So you're planning a trip to Colorado for a hiking adventure, now what? Unless you live at high altitude or run marathons, you probably could use some training to prepare. The good news is, hiking is something everyone can do! By making a few simple changes in your weekly routine, you can get in shape for your RMNP hiking trip and insure your focus will be on the stunning mountain scenery instead of aching muscles.
It's a great idea to purchase hiking boots that you'll wear on your trip. Breaking them in ahead of time can make all the difference.
If you don't currently have an exercise routine, it would be a good idea to start slowly. Take an easy, 1 mile walk. Speed doesn't matter. Hiking is one activity where you are rewarded for "smelling the roses".
Set reasonable goals
Once you've started walking, aim to work up to walking 3 days a week. Gradually add distance to your walks. After you are able to walk 2 miles with ease, consider wearing a day pack to carry a little extra weight.
Find a hilly place to walk. If you're coming from sea level, the high altitude can really be challenging. Your lungs and legs will be much happier if you've given them some climbs instead of staying on flat ground. If you live in a very flat part of the country, perhaps find a treadmill that you can set at an incline.
Most multi-day hikes will mean you are hiking about 7 miles a day. You don't need to fit in daily 7 mile walks at home, but if you can consistently fit in a few 1-2 mile walks a week, you'll be very grateful. It usually takes no more than 30 minutes to walk a mile, so set your alarm a bit early and get moving.
Having the reward of fully experiencing fresh mountain air, alpine wildflowers, and rocky peaks ahead is a terrific reason to get out of bed!