! From that point on, I challenge myself to more miles, tougher trails, and different terrains.
If you want to hike trails and increase your distance and endurance, here are few tips on how to start.
Before heading out, do a little research and pick the best trail for you. Hiking on unfamiliar trails is always a good idea, but make sure that it’s marked or you have a map that covers the area you’re walking.
Search for routes that are longer, 8 to 10 miles, and possibly with some hills so you need to dig in. The aim is that you achieve more distance with tougher terrain and this will help you become a stronger hiker.
Make sure that you start your hike early in the morning so that you have time to explore and even get lost a few times!
When you want to go further on your hike, you have to know how to keep up a good pace. It’s crucial to take good deep breaths so you get enough oxygen to feed your muscles. If you feel tired and out of breath you might have to ease off on the effort you’re putting in, there is a simple trick to check if you need to slow down.
Try saying these seven words out loud: “Seven-words-in-one-breath-without-problem.” If you can’t say them, it means that you’re pushing too hard, and you need to slow down.
I learned that it helps me to mumble a simple song that has a certain rhythm. I set my pace to that rhythm.
If you want to build up your endurance, then running on the trail is an excellent way to do so. Just make sure that you wear the right shoes, and carry less food and gear with you so that the weight you’re carrying is reduced.
If you are new to running start your hike by walking for about 30 minutes, this will help you warm up. Make sure that you only jog when the terrain is flat. When it gets steep, rough, or slippery, walk it.
Try not to get carried away with the running. Make few stops to check your map, and to see if you’re on the right track.
Bear the discomfort
As with every other sport, there are moments when we feel discomfort and we push ourselves to achieve more, this is normal and it means that you’re making your body work. As long as it’s not an injury you should work through it, it will eventually go away. Try slowing down or take a short break if you cannot handle it. But try to avoid stopping.
If the discomfort turns into pain, you should stop immediately. In that case, start stretching, or walk slowly on the trail. If you’ve overdone yourself, you might feel a sharp pain in your feet, knees, or joints, this is probably because you’ve over stressed your body, make sure you take things slowly to start with.
As you see from the above, hiking longer trails with more effort is not as difficult as you might think. It’s easier if you have the motivation and the will to achieve more. So, the next time you go hiking, push yourself and sweat a little bit more. You’ll feel fantastic at the end, and you’ll be safer and be able to tackle new trails.
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We live in a beautiful world, get out there and enjoy it.
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