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Trekking Training for Everest Base Camp Tips for Success

 In Destinations, Hiking Skills, International Destinations, Mountain Skills, Skills

Everest Base Camp sits at roughly 17,600 feet and getting there is no small feat. Training for trekking, or long-distance hiking, regardless of the elevation feels like a daunting task, especially if it’s a new endeavor for you. Luckily, I specialize in grueling hikes and mountaineering so here are a few of my favorite trekking training tips to help you get to the top.

Start with Cardio, Aerobic Cardio that is!

Well, duh! Cardio strength is what’s going to get you to Everest Base Camp. Before you go slamming miles on the treadmill, remember, you aren’t trying to RUN to basecamp. There are two types of cardio aerobic and anaerobic. Anaerobic cardio refers to cardio without oxygen (think sprinting). Aerobic cardio focuses more on endurance or low-grade cardio with oxygen. Despite the light air, you want to focus on building endurance, not speed. The best way to do this is to simply get on a treadmill, bike, or (gasp) go outside and move at a brisk pace. A good rule of thumb is to keep the intensity high enough that you feel the workout, but you can still carry a conversation. If you’re breathing too heavy to talk, slow down until you reach a moderate pace.

You want to build endurance over long distances so focus on time and distance over intensity. It’s better to walk five miles than sprint one. Over time, you’ll build up that aerobic endurance to sustain you over multiple days of hiking. Start training around three months before your big trip, focusing on aerobic cardio two to three times a week.

peeing in a harness

How to Train High when you Live Low

17,600 feet feels insurmountably high, especially if you live at sea level. How do you prepare your body for life at altitude when you’re surrounded by sweet, sweet oxygen? Well, it turns out it IS possible to get altitude fit prior to your trek. These trekking training tips from Miss Adventure Pants will help you sea level dwellers prepare for life in the thin air.

Altitude sickness worries most people, even those of us who live in the alpine. Remember, that it can strike even the best of us, so the best way to prepare for life at altitude is to get in the habit of staying hydrated. Ascend to higher elevations slowly (only gain 1,500 feet per day for the best results) and build a few rest days.

Looking for a guide for your Everest Base Camp Trek? Here’s how to find one.

Work Your Mind as Much as Your Muscles

Climbing mountains and undergoing big hikes is 80 percent mental. Your body will carry you much further than you think, but your mind may stop it from doing so. Learn how to set small goals, such as a rock just a few feet ahead. Reach that rock, thank yourself and find a new one. Play tricks on your mind during tough parts of the climb by simply counting to yourself. If you try to tackle everything in one go, you’ll get overwhelmed. Take time to enjoy the journey, not the destination.

Trekking involves a lot of factors that are beyond your control. You can get sick from eating different foods, your body might decide that the altitude is too much, bad weather might move in. These are all factors that no one (not even Trump’s Twitter account) can influence. Prepare your mind to NOT make it. Understand that it’s okay to turn around if conditions don’t permit you to move forward. Some of my best travel experiences are when everything goes to hell, so remember to allow the journey to unfold the way it was intended.

Don’t Forget About the Downhill

I’ll let you in on a fun little story that still plagues me today. I used to train for strength, in particular, uphill strength. Eventually, I got to the point where I could smash up 2,000 vertical feet in a mere half hour. However, my knees paid for it dearly. As a result of overtraining, I’m dealing with a recurring stress injury in my knees. Don’t be like me, train for the downhill too!

Exercises such as squats, lunges, side steps with resistance bands and walking down hills or stairs strengthen your hips and glutes. These muscle groups keep you moving on the downhill grind. Both your hips and butt help with knee stability, since these muscle groups, control your IT Band, a tendon that wraps all the way down from the meaty-est part of your butt to your knees. Strengthen your hips and glutes and save your knees. You can thank me later.

Keep it Fun

Trekking training for Everest Base Camp doesn’t have to suck. Gyms get boring, trust me, so opt to switch things up. Go on a long walk or hike, take a new exercise class, learn to rock climb, do anything that will get you motivated to keep active. As long as your body and mind are used to exercising regularly, you have a more enjoyable trek, even if you aren’t out in front, hardly out of breath.

Come up with creative ways to keep training exciting for you. Some people have the ability to head to the gym, file in line with all the other treadmills, shove their earbuds in and move. I’m not one of those people. I vary my workouts between the gym, outdoors and climbing. Find the magic formula that works best for you and stick with it.

Pack it on

No, I’m not talking about stuffing an entire bag of Oreos in your face (although, that sounds fun…), I’m talking about your daypack. It helps to train with a little bit of weight on your back. Put a few weights in your day pack and hit the treadmill. Let your shoulders and back get used to the weight while on the move. If something doesn’t feel right (your arms go numb or your back freaks out) consider getting properly fitted for a proper hiking pack.

No Time, No Problem

Life tends to get in the way when it comes to exercise, but that isn’t an excuse not to train. You can do squats while watching TV or take your dog on an extra lap around the park with your pack on. Squeeze in exercise time whenever you can to get the most of training. Sometimes this means getting a little creative with how you work out.

Learn to Breathe

The final part of your training, young padawan, is learning to breathe. In the mountains where the air is thin, breathing often feels like sucking through a straw. For many, this new sensation can produce panic. While trekking through a particularly tough section of trail, time your breathes with your feet. This tried and true mountaineering trick helps even the burliest of alpinists get to the top. Take on step, breathe. Take another step, breathe. Remember, it’s not a race by slowing down, your body can adjust to the thin air.

