To further prepare for the PCT, I have also been doing as much physical training as possible. In September 2014 I started going to a 45-minute outdoor cross training class every weekday morning. All of the squats, lunges and kettle bell swings I have been doing have made a huge difference, for both my strength and endurance. (It has also pushed my running to a whole new level! See here, here, and here for some recent race results.)
In January, I also started going to a core conditioning class on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. It’s a 45-min circuit of stations to strength your abdominals, quads, glutes, and hamstrings. Sometimes the 90 second stations feel like a lifetime, but after going twice a week for two months I can at least, if not see, the difference.
Finally, and most importantly, I have been doing as much hiking as time allows. During my free days and on the weekends, I’ve been loading up my new pack with 22-28 pounds of gear (a climbing rope, hand weights and liters of water) and have been hiking the East Bay hills. Luckily, I live in a part of the country that has a lot of hills so this has been really great training. Not only have I broken in my pack (and two new pairs of shoes) and made a few minor adjustments to make sure everything is comfortable, I have also been working on balance going up and down steep hills. Because of time constraints, most of my hikes have been around 9-12 miles, but I’ve done a few 16-18 mile day hikes, which I hope will be close enough to the ~20 miles per day I’ll be hiking on the trail.
I think I’m in close to the best shape of my life right now (I can do 46 push-ups on my toes!), even though I’ve gained 6 pounds since January. I like to think that it is mostly muscle, but my pants tell me slightly differently. 😛
I know I’ve been burning more calories and have definitely been eating more recently, but my near insatiable hunger makes me a bit nervous about the amount of food I have prepared for during the hike. However, since I will be going through towns every few days I know I will have access to food if needed. I plan on buying some fresh fruit and vegetables for a day or two while in town and I’m sure I’ll have a restaurant meal in most towns I stop in (where hopefully I will be able to charge my phone and camera battery).
I’m now as physically ready as I will ever be for this adventure, and in this last week I just have to finish up a few things to make sure I am mentally ready.