Train­ing: Train­ing tips for tak­ing on a NZ Great Walk

Walking New Zealand - - Contents -

By De­part­ment of Con­ser­va­tion

Dream­ing of tak­ing on one of the spec­tac­u­lar Great Walks but feel like you need some more train­ing un­der your belt? Here are some help­ful tips just for you...

1. For­get the el­e­va­tor, take the stairs!

First up let's fo­cus on build­ing up your strength and en­durance. If you live in a flat area, stairs can make the per­fect 'pre­tend moun­tain' to climb. Best of all you can do this at home, work, lo­cal parks or nearby build­ings – you have your own per­sonal gym wher­ever you go.

Try walk­ing up the stairs side­ways or us­ing ev­ery sec­ond step to ac­ti­vate dif­fer­ent mus­cles, just ig­nore the funny looks you might get. Pow­er­ing up and down flights of stairs might not be con­sid­ered fun, but it def­i­nitely works. Climb­ing stairs along Te Whara Track, North­land.

2. Take a break on a Short Walk

The per­fect place to start ex­plor­ing our nat­u­ral won­ders is along one of our best Short Walks. These 14 walks can be found from the far north to the deep south and can take you through lush na­tive bush, an­cient forests, to spec­tac­u­lar glaciers and along rugged coast­lines.

These walks are a good way to train and get a feel for walk­ing across dif­fer­ent types of ter­rain. Best of all it gives you the chance to take a break in the out­doors and get in touch with na­ture. Cape Foul­wind Walk­way. Boot­prints in the sand. Treat your feet

3. Get de­cent footwear

Your feet are the most im­por­tant tool when it comes to walk­ing. Find your­self some de­cent qual­ity boots, make sure they are wa­ter re­sis­tant and pro­vide plenty of sup­port and ven­ti­la­tion.

When look­ing for new boots, try shop­ping in the af­ter­noon, your feet will have ex­panded slightly so you'll get the right size. Lastly, be sure to wear them in the months lead­ing up to the walk, it’ll help you avoid those nasty blis­ters.

Also, don't for­get good socks. Hik­ing socks (usu­ally a ny­lon/wool blend) can help keep out the mois­ture and wear­ing two pairs will fur­ther re­duce the chance of blis­ters even fur­ther.

4. Build up that leg strength

Al­though there’s no sub­sti­tute for long walks, any leg-based car­dio is go­ing to help. Rugby, net­ball, ten­nis and swim­ming are all great, but cy­cling is the best way to help build your leg mus­cles.

If you’re more of a gym junky, mix up some spin sets with weighted squats and lunges. Cy­clist en­joy­ing Deans Bank loop bik­ing and walk­ing track, Dublin Bay. Cy­cling is a great way to build your leg mus­cles

5. Fuel your­self

Hy­dra­tion and food are cru­cial dur­ing a multi-day walk, and in prepa­ra­tion for one. Nuts, jerky, dried fruit, oat bars and choco­late are all good quick sources of en­ergy and pro­tein.

Dur­ing your train­ing, make sure to eat ‘on the go’ so your body can get used to di­gest­ing dur­ing stren­u­ous ex­er­cise. Scrog­gin — the Kiwi word for Trail Mix.

6. Find your bal­ance

Bal­ance is one of the most im­por­tant com­po­nents of walk­ing a multi-day track. Prac­tis­ing your bal­ance at home re­duces the risk of an­kle rolls and knee dam­age on the trail. Try balancing on one leg (you can close your eyes to make it harder). Balancing rocks in a stream. Find your bal­ance

7. Prac­tice us­ing your back­pack

It’s likely that you’ll be car­ry­ing items such as cloth­ing, food, drinks and maybe more, so your choice of back­pack is im­por­tant. Look for packs that have ad­justable chest and waist straps so that you can po­si­tion the pack cor­rectly on your back.

Prac­tice us­ing your loaded back­pack as part of your train­ing so that you are used to the weight and po­si­tion. Walker with back­pack look­ing across rolling hills. Prac­tice us­ing your back­pack as part of your train­ing

8. Have a go at a Day Hike

Keen to ex­plore but still not feel­ing up to a multi-day track? Try some of our best Day Hikes. Tak­ing be­tween 4-6 hours these longer hikes can take you through lush na­tive bush and an­cient forests, up vol­canic slopes and along rugged coast­lines.

These day hikes are per­fect way to test your­self be­fore book­ing your first Great Walk.

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