Thursday, February 3, 2011

Backpacking Treadmill Training and Conditioning

It's winter time and a lot of the backpacking community is looking for ways to get into or stay in shape for the warm-weather backpacking season! Using a treadmill is a great idea. Running on a treadmill will help your cardio, but running and backpacking are two different worlds. There are separate muscle groups that need conditioning for carrying that heavy backpack load.

Here's what you need:

  1. Your backpacking gear
  2. Treadmill
  3. DVD player or laptop computer
  4. Earphones

Here's how it works:

Set up the TV and DVD player, or laptop on or in front of your treadmill. My laptop fits nicely into a little area on my treadmill's control panel. Throw on your backpack and your boots or shoes and hook up the earbuds. Toss in your favorite outdoor show *cough* Survivorman *cough* and do some walking. I like to put my treadmill up at a º10 angle (that's as high as it goes) and walk for 15, put it flat for 15, and then back to º10 for 15. By then an episode of Survivorman is just finishing up, I've been inspired by watching beautiful outdoor shots, refreshed some survival knowledge, and gotten in my workout for the afternoon. Perfect.

Don't forget if you're trying to really train hard and condition, push the pace to where you're just starting to need to jog to keep up and then back it off one. Don't run with your pack on, it will hurt you and your gear in the long 'run'. Keep pushing yourself every day and pretty soon you'll need more outdoor shows to watch (or you could re-watch Survivorman).

Good luck!

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