Canadian Running

Train­ing Zone

The Multi-Day Back­pack­ing Trip

- By Chantelle Erick­son Sports · Running · Lifestyle · Healthy Living · Hiking · Fitness · Lifehacks · Walking · Athletics · Travel · Outdoor Hobbies · Hobbies · Alberta · Mountain Equipment Co op · Travel Gear · Lethbridge

Many peo­ple think of hik­ing as glo­ri­fied walk­ing. But when you add a weighted back­pack to a long, hilly walk, you get a fan­tas­tic work­out. Do this over suc­ces­sive days in the wilder­ness, and it won’t just be your mus­cles that ben­e­fit – the multi-day pack trip is an un­beat­able phys­i­cal and men­tal work­out for any en­durance chal­lenge, from a half-marathon to a 100-miler.

My run­ning part­ner and I em­barked on a back­pack­ing trip ( 70 miles over five days) be­cause we wanted a fun ad­ven­ture af­ter train­ing all win­ter for spring marathons. We knew we needed to stay in train­ing mode for our de­but ul­tra that fall, and our coach was able to work our trip into our in­di­vid­ual train­ing plans.

How to pre­pare Re­fresh your ba­sic first aid

Re­fresh with a Red Cross course and con­sider an on­line bear safety, bear spray and/or wildlife aware­ness train­ing course with Bear Safety & More, an Al­berta-based com­pany.

Choose a hik­ing trail and/or hire a guide

One night or multi-day? Guided or non-guided? Hik­ing guides or ex­pe­ri­enced friends take the guess­work out of plan­ning. Cer­ti­fied guides have the Red Cross’s Wilder­ness First Aid qual­i­fi­ca­tion, which can give you an ex­tra level of se­cu­rity. Ot­tawa-based Great Cana­dian Trails or Cana­dian Rock­ies Hik­ing in Can­more, Alta., are great op­tions.

Get or­ga­nized

Mec (for­merly Moun­tain Equip­ment Co-op) has you cov­ered with pack­ing lists. Bor­row/rent gear from a friend or tour com­pany to off­set your costs. Run­ning clothes are fine, but trail shoes or hik­ing boots are a must.


What value does this add to my next train­ing plan? Phys­i­cal and men­tal ben­e­fits

Some of the most un­der-trained mus­cle groups in a run­ner’s body are the core and back. A weighted back­pack works your core sta­bi­liz­ers and up­per and lower back mus­cles, which help to create a strong cen­tre when ter­rain is chang­ing un­der your feet. The weight of your pack can be shifted from your hips to your shoul­ders by the tight­en­ing or loos­en­ing of straps, which cre­ates hip/pelvis sta­bil­ity and strong up­per body pos­ture.

Test new multi-sport gear and en­durance fu­elling meth­ods

Con­sider es­sen­tial gear: your pack, sleep­ing bag, hik­ing socks, trekking poles and a light­weight tent. Try fu­elling with real food in­stead of gels. This is an ideal stage to test your body’s re­sponses to new choices.

Re­cover an in­jury and gain a sense of ac­com­plish­ment

Hik­ing is one of the safest ways to re­cover an in­jury while re­build­ing mus­cle and car­dio­vas­cu­lar strength. Add a pack and your body will gain some great re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion. (If you’re re­hab­bing an in­jury, mod­ify trip length and ter­rain ac­cord­ingly.)

Test the wa­ters for trail run­ning

The best trail run­ners are strong hik­ers. They are heroic non-tech­ni­cal climbers and have an­kles of steel. This could give you a se­ri­ous leg up if you are con­sid­er­ing the switch from road to trail, or you’re look­ing to be more ef­fi­cient on pave­ment climbs or run­ning out­doors in win­ter.

Chantelle Erick­son is a Leth­bridge, Alta.-based marathoner, ul­tra­run­ner and coach with Per­sonal Peak. She’s also a cer­ti­fied per­sonal trainer and group fit­ness in­struc­tor for Ki­netic In­door Cy­cle & Fit­ness.

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 ??  ?? BE­LOW AND OP­PO­SITE BOT­TOM Fron­tenac Pro­vin­cial Park, Ont., is a great des­ti­na­tion for first-time back­pack­ers
BE­LOW AND OP­PO­SITE BOT­TOM Fron­tenac Pro­vin­cial Park, Ont., is a great des­ti­na­tion for first-time back­pack­ers

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