Backpacking training roadmap

Ever wondered how important endurance, strength, and rest are to your backpacking goals?

This training content will guide you for three months on what movements you should be doing and at which point in your training plan, you should be doing them!

Kristen Gonzalez, MPH has her Bachelor of Science in Sports and Health Science with a concentration in Fitness and Wellness.






Month One:

Not necessarily in that order, but for the first month you will be doing two cardio days and three strength days (weightlifting). Don’t worry a good pair of dumbbells will work just fine and you do not need to run out and get a gym membership.

Month Two:

In month two you will start to push yourself a little more. Adding weight to your backpack, performing deeper stretches, and of course, you’re going to want to work on your balance. Try some trail running, do more hiking, and carry a pack with weight.

Month Three:

No more weightlifting, but if you do, keep it to a minimum. This month is all about hikes, yoga, and cardio. If you are doing a 4-day trip I recommend your weekly mileage to be at least 15 miles. Here is what the daily breakdown will look like:

  • Three days of Cardio based exercise (walking, hiking, or running).
  • Two days of strength-based exercise (dumbbells, bodyweight) See the list below.
  • Two days of rest. Not consecutive.
  • Stretching and yoga every single day for 10 minutes. Especially on rest days. This will help dramatically with the soreness.

ARE YOU STILL WITH ME? GOOD! Now you get the list of recommended movements and mileage.

  • SIDE RAISES (with a dumbbell)
  • CALF RAISES (weighted)
  • STEP-UPS (weighted)

Running and walking is the most important aspect of your training!

You should be aiming for 15 miles a week.

Month One Mileage:

  • Monday 2 miles
  • Tuesday 2.5 miles
  • Wednesday 1 mile
  • Thursday 3 miles
  • Friday 1 mile
  • Saturday 3 miles
  • Sunday rest

Month Two Mileage:

  • Monday 4 miles
  • Tuesday 2 miles
  • Wednesday 4 miles
  • Thursday 4 miles
  • Friday rest
  • Saturday 2 miles
  • Sunday rest

Month Three Mileage:

  • Monday 5 miles
  • Tuesday 3 miles
  • Wednesday 3 miles
  • Thursday 5 miles
  • Friday rest
  • Saturday 4 miles
  • Sunday rest

Whatever your next trip, it demands a good workout plan!