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[pct-l] Training for the PCT

I learned a valuable lesson the first time I climbed Mt. Rainier.  It
was something I really wanted and trained very hard.  To complement
normal running and other exorcise for aerobic and strength conditioning,
I used stair climbing.  Although just before the climb I was able to run
10 miles and not be wiped out, I am convinced that the stairs is what is
really needed for preparation for a trip in the mountains where you
expect significant elevation changes.

I use normal office buildings or hotels, as tall as I can find.  I start
by walking up and down two steps at a time for fifty flights (yes
flights or floors) and work up to "running" up and down 300 flights.  It
is the down hill part that does wonders for leg conditioning.  Going
down in the mountains is the hardest on your body and this conditioning
really helps.  Forget the Stairmaster - no good on the downhill side. 
300 flights takes about 2 hours so I extrapolate this 3000 foot up and
down to a day in the mountains and feel pretty confident I can take on a
serious mountain day.  I start with running shoes and work up to my
boots (boy was that day a shock!).  You can even carry loads if you
wish.  This type of training is fairly portable for the busy travelers
in the crowd and certainly gives you excellent aerobic workout as well.

Anyway, the Rainier trip was successful, absolutely no physical problems
which allowed me to focus on other issues and pleasures of the climb.  I
use stair climbing to prepare for all my trips and have been up numerous
mountains and hiked the JMT last summer.  At the end of the day, I still
have some gas left.  By the way, the first time you try this, you will
probably have sore legs and be looking for flat ground the next two days
but better at home than on day two of a long trip!  

Hike safely.  Jack
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