T Nation

Hiking the Grand Canyon, Training Advice?


#1

Hey coach. One of my clients is planning on hiking the Grand Canyon in May. Do you have any recommendations for performance/injury prevention? She has over a year of weight training experience. Thanks.


#2

Nice. I’ve seen guys training for hikes using the stairclimber while wearing a backpack.


#3

How much of the Grand Canyon is she planning on hiking? If she’s just hiking down and doing a couple small hikes at the bottom and coming back I would suggest just walking more, especially if you have hills in your area. Maybe walking on the treadmill at the highest incline without using any hands to hold on. (See this all the time and don’t get it, totally defeats the purpose).

Hiking down and back same day isn’t that bad, did it on a whim last fall. Planned on heading to Devils lookout and back after a late start but just decided to go all the way. Not that difficult, just a long walk, more of a mental exercise than physical, because most of us, myself included never walk more than 30 minutes straight. May is perfect weather for it too.

Ran into two guys that started on the south rim, hiked down and up the north rim, back down and up the south rim for a full round trip in the same day. That would take some training


#4

I did a July rim-to-rim hike in 3 days without any training on the North Kaibab trail and Bright Angel Trail. The trails were all pretty easy, with switchbacks carved into the rock and an easy grade. I’ve hiked many mountains in New England that were more difficult. The Grand Canyon hike was actually quite leisurely. But we also prepared, hiked in the early morning, rested at peak sun exposure and took an easy trail. I encountered quite a few incredibly stupid and reckless people on that trip doing things that are easily avoidable.

Don’t hike in high heels. Or Vans. Don’t carry a 30-pack of beer to the campground outside of Phantom Ranch when you can buy cold beer there. Don’t pack a 20 pound Wal-Mart tent. Have moleskin. Go as light as you can, we ditched our tents and slept exposed on inflatable pads. The forecast was helpful in this decision, make sure to check it. Know where your water supply points are, plan accordingly. Bring something nice like a cigar and some bourbon.

Not all Grand Canyon hikes are the same. I took an easy route and had a fantastic time. I ran into some guy from Germany who was doing a rim-to-rim run on the same day. He called himself a “rim runner”. I think his training and preparations were quite a bit more extensive than mine.


#5

I’ve found that dead lifting hits the same muscles I use for walking uphill or with a loaded pack.


#6

Get the miles in during training, getting accustomed to walking lots.

And prioritise good fitting walking/running shoes and good socks - I’ve been 50 miles in and stopped due to excessive blistering that could have been minimised early on, learnt my lesson.

I appreciate that sounds obvious but I think the basics are important.

Stairmaster sounds good, one of the hardest hikes i did was miles of steps up the side of a Chinese mountain, had to learn to grind through and not stop.