Alpe Adria Trail Millstaetter Alpe
Franz Gerdl (de)

Training for Hiking:
Valuable Tips & Exercises

Prepare for long-distance hiking on the Alpe-Adria-Trail

Hiking is truly a special adventure. Let’s set off together and escape everyday life. Step by step, get closer to nature and leave your worries behind. Find new perspectives and collect unforgettable moments. Are you ready?

With some training and a few exercises to prepare for hiking, you certainly will be! But how do you train for long-distance walking or hiking; what should you consider before taking your first step? With these valuable tips and exercises for body, mind and soul, your hike will surely be a success.


Photo Hiking Alpe Adria Trail

Preparation is key: how to prepare for a long hike

1. Stamina: your foundation

Good basic endurance forms the basis for every successful hike. So what better way to improve this foundation than hiking itself? Running, cycling, swimming and walking are also great ideas to help you prepare for hiking.

Begin your training slowly and avoid overexerting yourself, especially when you first start training for hiking – after all, endurance training should be fun, it should make you feel good and you shouldn’t overdo it. Give yourself and your body enough time to get used to the training and stick with it. Gradually increase the distances and pick up the pace for shorter stretches. With a little patience you will start to notice a difference as you realise things are getting easier.

Everyday tip: Leave your car at home and walk to the shops – it will help not only your health, but the environment, too.

2. Strength: fit calves, powerful legs and strong shoulders

Strong legs and shoulders and good posture make walking much easier. Heel lifts are a wonderful exercise to prepare your calves for a long hike. Stand hip-width apart with your toes pointing forward. Raise both heels slowly and stand on your tiptoes before lowering the heels just as slowly. Start with 15 to 20 reps and increase reps over time.

Squats and split squats are also great for training for hiking. Not only do they strengthen legs and glutes, they help improve coordination and balance, too.

Everyday tip: Take the stairs instead of the lift or escalator. Climbing stairs is a perfect exercise to prepare for hiking that can be easily integrated into your everyday life. It not only strengthens your muscles, but also increases your endurance.

Photo Hiking Alpe Adria Trail

3. Balance: find your centre

Because the ground is constantly changing when hiking, you’ll need not only steady footing, but also a lot of balance. If you work on your balance when you train for long-distance walking, you are guaranteed to hike more safely and reduce the risk of injury.

Forearm planks are a wonderful exercise to strengthen your core. Come into a push-up position and lower yourself onto your forearms. Hold as long as you can. Your legs, back and head are in line while your abs, glutes and back stay engaged.

Everyday tip: Stand on one leg while cooking, balance on a beam or try walking on a thin line. Watch your kids – they will show you how. Maybe you can even set up a slackline in the garden – give it a go!

4. Elasticity: prepare your joints, tendons and ligaments

If you had little exercise over the winter or are just starting your training for hiking, be patient and don’t be tempted to push too hard. Your joints, tendons and ligaments first have to get used to the new stress – and that needs time. Even if you are very motivated, it is better to take it slowly to avoid overly stressing your body, inflammation or even injuries.

Everyday tip: The proper shoes play a major role in relieving your joints, tendons and ligaments. Choose everyday shoes that fit well, or walk barefoot. Yoga also helps increase elasticity and balance.

5. Mental training: being at one with yourself

Hiking may not be not an extreme sport, but it can certainly push you to your limits. Distance plays a significant role in long-distance hiking. If you physically prepare for hiking and plan your route well, you can head out more confidently.

In addition to the distance, rocky terrain can also be a challenge. Although the Alpe-Adria Trail is not technically difficult, a certain amount of steady footing is required. The weather can also become a challenge when you’re long-distance hiking. Therefore, check forecasts in advance, keep an eye on the sky and follow the recommended rules of conduct if you encounter a storm.

Everyday tip: Get outside even in the rain and try to enjoy your time despite the weather – after all, the rule for long-distance hiking is: there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.

Training for hiking: more tips to help you prepare for long hikes


1. Teamwork makes the dream work – hike with company

Will you have company on the Alpe-Adria-Trail? Great! You can prepare for your hiking adventure together. Meet regularly to exercise, train for hiking, take a leisurely walk or a relaxing hike.


2. For your health – only head to the mountains in good health

Your physical health determines everything. Therefore, before every hike and every training session, ask yourself whether you are physically fit and healthy enough. If you have a cold or an injury, stay at home and heal up.


3. How “healthy” is my equipment? A small check with a big impact

Checking your hiking equipment before setting out on the trail is a must. How are your hiking boots? Do you need new ones? If so, be sure to break them in beforehand. Do you have a rucksack that fits your body perfectly and can be carried comfortably, even on a long-distance hike? Are your hiking poles correctly adjusted and do they sit well in your hands? Do you have the right hiking clothes and are you prepared for a change in the weather? If you can answer all these questions with “yes”, it sounds like you are ready to hit the trail.


Hiking – discover love at first step

The Alpe-Adria-Trail is perhaps one of the most enjoyable long-distance hiking trails there is. If you have discovered your love of hiking after taking your first step, want to escape from everyday life and get up-close to nature, then you should definitely hit the Alpe-Adria-Trail!