This intense, limited equipment, 11-week, 6-7 day/week training program is designed to thoroughly prepare athletes for Thru Hikes such as the Appalachian Trail or Pacific Crest Trail. The Thru Hikes are 4-6 month endeavors which the vast majority fail to complete, normally quitting within the first month. This program will deliberately increase the hiking volume over 11 weeks to prepare your body for the day after day grind of thru hiking, reducing the chance for injury and sustaining a steady pace.
The plan utilizes hiking with a pack and unloaded running to develop total mileage as the plan progresses. This plan is built around the assumption that most will still be working in some capacity prior to starting the thru hike, and can’t train for 5+ hours a day. While you likely won’t be running on the AT or PCT, it will allow us to build your volume in a time-efficient manner while also further developing the legs and feet. We also include Step Ups and Leg Blasters to further strengthen the legs for uphill and downhill movements, where most acute injuries are likely to occur.
Training for the thru hike is the time to determine which footwear and gear works best for you. Pick your shoes wisely (many wear trail running shoes on thru hikes) and train in them. Find a style that you like and stick with them – you’ll likely go through several pairs over the course of training and the thru hike. The same goes for your pack – ensure you have a comfortable fit with gear packed appropriately. Experiment now so you don’t have a catastrophe when your 5 days out from the nearest town.
You’ll train 6-7 days/week for 11 weeks – a total of 77x training sessions. The plan progresses to 7 days a week in the latter parts to build volume and lightly reproduce the demands of day over day hiking. Be smart and take a day of rest as needed – this is a skill you will need on your thru hike on when to rest and when to push.
This is Version 1 of the plan, designed in February 2022.
- Develop a high volume hiking capacity based on historical averages of daily and weekly mileage
- Harden the legs and feet for the daily grind
- Develop uphill movement muscular strength endurance
- Prepare the body for loaded hiking @ 25#
- Build appropriate upper body strength for durability
- Develop the Chassis for irregular, loaded movements
This is a limited equipment training plan. The following equipment is required:
- Sandbag – 40# for women, 60# for men
- 25# Backpack
- Foam Roller
- 15-18″ Box or bench for Step Ups
- Mon: Short to Moderate Hike, Step Ups
- Tue: Lower Body Strength, Upper Body Strength, Chassis Integrity
- Wed: Short to Moderate Hike, Short to Moderate Run
- Thur: Rest or Moderate Run
- Fri: Moderate Hike, Moderate Run
- Sat: Long Hike
- Sunday: Long Hike
What does “15/25#” mean? What about “40/60#”? What does “3/6x Chin Ups” mean
15 pound dumbbells for women, 25 pound dumbbells for men.
40 pound sandbag for women, 60 pound sandbag for men.
3x Chin Ups for Women, 6x Chin Ups for Men
What if I can’t handle the training volume at first?
Building stamina and resilience is a key training goal of this plan. If you can’t handle the training volume at first, it’s better to cut training sessions short, rather than take unscheduled rest days.
What if I miss a day?
Begin where you left off when you return to training. This program is progressed – each session builds upon the prior session – so don’t skip a session or skip around. Follow the training sessions in order, regardless.
Where do I find unfamiliar exercises?
See our Exercise Library HERE. The Run/Ruck Calculator is listed as an exercise.
What about nutrition?
See our Nutritional Guidelines HERE.
Can I see sample training?
Yes. Click the “Sample Training” tab to see the entire first week of programming.
How do I access the plan?
Access is online, via username and password. You can log in either through our website or through our app (Mtn Tactical Fitness) available for IOS and Android.
Can I print out sessions to take to the gym?
Yes – you can print a week of programming at a time.
More Questions? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Before beginning any exercise program, consult with your physician to ensure that you are in proper health. Physical training contains inherent risks including, but not limited to, muscle strains, tears, physical and bodily injury up to and including death. This training program is not meant to provide medical advice; you should obtain medical advice from your private health care practitioner. If you are unable to assume these risks then you should not engage in this training program. No liability is assumed by Mountain Tactical Institute, Inc, its owners or employees, and you train at your own risk. Mountain Tactical Institute makes no warranty, express or implied, of any kind in connection with this training program.