Inca Trail Training

We are 23 days away from our departure for Peru and 27 days from our Inca Trail Trek. Preparations have begun in earnest. We have the trip planned out, but now I am very interested in getting as fit as I can. The Trek lasts 4 days and covers around 27 miles. To those of you who marathon, that sounds ripe for a race, and yes, they do hold an Inca Trail Marathon. But here is how we’ll split it up over 4 days. Lowest point is 8,000 feet and highest point is 13,779.

miles gain loss
Day 01: Cusco to Wayllabamba 7.4 1,312
Day 02: Wayllabamba to Pacamayo 7.4 3,985 2,017
Day 03: Pacamayo to Wiñay Wayna 9.3 2,952
Day 04: Wiñay Wayna to Machu Picchu 3.1 984
27.3

I worked on my base fitness by training for and running the Women’s Half Marathon on November 7.

I also tested all of my gear on the Humphrey’s Peak hike on October 23. That was a 10 mile hike with about a 3,500 foot elevation gain/loss.

Now I’m spending 4 weeks recreating the mileage of the Inca Trail. My goal is to accomplish the Trek comfortably, which means not feeling too sore to sleep each night. I would also like to keep all of my toenails, a feat I have not been able to accomplish on past through hikes.

Monday I hiked Camelback with the day pack I will carry on the trek. This hike offers lots of scrambling, with an elevation gain/loss of about 900 feet. I packed my day pack exactly as I will for the Inca Trail and it weighed 26 pounds. That was too heavy, especially considering I don’t have to carry a tent, sleeping gear, or cooking materials. After the hike, I tried to pare down what was in my pack. There weren’t many things I wanted to take out. So instead of removing much more from it, I decided I’m going to lose 5 pounds to take care of that extra weight.

Yesterday I did a 7 mile South Mountain Trail run at dawn that was delightfully cold, rocky, and beautiful. The sun was in the east and the moon was in the west. I didn’t take my pack because I ran with Miranda. She’s a great motivator! This trail offers an elevation gain/loss of only 400 feet.

Today I did a 5 mile South Mountain Loop with pack. This one offers an elevation gain/loss of almost 1100 feet.

Here I am on the hike. So far so good!

2 Replies to “Inca Trail Training”

  1. Interesting article. As I mention in my own post below, I found the Inca Trail really tough going, despite bein a pretty fit and healthy young guy. I would definitely recommend spending at least three days in Cuzco, or even better Arequipa, to get used to the altitude, as well as plenty of long runs to build up your stamina and leg strength.

    In fact, I’d go so far as to say that strong legs will be your most important tool on the whole Trail!

    Anyway, here’s my own post about my experience walking the Inca trail. Hope you enjoy!

    http://www.mytravelbug.co.uk/hiking-the-inca-trail/

    1. Hi Paul,

      Thanks for your post. I loved your description of the hike, especially the moments when you said, “breakfast” “lunch” and “dinner”! I am looking forward to earning my meals with lots of walking.

      I hope the place names DO start rolling off my tongue, as you mention. For now I’m a bit overwhelmed.

      We are doing 2 nights in Sacred Valley and 2 nights in Cuzco before the trek, so I hope that my lungs feel okay. I’m glad you had a lovely time.

      Trish

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