My Thru Hike Training For The Appalachian Trail

at thru hike training

Once again we’ve stumbled into a territory that comes under much debate among thru hikers and future thru hikers and it goes something like this… should a person train before starting a thru hike of the Appalachian Trail?

To each his own, I say, mainly because I’ve seen successful thru hikers who swear that they were able to accomplish the feat by staying as fit as possible leading up to the hike as well as those who were able to complete the trip without any training or any prior hiking experience whatsoever.

It is commonly recognized that a person will get their ‘trail legs’ within a few hundred miles of starting the journey, so as far as I’m concerned I’ll just let the trail dictate how far I should hike based on what my body will allow me to do. As I’ve stated many times, I will be in no particular hurry as I walk from Georgia to Maine.

There are plenty of hiking trails near my home, so I can satisfy my craving to hike whenever the fancy strikes, but if I start forcing myself to ‘train’ then I may begin to regard the process as a chore and much of the joy I derive from trekking long distances may begin to wane.

I do think it’s important to give any gear I intend to use a thorough workout though. I’d hate to hit the trail with a janky-ass tent that can’t keep any rain water from seeping into the confines, or a pair of trekking poles that bend or break with any amount of exertion imposed upon them. Rain gear will most certainly need a good going over before heading out, and my sleeping bag and air mattress will need to be tested as well. Will my trash compactor backpack liners make the grade?

So much to do and so little time to get it all done, right?

There is one workout that I’ve been contemplating and it involves trips to the gym. I hate gyms! They are breeding grounds for narcissism and self aggrandizement, but they serve a purpose every now and then…

I have given serious thought to signing up for a low-cost gym membership and then hitting the treadmill with a full pack, putting myself through the paces on various incline and speed levels.

What a sight that would be, huh?

For now, whenever I hear the hiking gods calling out to me, I’ll just load up my current pack with about thirty pounds of stuff and hit the trail behind my house in Reston, Va. It’s not the hilliest of terrain but it’s certainly more productive than sitting in front of my laptop blogging about the virtues of thru hike training for my upcoming Appalachian Trail adventure.

I’d love to hear about your training regimen in the comments section… HINT, HINT!

How Long To Hike The Appalachian Trail Walking

how long to thru hike AT

This is probably one of the most frequently asked questions I get when I tell somebody that I want to thru hike the Appalachian Trail

“How long does it take?”

Well, the short answer is that it takes about 6 months to walk the entire length of the AT from Georgia to Maine, mainly because it is 2100+ miles from start to finish.

Many of you may already be familiar with this answer because like me you’ve been reading up on the subject for many years.

When others start to learn about the AT for the first time this estimate simply blows their minds and many wonder why others would even attempt the feat. In other words, some of us get it and others never will.

The long answer about how much time it takes to hike the AT is that it varies from person to person. Ideally, I will set aside 6 months of my time for the thru hike, but I don’t really care how long it takes. I’m not on a set schedule.

The trail has been hiked in less than 60 days by more motivated (read: younger) people and some hikers take such a leisurely approach to the journey that Baxter State Park closes before they can put themselves in a position to ascend Mt. Katahdin at the finish point. Some don’t care about the ascent, so no worries there I suppose.

The more I read the more I truly care about ascending to the top of the great Katahdin. Heck, one book I just finished reading had me nearly in tears as I finished it because the author really brought the thing home for me.

You can check out some of the best material on the reading list page.

I’m gonna start my hike in late March, just after the first two rounds of the March Madness basketball tournament. A man needs to keep his priorities in order and they go something like this for me… March Madness, AT thru hike, no more working for the man FOREVER, travel the country with my backpack playing poker, hiking, and catching up with friends and family, not necessarily in that order but pretty close.

Well, I’d love to hear your thoughts on your own thru hike timelines. Leave some comments and let’s get the conversation started…

Appalachian Trail Weight Loss

thru hiking weight loss

There are a lot of reasons why I want to hike the Appalachian trail and the fact that weight loss is part of the program is of particular intrigue to me.

There is no doubt that thru hiking the 2100+ miles from Georgia to Maine will help to increase physical stamina and overall health, even though it can also cause some substantial aches and pains.

When I first learned about the thru hiking aspect of the AT, my first instinct was not to ask about how much weight a person could lose along the way. The more I delved into the project the more I realized that it was just going to be part of the process whether I liked it or not.

Thru hikers can burn up to 9000 calories a day while hiking, depending upon the terrain that each day throws at us. It would be nearly impossible to carry that much food considering that most hikers will carry an average of 5 days worth of food at any given time.

So if we’re burning more than we are taking in we will lose a substantial amount of weight on the trail. This can be both a blessing and a curse.

I’ve seen before and after weight loss pictures of hikers who not only look thinner but also emaciated and unhealthy as well. I’ve also seen pictures of hikers who have lost the those pounds who also look much healthier and no worse for wear.

The key is in the diet. Not all calories are created equally so it’s important to maintain our proteins and whatnot while hiking; in other words we should be eating a robust and well-rounded meal plan.

My thru hiking food list will contain mostly things like peanut butter, jerky, stuff to make tortilla pizzas, energy bars, pop tarts, instant mashed potatoes, etc. Since I won’t be carrying a cook stove like many other trail wanderers all my food will weight much more than things like ramen and Knorr noodles would weigh, so I will need to be very strategic with my calories.

Not carrying a stove and all the pots and pans that others carry will save some weight, but it will also help save time at camp and with cleaning. I eat a lot of my food cold in the real world so I’m not sacrificing anything on this endeavor.

