This is the second part of my Fastpacking the John Muir Trail Planning series. It'll cover the intricacies and complications of planning for this trip and share some of my own experiences while working my way through this endeavor. I will split this series up into 5 parts (Permits, Training, Gear, Food, & Mileage) The second part, Training, will cover what you should do to be able to be physically and mentally fit enough to fastpack this trail.
The John Muir Trail is a long, strenuous, and brutal ordeal, especially if your shooting to complete it in 10 days or under. But it's totally worth it. It has a total estimated elevation gain of 46,000 feet and total estimated loss of 38,000 feet. Personally, I have trained for this trek by being, I guess you could say, an ultrarunner. I have spent hours on the trails and mountains of Southern California. This has prepared me greatly for it. However, not everyone is the same and therefore in your personal training regime make sure, if at all possible with your area, try your best to focus on these key aspects.
1.) Strong Uphill Ability-
Make sure that before you go you have a strong base for uphills. Make sure your power hiking (fast hiking) is strong. This is so you can make it up uphills relatively quickly and efficiently. Power hiking is not a break, you need to keep on pushing.
2.) Strong Downhill Ability-
You downhills must also be solid. You need to be able to move down the hills. Whether it be running or hiking down keep it quick. Again it's not a break.
Try when you can to train at elevation, because the JMT is at or above 8,000 feet and the last 30 miles is above 10,000. So elevation training is vital. Also, in my personal opinion elevation masks and elevation tents do not work. There is nothing that can truly replace training up high.
4.) Calorie Intake-
You must keep your energy at a constant level so make sure to keep eating and eating well. Lots of calories are burned and lots of calories must be taken in.
Lastly trust in your training and what you've done to prepare, if done well you will be confident. There will be days when you get up and want to be anywhere else but there, but keep pushing, stay present, be positive, and trust in your abilities.
Check out the first part here.