First thing you shouldn’t do: take two months off and think you can just charge up and down the Bay Area hills for five hours with no consequences. Come Tuesday you may equate climbing stairs with the fond thoughts normally reserved for getting a tooth pulled.
Say you’re crunched for time and can’t spare more than about 20 minutes. Here’s what I’d do: find a set of stairs somewhere and just climb up and down for whatever time you can spare. Clock yourself and work on improving your time, getting more laps in the same time expanse.
Fifteen minutes on stairs is less than a mile of walking, but it’s all resistance training that uses most of the same muscles, tendons and ligaments you’ll use on the trail. It won’t give the aerobic training you’d get in a healthy hourlong walk and it won’t provide any of the upper-body workout you should be getting if you care about that stuff.
But I suspect it will preserve enough leg muscle tissue to minimize your post-hike punishment.
Great tip. Closet Granola thinks we’re going on a 10 mile hike this weekend and I haven’t done 10 miles in the last couple months.
Here’s my tip: If you work in any kind of multi-story building with an elevator, never, ever use the elevator. This works even better of you have at least 3 floors to go up and down, and your lunch and coffee break rooms are all at the other end of the stairs.
If you live closer than about 4 miles from work, you can probably bicycle to and from work almost as fast as you can drive. If you take mass transit to and from work, try walking one train station or bus stop farther before waiting for the bus/train.
A lot of us were culturally indoctrinated with the mindset, “why walk when you can drive?” instead, to stay in shape, you have to be creatively thinking about how to be active instead when there’s an opportunity to be sedentary.
I wrote a preview of Google’s GPS tracking software. I think you might find it interesting for hikers. I looked for a contact email but could not find one. Here is the story. I would like to get hikers input on the platform.
My wife has been doing a class for the last few weeks. She still had 2 weeks to go, but she’s ready to climb the walls. At lest she goes with me to the gym though. That helps if you do the right exercises. Sometimes I’m surprized we have the time to hike.
I missed your blogging.
In my experience the best way of avoiding the pain the next day is to warm up before you set out and stretch afterwards. That way hiking is the same as any aerobic activity.