Peter has enjoyed hiking Grand Canyon since 2012. During his first hike Peter experienced heat exhaustion resulting in a stay overnight at Phantom Ranch. This incident fueled his interest in how to successfully navigate the "Canyon" in one day by finding the appropriate strategies of training, hydration, salt balance, food, sun blocking and keeping cool. Peter has successfully completed three rim to river to rim one day hikes in 2013, 2014 and 2016. Here are his thoughts.
1. What kind of training regimen do your recommend at the beginning--what changes do you recommend making over the next eight months--and what should the hiker be doing during the
|Peter at Cedar Ridge on the South Kaibab.|
The first order of business is making sure your body can handle the training and ultimately hiking the Grand Canyon. It starts with a visit to your doctor. Get a thorough physical to get medical concurrence you are fit enough to get started.
Start out slow. When you are young, you can hit it hard early on and maybe get away with it. For example, some people will put a 25-pound weight in a pack when starting out. The best thing is to work your way up to that weight over a 2-to-4-month period.
To start with, any type of aerobic activity 3-to-5 times a week for 45 minutes is a good way to go. If you are not at that level, start with 10 minutes and add 5 minutes of activity every 1 to 2 weeks. In 7-to-14 weeks, you will be at that level. Depending on where you live, this can be hiking, snowshoeing, skiing, rollerblading--anything you love to do.
Once you are in shape, add variety to your workouts.
- Aerobic Training: Depends on your age and fitness. We have a couple family members who run marathons. They changed their training from running long distances to shorter ones (<12 miles) and adding sprints to the training 1-to-2 times a week. The result is they are running faster than they have their entire life. Think about that--you will have more endurance and hike faster using a training regimen like this.
- Hill Climbing: Trekking up and down for 2 hours per session, 3 times per week will actually physically prepare you to hike the Grand Canyon, even if you do nothing more. That was my experience on my first Grand Canyon hike. I prefer to be in better shape than that. This is an absolute minimum. I recommend you go beyond this to long hikes once a week in the last 2 months prior to hiking.
- Stair Step Training: This is a good added exercise. The emergency stair case in an office building is a great place to practice 1-to-2 times a week.
- Long Distance Training: This is incredibly important. Not so much for the exercise, but for learning what works for you: Water/Gatorade hydration regimens, salt intake and foods and supplements that can provide these needed components. The Grand Canyon will be tougher than any training you do, unless you live in the desert. It is hot and it is dry. Hiking under these conditions means you need to know how your body responds to the intake of water and food.
- Month 1 - getting or staying in shape training
- Month 2 - getting or staying in shape training
- Month 3 - getting or staying in shape training
- Month 4 - getting or staying in shape training
- Month 5 - getting or staying in shape training
- Month 6 - start your training regimen--aerobic 45 minutes / stairs 15 min 120 steps / 2-to-4-mile hikes
- Month 7 - aerobic 60 minutes / stairs 30 min 120 steps / 4-to-8-mile hikes
- Month 8 - aerobic 120 minutes / stairs 45 min 120 steps /8-to-15-mile hikes
- Month 9 - aerobic 120 minutes / stairs 60 min 120 steps / 8-to-15 mile hikes
If you can do this, the Grand Canyon will be a "walk in the park."
|Pointing the way into Indian Garden.|
- Have a routine that varies your aerobics (hill climb/bike/stairs) and works the long distance endurance.
- Hydration / Salt Balance / Food Plan - worked out so you can handle the heat and eat foods that work for you under stressful conditions.
- Physical Conditioning - have a plan and work it. If you miss a day don't worry about it. Look forward and then do the next day's exercise.
- Equipment - Hiking poles, sun protection, and a good hydration system - plus a back pack of adequate size to hold all your food, water and clothing.