How to Train for Hiking the Inca Trail


Have you ever dreamed of seeing Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail? As you might know, there’s no train to it or bus, you have to hike your way up to the ancient sky city. In doing the Inca Trail, you will be hiking 7-10 miles a day or more while going up and down mountains, climbing slopes, and going over 4,000 meter passes. If you are not prepared, the trek can be fatal or can seriously damage your health. It’s good to be prepared for all situations and to be in as good a shape as you can.


Equipment You Will Need

While getting in shape (see below), you will need the right equipment too. Afterall, you are not going to enjoy this hike if you are not dressed appropriately for all weathers. When getting ready for the hike, remember that at altitude, you could experience all kinds of weather. The Andes sit between a wet jungle and some of the driest places on earth. Your equipment needs to be lightweight, tough, and flexible, but you also need the capacity to keep warm during cold nights.

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Getting Fit for the Trail

In order to get ready for hiking the Inca Trail, you are going to need a multi-step fitness program. This will cover the basics for getting your body in shape for this arduous and gruelling but ultimately rewarding trek. These can be broken down into:

  1. Work on your aerobic fitness. You’ll need the endurance to keep going and the lung capacity to deal with the thinner air at altitude. Running, swimming, and step aerobics all help.
  2. Improve your core and leg strength. You will be carrying heavy weights and walking long distances in arduous circumstances, prepare for it.
  3. Go hiking in the wildest areas around you to get a sense of being away from handy signs and cultivated landscapes.
  4. Practice hiking with your full gear on. Even better if you can do this through all four seasons to get an idea of the heat and also the cold, of wind and rain inhibiting your progress. By hiking with your gear on you get to test and build your strength, and get used to the rigors of carrying everything with you.
  5. Finally, you need to acclimatize to the altitude. The Andes are high above the sea level where oxygen is thinner and breathing becomes more difficult. Colorado has many good training spots for this, but any high landscapes are going to help acclimatize you. It is also recommended that you spend time in Peru getting ready. Pick a high base to train out of for a few days to a week before starting the trail itself.

If you would like more information, the go2peru’s team will be glad to help you.

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