Trail Training

Training for backpacking takes time and some dedication.  The Sierras or the John Muir Trail (JMT) calls us to trek for several weeks into the beauty of California’s Mountains each summer. I believe training for the journey is one of the most important ways to be able to enjoy the mountains.  Here is my training schedule in the hopes others will enjoy the mountains without blisters or sore muscles.

Training overview

July, walk 20 miles per week.  Walk at least 4 times per week!

In San Diego, we are challenged to train at elevation or even with hills. Here are some of my favorite routes which I train on to prepare for the trail.

Hiking training around San Diego
Mission Trails (click here for the Mission Trails Google Maps Link)

Mission Trails 2015-07-05 at 7.48.34 PM

Cowles Mountain (click here for the Google Map Cowles Mountain Link)

Cowles Mountain 2015-07-05


Pacific Beach (sand is great training, and hard!)

Pacific Beach 2015-07-05

Iron Mountain
El Cajon Mountain
Nobel Canyon, Laguna

Elevation with Weight
Idyllwild – Suicide Rock
San Jacinto
San Gorgonio (on my wish list, I didn’t make it last year)

Walking – San Diego
Harbor Island, 5 miles
Tecolote Canyon, 2.5 miles (twice for 5)
Mission Bay

The advice someone gave me was start walking today.  Every day helps.  And they were correct.  After I got started, it was easier to add hills, rough terrain,  and weight.  To my delight, I felt great on the trail.  I didn’t have any blisters – really – not a one.  And although I was tired many days, I never had muscle cramps or very sore muscles.  I found my body was already used to keeping moving.

This training made the trail so much easier and enjoyable.

Harbor Island

Tecolote Canyon North

—————————–  training we focused on earlier  ———–

March (walk)

April (walk)
– Walk, 3-4 times a week. I set the goal to walk 5 miles each day and have been able to come close. It takes time, and it is worth it.
May (walk and hike with weight)
– Walk, 3-4 times a week.
– Add 1 to 2 trail hikes with weight per week. I added a backpack with about 15 to 20 lbs in it and hit uneven trails to strengthen my ankles, knees, and hips. And I get used to the straps on my hips again.

June (walk, hike with weight, and get some elevation training in)
– Walk, 3-4 times a week.
– Backpack to elevation 2 times.
– Continue to trail hike with weight.