How do I do this?
Training. I don't have the knees or the motivation to ever become a long distance runner, but there are other ways to get into good hiking shape. Honestly, the only reason i've ever found myself running on a hike is because I came across something I wanted to get far far away from. Before a big backpacking trip you really have to get comfortable with weight and uneven ground. One of my favorite ways to train for this is what I call heavy hiking. I got out to my local National Seashore Park and start turning laps on their "nature" trail while i'm wearing my weight vest.
Small section of trail
I started doing this a few days ago and I typically always start out the same way using just the weight vest. The vest is 25lbs and it's a good weight to get comfortable with. As I start making easier work of the miles I will start adding weight in various ways. The weight goes a long way for conditioning along with improving your footing. Footing is one of my big problems. I take tumbles just walking on normal ground, so the woods can be quite the challenge for me on occasion.
Loaded down working up a good sweat.
I do have one HUGE problem though. I am training at nearly sea level. We will see altitudes of 12k+ when we are out west. I could tell a huge difference at the 7k Grand Canyon. My legs were with me, but my lungs weren't so much. If you know anything I can do to prepare for the altitude please let me know!
Until Next Time,
All tips are welcome!