I’m not sure what to do about the whole training issue. Honestly, the best I can do would be a long walk on a paved road, under weight. The park has some gentle slopes, but nothing in the way of actual elevation. On the other hand, I’m slowly increasing my pack weight. Even gentle slopes help my body get used to the idea of walking uphill and downhill while carrying 30 pounds. Or do they?
I don’t want to wear out my body and my shoes and my knees—you know, use up what’s in the gas tank on side trips before the big journey. On the other hand, it seems like any training is better than sitting on my ass. Oh, and speaking of ass, a few miles now might trim that weight down a little, too, which is always good. (I say ‘might’ because, well, I can’t seem to marshal the willpower to both walk a lot of miles and control what I’m eating—not to mention also getting in the requisite number of hours of work.)
Which brings me to the third point: time. Yes, I can walk 12, 15, 18 miles. It takes 4, 5, 6 hours. That’s 6 hours I should be spending on the job. And after I walk 12 miles, I’m exhausted. My concentration is shot. My work pace is sluggish, and I’m not confident in the quality of the work I’m doing. Even getting up at 4 AM, it’s still hard for me to get more than 4 or 5 hours of work on a good training day. And I’m supposed to be in this huge money-saving mode, what with the being out of work for 6 months next year (assuming I’ll be on the Trail that long). Plus, the park doesn’t open until daylight. Now that the days are getting short, that means I’m doing this walk-training during actual business hours. It’s a part-time job.
So. I can work, or I can train. I can diet, or I can train. And the training isn’t on 45-degree Georgia slopes, so I’m not sure what effect it has on the cardio anyway. (Note: I can do 12 miles with no physical after effects. No foot pain anymore. No shoulder or back pain. That’s with a 20-pound pack. Since that’s my approximate base weight only, I’m going to try to inch that up to 30, my anticipated max weight. But I don’t want to use up my pack miles, either! I thought about doing the 30-pound walks with the old, heavier Gregory pack, but I want to practice with the rubbing in the right places and with the getting stuff in and taking it out.
What do you think? Any training is better than no training? Or work is better than ‘soft’ training, and let the Trail work out the rest? (Note that everything else suffers, too: all social activities, including online, are on moratorium while I’m working a full-time job and walking three days a week. On the other hand, I’m used to this. I remember going through this back in my martial arts days, when I was training up for my black belt tests.)
In my ideal world, I’d do 18 miles three times a week, under 30 pounds of weight.