I want to start trekking! How many times have I heard this sentence. Today trekking and hiking are terms that are increasingly replacing the word hiking. We know that in the end the English terms always end up having more appeal: to say I do trekking or I want to start trekking is much cooler than saying I go hiking or I want to start hiking.
But, beyond what you want to call the walk of several hours or more days on natural paths that are often not easy, the important thing is to start off on the right foot. For those accustomed to a sedentary lifestyle, starting to hike is not easy as sometimes it is not even for sports people with a good athletic background.
I’ve seen ski instructors, swimming instructors, good footballers, snorting and complaining about fatigue after just two hours of walking. In short, the first releases are hard for everyone and more than anyone abandons the idea of trekking for something less tiring. But are we sure we have adopted the right approach?
The perception that everyone has of fatigue is a strictly personal thing and can vary based on factors such as age, the type of life one conducts and training. Of these three factors, training is the most important one.
With the word training we refer to all those activities aimed at provoking in our body those adaptations thanks to which our performance can improve. These adaptations require time and constancy to occur, indeed I can safely say that the longer we have been dedicated to reaching a certain training threshold, the more lasting the benevolent effects of it will be.
Examples of this are the well-trained arzilli that sometimes happen to meet on the mountain trails. They are able to do much more with less effort than some young eighteen-year-olds from the sofa club! Despite their age, their physique has adapted to this type of effort over time.
Precisely for this reason, starting to walk in the mountains without a minimum planning can become a torture. Only after having reached a certain threshold of training will it be possible to fully enjoy what the mountain environment offers us without feeling too tired, drawing on each excursion also important health benefits. (see walking in the mountains is good for your health).
After this necessary preamble we immediately get to the point analyzing in detail what are the steps to take for those who want to start trekking, saving effort and blows to their self-esteem.
Five things to know to start trekking without dying from fatigue
The first approach to trekking must be gradual. As I mentioned at the beginning of the article even the well-trained sportsman in another sport can feel tired even after a few hours of walking. I met very well trained people in the race on the plain that once led to the mountains they dragged along the steep uphill paths. For a sedentary, walking along a simple uphill dirt road of a couple of kilometers may seem almost like a one-month trek for a trained trekker. Just to avoid loud blows and to stay in bed with my legs locked for the whole day following the first exit, my advice is to start with something very soft. I would say at least four excursions from 400 to 500 meters in altitude without excessively steep sections to do over a couple of weeks. After having overcome this first step without difficulty, you can begin to do something longer, roughly 700-800 meters (medium excursion) and then easily complete even hiking routes of 1000 meters in altitude and even more. Only you will feel when the right time has come! When you realize you are holding up a full day of walking, you can always aspire to do something for several days …
It makes no sense to take a long hike once a month and then lead a sedentary life where your legs only use them to make small trips. By doing so you will only get some scrambling and every time you find yourself at the starting point! Consistency is essential to achieve a good state of mind and then appreciate this wonderful activity without constantly thinking about the fatigue you are doing. Even if only on weekends you can give yourself the luxury of an excursion in the environment, don’t forget to use your legs with a certain regularity every single day. Do you usually take the car to go and buy bread? Leave the car in the garage and walk. Apart from this example, every opportunity is good for take a brisk walk in the open air every day. Everything helps!
Strength of the pass.
Start walking at a slow pace paying attention to your breathing. If you notice that you are in trouble after a few meters, your pace immediately slows down. This will help the cardiovascular system to adapt to new stresses. After a few minutes you will spontaneously feel the need to increase the pace of the walk. During the journey, get used to measuring your strength according to the length of the route you need to take. With time, training and experience you will see that you will be able to modulate the pace based not only on your needs but also on those of others.
Some break to rehydrate you during the excursion is fine but I strongly advise you not to take too frequent breaks. Repeated stop and go will make you lose the right rhythm. Also pay particular attention to the place to take the break: you prefer flat stretches over sloping ones so you can start off with less effort. During breaks if the temperature is low, cover well so you will keep your muscles warm.
Telescopic trekking poles
Especially at the beginning the telescopic trekking poles can help you. The advantages of using them during the excursions are summarized in this article of mine.
If it is true that every beginning contains a magic, starting to hike you will discover the magic of nature. Valleys, forks, mountains, brook forests will flow alongside you slowly in a succession of emotions. At the end of the day you will be tired but happy with the light in the eyes of those who have seen the infinite.