Cross training for multi-day adventures

Cycling in NZ's Poolburn Gorge | Lachlan Gardiner
Cycling in NZ's Poolburn Gorge | Lachlan Gardiner

Prepare for your next multi-day hiking or cycling adventure with these cross training tips and exercises from outdoor enthusiast, athlete and Her Outdoors Life blogger Catriona Sutherland.

Cardio counts

When taking on a multi-day adventure, endurance is key, so clocking up kilometres can best prepare you for the long distances on the trail. Take a day out of your weekend to do a big hike, attempt a longer bike ride or throw in a 5K or 10K run mid-week.

Set up a daily steps challenge to keep you goal-oriented throughout your week, then increase your kilometres or step count as you progress.

Bike training for the Cape to Cape Track |  <i>Catriona Sutherland</i>

Weights work wonders

Cardio isn’t the only key to endurance success. Time in the gym can do wonders for both cycling and long-distance hiking. Once a week, try to fit in a session using weights. Not everyone is comfortable pumping iron, so I’d also recommend a gym class, as this is great for professional guidance and motivation from those around you.

Squats, lunges and sit-ups using hand weights are an excellent method of increasing strength.

Core stability is critical to endurance longevity, so even if you can’t make a class, allow time at home to do this. Use your downtime efficiently, for instance, when watching a TV show or listening to a podcast, try planks sets to develop strength in your abdominal area. I’ll typically try 30-second intervals with short rests in-between.

Set yourself a challenge each week and see if you can increase the time of each rep.

Climbing for cross training

Hit your local climbing gym to activate your leg muscles |  <i>Catriona Sutherland</i>

If the regular gym isn’t your thing, then why not try climbing? On wet days or dark nights, I head to the climbing wall to mix it up. As well as arms as legs, this is an excellent opportunity to work your core muscles and balance too. I also find squeezing my feet into climbing shoes an ideal way to condition them too!

Allow time to recover

As you train for an endurance you’ll gather distance, but with that comes the need for recovery too. Planning in an easy week every third week is a good guide, so you don’t overload - risking injury or illness. Recovery doesn’t also have to mean complete rest either. Easy, short rides or walks are a good way to keep your body moving.

To ease out muscles and reduce your risk of getting injured, a foam roller is an ideal aid to combat potential problems. I will make time at least once a week to roll out my calves, quads, lower back and the soles of my feet. As I travel regularly, I also take with me a smaller mini roller or ball, so I can make time during or between flights to keep my body moving.

Words by Catriona Sutherland, a UK writer and athlete who followed these training tips on her adventure on the Cape to Cape Track in Western Australia. Read more hike and bike training exercises from her >

Let us know in the comments below, what's your workout routine when preparing for a multi-day adventure?

Training tips, multi-adventures, hiking, trekking, cycling, Australia, Cape to Cape

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