15. Trail Descriptions & Training Schedule
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Get Ready To Hike One Of The Most Beautiful Trails On Earth - Inca Trail To Machu Picchu!
Plan to be on the trail for 7 - 9 Hours on Hike Day!
Our goal is to prepare you to meet the rigors that come with hiking the special nuances that not only make hiking the Inca Trail a challenge, but to overcome some of the mental and physical challenges that are typically a part of all iConquer series hikes.
The Inca Trail Description
There are a few qualifiers for you to consider as you read through this and they of
course begin with the quality of the hike. Aside from the iconic names and
destinations of Inca Trail and Machu Picchu, this hike is 16k one-way trail that
provides an amazing experience from beginning to end. The trail requires
participant’s utmost attention to the training, preparation and understanding of the
hike, which we include as we do with all other Conquer hikes. Similar to the Grand
Canyon hike, once started, the only way off the trail is under ones own power.
Again, this is a one-way trail and we access the trailhead via train. Once off the train
and it leaves us, it is a 2-3 hour walk to the nearest village and point of relief. It is not
an out and back trail, so that is the minimum hike a participant can do should they
choose to opt out at the last minute for any reason.
Machu Picchu is not as high in elevation as most people assume. Our trail
begins at the Urabamba River at approximately (6500 ft. or 2000m) of elevation,
hikes up to the highest point of 9000 ft. 2758m) and ends hiking down through
Machu Picchu (7875 ft or 2400 m). It is a full 7 – 9 hours of hiking with world class
and heritage sites along the way. There is only one trail available and it is the ONLY
way for us to get to Machu Picchu on hike day. The sense of accomplishment and
participant reward is in a word, amazing.
YOUR TEAM adventure
Our adventure and hike on the Inca Trail will be based upon several variables that will determine the amount of time we have to hike. Everyone hikes as a team. As you have read in other sections of this guide, we have planned for quicker paced hikers as well as for those who choose a slower or less demanding pace. As you train, it is up to you to decide which hike is best for you. For your safety and the safety of the other team members, faster hikers will want to consider waiting at the Sungate for the entire team to assemble and hike into Machu Picchu together.
Inca Trail Weather and Trail Conditions
Safety is our highest priority. So NO one EVER hikes alone. Weather on the Inca Trail in August should be close to perfect. Though it will be winter, the morning should be cool (40 - 50's) and the high during the day in the mid 70's. Keep in mind that there is little shade on the trail and the elevation is on average over 8000'. The air is thin and the sunshine is INTENSE! While we cannot foresee any circumstance where we will not be able to do this hike, please be aware that conditions of the day will determine exactly what our adventure together will be. However, for the sake of training there are two conditions that you should prepare for. Our hike will be on the dry side so the trail can be dry, dusty and the decomposing volcanic soils and small rocks can make it unstable and slick. If it does rain, the stones on the trail and in the ruins can become slippery. Fog, heat and humidity are also significant factors so prepare for all conditions.
Recipe For Success
2 - 3 Liters of Water
Trail Snacks and Lunch
Deep Tread Hiking Boots
Getting Ready To Train - Run/Walk/Aerobics
We know that some of you are longtime runners, some of you prefer to walk for your daily fitness regime and still others prefer a combination of aerobic workouts and weight training in the gym. In training for our hike, all are great ways to prepare yourself so long as you actually get up, out and do them everyday. Consistency is the key.
Through our experience and in research over the last few years, we have learned that the single biggest challenge that most of our hike participants face is not just what to do, but rather to find the time, motivation and drive to stay active and train on a regular basis. If you follow the recommended schedule, Hike Day will be Day 56 of your consecutive days of walk training. So not only will you have Conquered The Trail, but you will have started a daily fitness regime that can help you live healthier for the rest of your life.
Even if you are unable to take the time to fully follow the scheduled times/distances, make sure you walk at least 30 minutes everyday to keep the consistency part going. Once you reach 20 or 30 days in a row, you will be more highly motivated to keep it going, if for no other reason than to just avoid the dreaded "Day One" all over again.
Use these definitions in conjunction with the training schedule
With that in mind, we have "uncomplicated" our training recommendations so that it easier to follow and stick with for the next few months. Below are a few definitions that will help as you read the schedule and get started on it.
1. Run/Power Walk/Gym - This means exercising with a purpose for the time allotted. This is an aerobic exercise so if you are running or walking make sure you are building and maintaining a pace that gets your heart rate and respiration elevated. Keep it going during your entire workout.
2. Incline Walk - Walk uphill! It is as simple as that. 50% of your hike and 75% of your energy will be spent walking uphill. Much of it is very steep. For this exercise, stair climbers in the gym or stairs in a local building, staduim work really well.
3. Get your mind right! Have someone drop you off 3 or 4 kilometers downhill from your house with only your regular gear, water, a snack and your phone. Now walk home. Build this up until you are doing several a week until you can comfortably do 12 to 14k.
4. Hike (Sundays and Midweek) - Get out in nature and hike. The goal is for you to develop the dexterity, balance and stamina for walking on uneven, rocky and inconsistent surfaces and pitches that make up a forest or mountain trail.
5. Hike (Saturdays) - This hike should be something you set up that will challenge your strength, endurance, agility and motivation. It is meant to be a harder hike than the Sundayor midweek hikes and is designed to help you develop your sense of commitment to a longer hike. Remember, hiking down is optional. Hiking back up is mandatory. Approach these training hikes with that mindset.
6. Keep Your Walk Consistent - Walk (Week 8) - Just do a purposeful walk anywhere you can for 30 minutes each day. Home, work, airport - anywhere that is convenient. The key is to keep your consistency streak going!
"When you are moving your feet, look down!
When you are looking up, stand still!"
START WALKING RIGHT NOW!
That's Right. Put down your mouse, plug in your earbuds or grab a friend and go for a WALK!