Outdoor hiking is a time that should be filled with amazing views, new adventures and good friends. You may be surprised in a group hike that many hikers walk at different speeds. And though you might feel like you’re in good shape, you might find yourself straggling behind others in your group. Being left in the dust of other hikers is no fun and it slows down the pace for everyone else. Don’t worry, there are ways to ensure you are not left on the trail. You can actually teach yourself to hike faster without training harder.
Find Your Head Space
The first thing to do before improving your time is to put yourself in the right frame of mind. Set aside the worry of the tough terrain and long hike so you focus more on the adventure itself. You can visualize yourself going faster and looking ahead at the finish line. Don’t stare at the steep terrain worrying about your steps. Set goals that you know you can reach. It may seem difficult at first, but visualize yourself hiking at a high speed and reaching your destination with a happy heart.
Don’t Forget Form
Your form when outdoor hiking is an integral part of your speed. If you walk with your back hunched over or your hands at your sides, the hike will take you longer. Shorten your stride and make sure you maintain your posture. Always look ahead and swing your arms to help you move along the trail. Don’t let your arms hang for too long or they will swell. Breathe deeply, find a rhythm in your steps. Singing in your head can even help keep a good pace! Take time to realize how your steps aligns with your breathing. This will help you work at a faster pace without using too much energy.
Lighten Your Load
Lighten your load to speed up. You don’t have to put everything at the camp in your pack. Even a few ounces can hold you back during your hike. Bring only the necessities with you in your pack. Make sure to include an adequate amount of food and water. Ensure the duration of your hike works in coordination with the weight of your pack.
Test Endurance Levels
Getting to your preferred speed isn’t done in a day. You don’t need to approach the 25 mile hike on one of your first adventures. Choose a shorter route (below 10 miles) and map out your hike. Try to climb more than 1000 feet when you have the chance to teach your body endurance when climbing. Remember, hiking is all about the adventure, and you really only need to build your endurance so you can see all the sights of nature and to stay with your group.
Find a Familiar Track
Choose a familiar trail and try to beat your personal best time. Use a stopwatch to measure how long each trip takes. Some hikers use a heart monitor as well. Keep a journal so you can note what is working for you every time you’re out on the trail. You can test different weights in your pack or different breathing techniques that may let you travel faster. Listen to music, stay conscious of your breathing patterns, and figure out what works best for you every time you’re on the same trail.
By using all of these techniques you can increase your speed without training harder. Are you ready to increase your outdoor hiking time yet? Do you have any other great ways to improve your hiking time? Tell us about it in the comments below!