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There are few things more rewarding than completing a long-distance trek, but there are unique and specific challenges to these accomplishments. They require preparation, training and understanding of the techniques, gear and risks you’ll face on your trek. If you’re well prepared and know what to expect, it can be a life changing adventure that you’ll never forget and will likely want to repeat. It’s much more than putting one foot in front of the other though, so here are six valuable tips for your preparation before you embark on that once in a lifetime trip.

Vary Your Terrain During Training

It’s not always going to be well defined trails and smooth, hard ground underfoot. You’re going to experience many different terrain types and difficulties on your trip, so training on similar terrain is vital. Practice scrambling over rocks, walking over fields and hills and on soft sands and beaches more than you do on those well-defined trails, because the easy walking isn’t what you’re going to need to train for when it comes to your trek.

Don’t Forget the Weather

It’s not just the terrain that’s going to vary throughout your trip either. You’re likely going to experience a variety of weather conditions and temperatures both at night and during the day. You’ll want to purposefully head out on trails during rain and colder temperatures, and not just train on the nice sunny days. Understanding what it’s like being out in a remote location while it’s raining with poor visibility and the ground is slippery will prepare you well for your trek when it happens to you on the trails.

Fuel Yourself Properly During Training

Bearing in mind that everything you carry adds weight, food and drink can be a significant contributor to that weight. You’ll want to opt for nutrient rich foods that offer a lot of fuel for your body without adding too much weight. If you make good decisions on food and drink you can keep yourself fueled and fed without carrying a lot of weight. For example, you can take a healthy energy drink with you that can provide a lot of nutrition and energy without adding too much weight.

Practice with Your Gear

There’s a good chance you’ll need to carry a bit of gear with you, and that gear can weigh a fair amount. When you train, you should spend a good amount of that time training with the gear, carrying it as you will when you go out on your trip. It will allow you to understand the weight and the impact it has on you and might also convince you to leave some of the more unnecessary things behind to save on that weight.

Learn About Blisters

Your feet take a pounding on a long trek. They’re hitting the ground and supporting both your weight and that of your gear, and thus it’s important to look after them well and make sure they’re properly supported. This means choosing the right shoes – both size and style for your route and keeping them as free from blisters as you can. Walking on a blister is incredibly painful so avoiding them is important. The basics of blister avoidance are to keep your feet dry by not getting your shoes and socks wet and by wearing moisture wicking socks made from wool or a polypropylene liner sock under your thick hiking socks.

The most important goal of a trek is to enjoy the journey, don’t rush it and don’t embark just to finish. The real adventure is what you’ll experience on the trails. If you’re sufficiently prepared it will pass by in a flash, and you’ll want for nothing more than to do it again.