Each morning (except for Fridays) I wake up and follow my training plan.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays I do hills for about 8 miles. In Austin this means hiking up 300-400 feet in about 1/2 mile followed by some flats and repeating this multiple times. On Saturday I do long distance for about 12-14 miles typically following one of my old running routes. On Sundays I join the “Austin Crack of Dawn” hiking meet-up group for about 6-8 miles and do trail hiking somewhere around Austin. Uneven trails help to strengthen my ankles. Fridays I take off. All the other days I do about 4-6 miles. Right now my weekly mileage is about 40-50 miles. And then it starts all over again. I’ve been doing this since September 1st and I’ve hiked over 350 miles so far. I always wear my pack. Sometime I bring my hiking poles especially when I’m on uneven trails.

In September I started with a ten pound pack and for two weeks I keep it the same. Then I boost it by five pounds and again keep it the same for two weeks. After four weeks I always have a recovery week where I drop the weight and distance down about 20-30 percent. Every five weeks this repeats. That is, I start back up again with five more pounds for two weeks, then another five pound boost for the next two weeks followed by another recovery week. Right now I’m at 25 pounds. I’m continuing to boost the weight until I get to 35 pounds, which is a lot of weight in my humble opinion (my base pack weight about 13 pounds). This should happen around the first of December when I’ll hold the weight constant at 35 and begin to increase mileage by 10 percent for each two week period. And like before I’ll have a recovery week every fifth week. This carries me through April where I’ll be doing 80 miles per week. It’s not the 140 I’ll need, but it’s a good start.

Since the PCT is 90% hike and 10% camp my preparation focuses on hiking, mileage and weight. To prepare for camping I go on a camping trip each month (still maintaining the mileage and weight if I can). Starting in October I went with the Austin Backpacking meet-up group to Lake Somerville State Park for a weekend backpacking trip. On Saturday of that trip we had a tremendous rainstorm, and I survived but learned a number things. Trips like this are great gear shakedown times. In November I’m going with friends to Ink Lakes State Park. Then I’m going solo to Colorado Bend State Park in December, and Lost Maples State Park in January. Finally I’m going to Big Bend National Park in February and solo hiking the Outer Mountain trail over four days. Kathy, my wife, is coming too and staying in the Lodge while I’m out in the backcountry.

This is the best I can do to prepare for hiking the PCT.