Friday, February 24, 2012

Hiking at the Gym

In a little over two weeks I will begin my thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail and I am looking for ways to maximize my workout potential. To that end, I've taken to wearing my loaded backpack when I'm on the treadmill at my gym (the NAC). The workouts have been great, and while it certainly isn't the same as hiking in the woods, backpacking on a treadmill has done a lot to prepare my body for the heavy load I'll have to carry for five-and-a-half months.

I am working hard to get back into the kind of shape I was in before my double hernia surgery six weeks ago, and I've been increasing the weight in my pack and the angle of inclination of the treadmill. (I'm up to 25 pounds in the pack, an inclination of 14°, a speed of 3 mi/hr, for durations of one to two hours and I'm feeling great!)

I certainly feel conspicuous walking into the posh gym lugging a big ole pack on my back. I don't get too many awkward stares, though, because I arrive at the gym when it opens at 5 (as usual) and then sneak into upper balcony through the empty spin room to do the workout. I leave the pack up there while I'm showering and grab it just before I leave.

I've done a lot of hiking and I think this method is great for folks training for the AT on a strict time budget.

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  1. Chris, We are so excited about your upcoming adventure! I think we talk about it daily. Do you have a suggestion for a site where I can purchase a map? I want to put one up in our kitchen so we can follow you on the map as well as the blog. The stories you will tell, the lessons you will learn and best of all, the experience. We will live through you. Your commitment and courage to do this is an inspiration to dream big, work hard and commit fully. Enjoy! Loree

    1. Thanks, Loree, for the kind words and encouragement! I'll see if I can find a map to send to you. In the meantime, check out my post entitled 'Stats Maps' for info on maps and following my progress. It will mean a lot to me to have you guys living vicariously through me.

  2. Amen Loree,
    Chris gave me a long fold-out map from the National Park Service. I am planning on tracking his progress as well. It is hanging in my office next to a scale map of Japan. He is essentially walking the length of Japan. My friends here are incredulous. Sugoi!
    If you can not have one sent to you visit this site and try to print-off this pdf.

    in your 'Doubts' entry you mentioned taking ownership of your thru hike and becoming empowered by besting the all too common obstacles in your path. How right you are! I was filled with doubts before challenging my Boards and it all clicked for me when I changed my mind set: do not go in there with a shield, go in there with a sword...and get blood all over the room.
    Know that with that first step from Springer Mt and those first steps to start everyday after that, know that you are going to kill it!

    Happy Birthday Josie!
    Don't eat any of the cake, Chris.


    1. Thanks for the pep talk and link to the map, Kyle. Have you heard about your Boards?