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Windy City Hikers Meetup Group Message Board › New Hiker-Any suggestions?

New Hiker-Any suggestions?

A former member
Post #: 3
I am new to hiking and I was wondering if anyone had any words of wisdom? ;-)

Not totally new, I've taken short hikes staying on trails through a few forest preserves, but never all day hikes.
Kathleen P
whipper
Arlington Heights, IL
Post #: 1
Hi Christine,
I'm kind of in the same boat. I've taken short hikes- maybe 2 or 3 miles max. I'm kind of scared when I read about these 9 mile hikes. I don't know if I can do that. I've had scary visions of myself collapsing on the trail at about mile five ;) I'm looking forward to some advice from the experts in this club on how to prepare/train for a long hike.
A former member
Post #: 2
Hi Christine and Kathleen,

Here's my thoughts for a new hiker:

1. Get good/great to great footwear. I recommend a pair of hiking shoes and hiking boots. Sneakers just aren't going to cut it. Your feet will get wet, blister's will appear, and all kinds of injuries due to lack of support. For hiking, I usually wear a low boot always. The support will aid the ankle, and the waterproof nature will keep your feet dry, and the solid soles will help with sharp objects like rocks, roots, and the occasional human debris (nails, glass, etc.)

2. Dress for the weather. Layers work best. Stay away from cotton socks and underwear, they just hold water, encouraging a chill and skin conditions. Wool and the new high-tech fabrics will wick away the moisture of sweat or rain, yet provide an insulating factor.

3. A support bra. Not my field of expertise, but everything needs support - and thin spaghetti straps just doesn't cut it. Why be uncomfortable at the 2.5 mile point? I also notice the materials are more
conducive to exercise and exertion in the sport bras.

4. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Get fluids in your body before a hike, and during the hike. It will help avoid dehydration, cramps, and general weakness.

5. Bring food. Your body needs fuel every 2-3 hours normally. Add a little hike and climb and perhaps that bagel for breakfast just won't carry you the whole day! Most hikers use energy bars, fruit, trail mix, and granola. You know whats best for you.

6. Exercise before your hike. Here's my formula, you'll find what's best for you. But no activity at all during the week, then asking the body to hike up a hill and over dale and around the lake may be risky! My routine involves stairclimber twice a week for 35 minutes each, elliptical twice a week for 35 minutes each, run/walk 3 times a week for 30 - 60 minutes each and weight training 6 days a week. In the summer, much of my cardio is replaced by cycling. Sound like too much? I didn't start over night so build to what you can squeeze in. At a minimum I would find three days a week for about 20 minutes of cardio (stairclimbing really helps in the hills), and twice a week for 30-40 minutes for strength and core training. If the upper body is firm - the lower body has less work to do.

7. Prepare to have fun! Hiking is a positive, happy, experience. With Windy City Hikers you'll meet some interesting people and see things you may never have seen from your living room.

Hope this all helps a bit,

Dave


Try these websites for additional help:

http://www.hikepa.com...­
http://www.bodyresult...­
http://www.americanhi...­
A former member
Post #: 1
I agree with everything that Dave's says. (Wow Dave, you really have an active work out schedule. How lucky)

I don't have time to work out as much as Dave, so here's what I do.

1) To prepare for that 10 mile hike, as you are relaxing at home, extend your legs and flex your toes toward the floor and toward your body for about 25-30 minutes every other day. What this does is helps to prevent shin splints. Start with 15 minutes and work your self up.

On the day in between alternate between stairs and walking in the evening for about and hour or so. This will work the quads and your stride.

On weekends, pack a back pack with water, lunch, etc. and find a steep hill. Practice going up and down for about an hour and then do a hike on a trail for another hour or so. Gradually increase your speed each week and the length of hike until you are comfortable and the pace is brisk. This works the calves and endurance.

Look for short hikes, interesting places to go to that you never have gone to before, and bring friends. (Palos hills, Indiana Dunes, Bontanic Gardens, Morton Arboredum, etc-make it fun.) Practice choosing the approperiate clothing for the weather and pack in your back pack with your water and lunch/snacks. (Remeber that there is no such thing as bad weather-only inapproperiate clothing.) This knowledge is valuable when weather changes on a hike.