The weight loss on the AT is just a bonus for me. I try to live a paleo lifestyle in general just to keep my weight from getting out of control, but on the trail I won’t have to be so diligent since the calories will just be flying out of me each day. The challenge will be after the journey is over, and there are plenty of horror stories from hikers who have gained copious amounts of weight after their thru hike has ended.

Leave some comments if you have anything to add to the conversation…

5 Reasons Why I Desire To Hike The Whole Appalachian Trail in 2017

i want to hike the appalachian trail
There are probably as many different reasons to hike the Appalachian Trail as there people who decide that they really want to take the journey.

I want to hike the Appalachian Trail for 5 reasons (I could probably ramble on and on about this for days, so I decided to pare the list down to a succinct and curt five items), and it’s important to note that these will appear in no particular order as I am writing this in total spontaneity…

1 – Physical challenge – There is no doubt that the trek from Georgia to Maine will be a physically taxing one but that is part of the intrigue. If it was easy then everybody would do it and then it would lose much of its luster. The fact that only about 10% of those who attempt it each year are able to complete it speaks volumes about the toll it takes on each individual. Maybe I’ll even lose some weight along the way as an added bonus.

2 – Get away from it all – The grind of daily life holds no allure for me these days, so my only goal in life is to turn my online efforts into a passive income so that I can just roam the Earth and enjoy each passing day on my own terms. It just so happens that I enjoy hiking long distances and I live close enough to the AT that it has been something tangible for me to pursue over the years.

3 – Prove something to myself – I’ve made a habit of taking the easy way out of things in life so thru hiking the AT would represent something difficult that I could actually finish. There isn’t much more to it than that, really. I just want to accomplish something that most people wouldn’t dream of trying and even less would attempt. I want to walk into a room and have people say, “Hey, that guy hiked the Appalachian Trail!”

Other than that small thing, I don’t really care what others think about this adventure; I just want to prove to myself that I can do something extraordinary. Otherwise, why not just give up on everything?

4 – Bucket list – I wrote a book a few years back about developing a bucket list and things I would add to mine and thru hiking the AT is definitely in the book. There are a lot of cool things in life that are worth pursuing and for me this thru hike tops my list. I think about it each and every day and the only thing that dominates more of my time in thought is SEO and my online endeavors. These are the only two things I think about enough to warrant a mention on one of my blogs.

5 – Because it’s there – When I first learned about the A.T. I asked if anybody had ever hiked the whole thing in one go. Of course I knew the answer before I asked the question, because the fact that it immediately popped into my head meant that others had already been down that path, quite literally I was sure. There is nothing rarer on this planet than original thought, so I was sure there were pioneers on this subject and I will learn from them and follow their lead all the way to Mt. Katahdin.

That’s it. Like I said there are an infinite number of reasons to hike the trail. What are some of yours? Leave some comments and follow along on all the social platforms as we shoot for a 2017 Appalachian Trail thru hike!

My Appalachian Trail Thru Hike Blog

blogging about the AT

This is my blog about hiking the Appalachian Trail, start to finish, from Springer Mountain in Georgia all the way to Mt. Katahdin in Maine?

Have I ever hiked the AT from beginning to end?

Nope… But I will!

Do I think it will be difficult?

Yep… nothing worthwhile is ever all that easy, at least that’s how the saying goes but I think this will ultimately be the toughest thing I’ve ever done. I say that mainly because I plan to start my thru hike in March, 2017, which will make me 49 years of age when I get started.

49!

Now, that won’t make me the oldest to ever attempt to hike the 2100+ miles, not by a long-shot. But my knees and ankles hurt me after a tough day’s work, so I can only imagine what they will feel like after the daily grind of walking double-digit miles on extremely hilly terrain.

I learned about the AT many years ago and the first thing I asked was, “Has anybody ever hiked the whole thing at once?” Turns out, that wasn’t an original thought. I pushed the thought of hiking the Appalachian Trail to the back of my mind as I lived my life and it didn’t really surface again until 2007, when I came across some trail journals online of people who were actually doing it!

Trail journals are great because we can follow along as others prepare for and then attempt the thru hike of the AT. I subscribed to a couple of these online journal sites but now I just follow along on YouTube as many hikers now document their progress online with videos and image transcriptions. It truly is a great time to be alive, huh?

Well, shortly after I began obsessing with the trail back in 2007 I quickly got immersed back into my somewhat hectic, but always uneventful life. Thoughts of thru hiking the AT are always on my mind, and I’ve shared these thoughts with many people over the years, but recently I caught the bug again… BIG TIME!!!

A couple friends of mine have also recently discovered the wonders of thru hiking the AT and they have expressed more than a passing interest in attempting it, and now I have to light a proverbial fire under my own ass because if close friends of mine start lapping me on this one… well, it’ll drive me F’ing nutz!

Writing all this down in my Appalachian Trail thru hiking blog will hold me accountable and hopefully others will read this blog and gain a little inspiration from the thoughts that enter their own stream of consciousnesses and we can prepare for this amazing journey together.

I will be setting up a YT channel as well as all the other social media platforms because that’s the way the online world is connected these days and because I dig the social media experience!

By now you’re probably wondering who the hell I even am. My name is Curt Bizovi and I don’t have a trail name as of yet. It would be premature and entitled to start thinking about trail names before I’ve taken my first step on the thru hike so I’ll wait it out, but… if I don’t have one by the time I’ve gone a couple hundred miles then it’ll be time to start putting something together.

You can read more about me on my “about me” page. Just follow the link. Hopefully my Appalachian Trail thru hike blog will cover most of the topics that aspiring hikers are curious about, but feel free to add suggestions for future articles in the comments section.

Let’s get started…