Physio Kirsten has recently completed the Oxfam trail walk! The trail went for a total of 55km’s – and lasted for almost 12 hours! The biggest thing when preparing for a challenge such as this is staying injury free in training and during the event.

Kirsten has picked her top tips for preventing hiking injuries, and what this would look like for training and preparation.

How Prevent Hiking Injuries

  1. Appropriate progression

You’ve decided to start training before your event, awesome! But how do you know how much training is the right amount? We often see clients in the clinic with hiking injuries due to poor progression; training too many days/ kilometres too quickly. Where and when you start depends on your fitness level. Even if you are walking 3x/week for 10km, this is very different to a hike of hills and uneven surfaces. Beginners to long hikes will want to start training about 3 months out from the event. In the first month, you will be working to get your base fitness up. Ideally walking 3-4days/week, progressing distances by 5 minutes each walk.

By the second month start to mix up the surfaces and distances you’re walking + hiking so that by the time we are into the third month we can start to taper before the event. 

Strength + Balance Hiking Exercises 

Strength is very important to incorporate into your training to prevent a hiking injury due to muscle fatigue or overload. This should be done at least 2x/week and include:

–          Calf raises

–          Single leg squats/ lunges

–          Abdominal exercises

–          Step ups with weight

Balance is often overlooked and SO important to prevent injuries when you’re moving around on all sorts of uneven surfaces and when hiking in the dark. Practice standing on 1 leg eyes open for 30 seconds. Pretty easy? Try doing this with eyes closed or on a mat or bosu ball.

  1. Releases/ Stretches/ Massage

You are putting your body through a lot! Make sure you keep your muscles feeling and moving well to prevent injury. Great areas to release pre + post hike: glutes, quads, calves, TFL, Pecs, biceps. See this link for tips on how to:

Day1 Day2 Day3 Day4 Day5 Day6 Day7
Hard Walk Stength + Balance Medium Walk Rest Day Easy Walk + Strength and Balance Long Walk Rest Day

EVERYDAY: Stretches + Releases

  1. Nutrition + Hydration

Eat well and adequately. You can’t expect your body to perform without the proper fuel. Same goes for hydration. If unsure about whether you are getting in the right nutrients book in with a nutritionist!

  1. Equipment + Training Smart

Buy hiking boots and train in them. They will help prevent blisters/ lost toe nails and they will provide a much better grip for the loose trail and steep hills.

Train with your pack and full kit on so that your body is ready for the additional load.

If you are going to use poles, same goes, use them in training.

How to Stay Injury Free During Your Event

  1. Preparedness: pack extra socks, have your blister packs on hand. This is the most common injury on the day. A small blister can become a big deal over 55/ 100kms!
  1. Nutrition + Hydration: Keep your fluids and fuels up

And lastly, Have FUN!

If you know of someone that would benefit from our care please encourage them to contact us, or click here to find out more.