Repeat the basics until you feel comfortable or just work yourself up to that 10 mile hike.

2) Again Dave is right on about foot wear. But for a girl, I find that two pairs of socks (one thin and one thicker-no cotton) works best for me. That way if the terrain is rough, the socks rub against each other and not on my foot to form blisters. But I also carry mole skin/scissors just in case I do get a "hot spot". I'll cut a hole in the mole skin, fit to the area, maybe layer the mole skin if need be, and continue the hike. If the "hot spot" becomes a blister and breaks, I will have more pain so I try to prevent that from happening.

I hope this has been helpful.

Rena
A former member
Post #: 3
Sorry, one thing I forgot. Rarely do I see someone drop out of a hike due to fatigue. It is most often from gear failure (shoes, backpacks, etc.), injury due to improper gear (blisters, twisted ankle), or too cold/too hot. You both will do fine if you set out to hike, just take care of your feet and your nutritional needs.

Dave
A former member
Post #: 9
Wow! We've got some great advice going here. I agree with both Dave and Rena's suggestions. They've covered the key topics pretty thoroughly so I won't go into more detail on those topics. I will add a few pieces on some related topics though:

1) Don't be afraid to ask questions. If there's a trip you're interested in or signed up for and you'd like to know more about what to expect email the trip leader. They can give you more information about the park and conditions you'll be facing. And while you're on the trail don't be afraid to ask people around you about the gear that they're carrying or the clothes that they're wearing. For example, there's a lot of brands of boots! Someone in the group can tell which brands have worked for them, etc. A lot of our hikers have some great stories and experience to share.

2) REI and other local outdoor stores often have clinics and classes where you can get more detailed information about hiking and other outdoor sport topics. They're a great way to learn new techniques, new gear info and meet with other outdoors people. I'm personally a big fan of REI so I know that they have clinics about twice a month at each of their two local stores, Niles and Oakbrook.

3) Don't forget a few other essential items: sunglasses (year round), sunblock, insect repellant, and a personal first aid kit. A personal first aid kit can be a really simple thing...just a ziploc bag with some band-aids (for cuts and scratches), moleskin (for blisters), any personal medications, and I also recommend a small bottle of disinfectant such as Purell. We're not always likely to stop by a full service restroom and a simple alcohol based disinfectant can go a long way to make you feel cleaner before snack or after a 'call of nature.' I'm also a personal fan of bringing along a bit of TP; it's much better than leaves if you need to use the woods. Just be sure to respect the local ordinances and either pack out (bring a ziploc) or bury (bring a trowel) your waste. Most of our trips have at least one or two primitive rest stops along the way.

I think I've gone on enough for now. If you have more questions feel free to drop me an email!
A former member
Post #: 4
Wow! Some common sense, but very important suggestions and others I probably would never have come up with. Thanks so much!
Kathleen P
whipper
Arlington Heights, IL
Post #: 2
Thank you so much. I'm going to start putting those techniques into action today. I'm looking forward to my first "real hike" and meeting all of you great people!
A former member
Post #: 1
Living in flat Chicago and loving to hike hilly terrain, I get tuned up by walking/running up and down the stairs in my house. I don't belong to a gym or have a stair machine. This is an effective (though admittedly boring) practice. Start where you are--just climb until you are winded or your legs are burning, walk around for a minute until your body calms down, do another flight or two. Add more and more flights in a row as you become accustomed. It's good cardio and good for the legs, ankles, and feet. Wear shoes that provide good support and fit well. A short workout on stairs gives you the benefits of a much longer walk. A bonus is that you can then register to Hike Up the Hancock or Step Up for Kids! I agree with the others that it's shoe or clothing problems or failure to hydrate properly that take out hikers on a longish day. Layers are the way to go, and do hydrate well before, during and after.
A former member
Post #: 1
Thanks so much for the tips! And a great question, because I too questioned my ability to do a 10-15 mile hike. But now, because of the information shared here I know how to shop/prepare to face the 'next' hiking challenge!
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