Smutty Fitness: Working hard to hike
I need your help STAT. I just had my first fitness shame moment. Up until now, while not in the best of shape, my body has always risen to any challenge I gave it. Today I started an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime hike with a group of fellow travelers only to have the guide turn halfway up, call back to me and say I needed to turn around, go home, and have a drink at the pub because I wasn't going to make it and I was holding the group back. As they continued, I sat in the woods and cried for 20 minutes before making my way back to town. I knew I wasn't in the best of shape but that was the first time my body couldn't do what I wanted. The big problem now (besides the shame) is that I have an expensive trip booked and paid for that has even harder hikes...in six weeks! What can I do to be ready for those hikes, keeping in mind I'm on the road with no access to gyms?
First off, whoever that guide was that said that to you should find another occupation as that is no way to motivate someone and I am sorry that happened to you.
I just went through a similar experience last month, but I was the one who told me I needed to turn around, and I chose to give up. It was in my first mountain bike race of the season and at half way I had nothing left, mentally or physically, and for the first time ever I pulled out of a race. I gave up. I spent the entire drive home asking myself why I did that and I quickly realized that even though I had been training hard, my training was missing something. It was missing those workouts where I would get to a point that I felt I could not go any further. It was missing those moments where I really had to push myself. It was missing those days that I would come home and spend the rest of the afternoon on the couch because I was too tired to move.
Knowing I had the biggest race of the season coming up, I started to work and not hard, but HARD. I sacrificed Friday nights to ride and I was up early Saturday mornings to ride. Every spare moment I had I was punishing myself on the bike so that if I came to a point in my next race where I felt I could not go any further, I would have both the physical and mental strength to continue. The race was last week, and I took off 30 minutes from my time in that same race last year, only a month after giving up.
So, what do you need to do? You need to start working! You need to get outside and find yourself half way up a mountain or half way through a workout wanting to turn around but finding it in you to keep going. You need to wake up early to move and you need to give up weekend patio sessions to push yourself.
And you do not need a gym to get ready for this. All you need is a pair of running shoes and a bottle of water. Find a long set of stairs somewhere (all cities have these hidden gems so ask around) and run up and down until you can hardly move, but find it in you to do one more. Find a neighbourhood that is full of hills and get out and walk it. As you get more fit, load a back pack with weight and start carrying that with you. Keep finding ways to challenge both your mental and physical strength and continue to up those challenges.
There is nothing better than starting something knowing that you did everything you could to make sure you could finish it. If you do not work hard from now until the day you leave, you will lack the confidence you will need to finish six days of hiking. But, if you give everything you have, right now, it does not matter what happens on the trails because you will be confident that you have done your best. It’s worth sacrificing your weekends for.