Now you’re ready to train for Everest Base Camp like a pro. Work out three times a week three months before your trek to EBC and you’ll be ready for life in the thin air.

Tips for training for a trek to Everest Base Camp. How to get in shape for an Everest Base Camp Trek. How to train for trekking. Tips for training for hiking and trekking. #EverestBaseCamp #EBC #Nepal #Trekking #hiking

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Showing 21 comments
  • Magretha Palepale

    You had me at 18,000 feet! WOW!!!!!!!

    • foxintheforest

      Hey Mo!

      I’m pretty nervous about it when I really think about how high up that is! But I’m gunna give it my best and enjoy the adventure!

  • Veronika Ask Stuksrud

    Nice and important tips! Train, know your gear, and get out there 😉

  • Sylvanmist

    Nice tips and advice! I love hiking, mountains, and would love to go to the Himalayas one day….when I’m in shape and save up for it ;p

  • See Outside

    Spending 18 months ‘trapped’ in Colorado doesn’t seem too bad! Sounds like an sick trip you’ve got planned! Nepal is top of the list for me!

    • foxintheforest

      Oh ya! Definitely NOT complaining about being in Colorado. If I had to stay anywhere it’d be here – which is why it’s home! 🙂

  • Reply

    Sounds like a great thing to do after your long break from travelling and well deserved. Nepal looks incredible. I would also like to go to Patagonia one day too. That also looks incredible

  • Amy (Two Drifters)

    What an incredible adventure!!!

  • Ricci - wheninmyjourneys

    I haven’t tried trekking before and I would sure love to do it. I just can’t imagine how much preparation one must do to be ready for such a thing. But better be safe than sorry. Wishing you all the best as you push through with this endeavor.

  • Mohit

    Wow…that’s a great prep guide you’ve put up and I specially liked that you’ve mentioned all the links which could help people directly connect t the right person..also Brown Girl trekker is absolutely amazing as far as I have visited her site quite a few times..

  • Sandy N Vyjay

    Trekking is a sublime experience that transforms the ordinary to extraordinary. These tips are great pointers and would equip one for a wonderful trek.

  • neha

    Nepal is a very beautiful pick for a trek. However some treks here are quiet tough and you need special trainers to get yourself prepared before you can take them on. Your post happens to make the preparation seem really easy for a novice.

    • foxintheforest

      Hi Neha,

      This is a very good point. People should choose a trek that compliments to their ability. I would not advise someone who doesn’t know what they are doing to try and climb a big mountain or do a technical climb. There are plenty of gentle treks in Nepal that are suited for more novice hikers. I hike and climb mountains practically every weekend and live at altitude. I do not consider myself a novice hiker. It is by no means easy to climb a mountain and I’m not trying to say that it is. But with the right attitude and proper level of fitness trekking is an enjoyable activity. Those who choose to do it like the challenge it presents. I chose a trek that is well within my ability as a climber and hiker. I am very comfortable with my decision. I could have picked something more challenging and still been fine, but I chose this particular route because it’s a good balance between having a challenge and being able to relax and enjoy myself. The point is to make sure your safety is taken care of and prepare according to the difficulty of trek you have chosen.

  • Ami Bhat

    This is an amazing guide for those mountains. It is not often that people realise that mountain trekking is different from your regular ones….the strength and the challenges are quite something else. Your guide will hopefully not just make them realise it but prepare for it.

  • Izzy

    Congratulations on getting your architecture license! That’s something to be so proud of and makes so much sense that you’ve had to sacrifice a bit of traveling! Well on you! I was in Nepal two years ago for three weeks and I swear, I was the only person who didn’t go trekking. But I did a homestay! Great tip on practicing with a pack. A lot of people go under prepared. Also I’m a total nerd for booking flights too! It’s a hobby of mine for sure 😛

    • foxintheforest

      Thanks Izzy! It seemed like it took forever – but I’m glad it’s done. A Nepalese homestay sounds like an AMAZING experience! Probably more unique than a trek. Haha I love looking at flights. When I’m diligent I keep a running list of what destinations cost what haha. But I’ve been lazy with that as of late.

  • Ana Rose | Roads and Pages

    I loved your post. It is very helpful most especially to those people who have same interest as you. All that are listed here are true and serve as a great reminder before someone embarks on a journey to a different country. Good luck on your trip and may you bring home more wonderful experiences from Nepal.

  • Anita

    Those tips are very important for making ready for incredible experience. Thanks for sharing!

  • Janine

    A very thorough preparation guide for a trek! The training part is what will be difficult for me, but I would love to get to the point where I could choose a destination and head up 18,000 feet. I am keeping this handy for when I plan a trip to Nepal which hopefully won’t be too long from now.

  • Andreea Bujor

    Now this is a post that i like reading. You did an amazing thing after the pause of those 2 years that you had, even me after traveling for almost 5 years (as a cabin crew) i’m now in a current break from travelling. I went to Nepal in the past but i had a very short stay i would have loved to try trekking but i have to do training first as you were saying for at least 30 min few times per day. I didn t knew about this website Momondo i might take a look at it. Thanks for a great post !

    • foxintheforest

      Thank you so much Andreea. Not traveling definitely was a hard thing for me mentally. I’m looking forward to being able to have some freedom again after all that hard work, but sometimes, life dictates a break! Definitely check out Momondo – it’s an amazing tool!

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