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Health + Injury
Ultra / Adventure racing
My mother and sister are doing this walk.
What tips can I pass on to them and how much should they be training for such an event?
I did the Inca Trail in March - it's an unforgettable experience and I'm sure your mother and sister will have a great time.
The most important piece of advice in my view is to make sure to spend a few days at altitude first. In my case I'd been at altitude for a full week before I did the Inca Trail and I felt no adverse effect but the first couple of days at altitude were uncomfortable (light headed + shallow breathing). Other than that, I don't think the walk is *that* difficult. The terrain is uneven - stones and thousands of steps (they'll be sick of steps by the end of it!). It's tough climbing up but even tougher going down - especially after the 1st pass. This is at 4200m, you then drop 1000m to climb up again to the 2nd pass (3000-something metres). Correct footwear (and socks) is therefore imperative! I also hope they have strong knees! I was told that the 2nd day was meant to be the hardest - in my view it isn't. The 1st day is probably the most challenging because you're getting used to the terrain. In terms of training, you don't have to be super fit to do it - you have plenty of time to do it in, it's quite a leisurely pace and you can stop at any time to catch your breath. Obviously if they do no exercise whatsoever, they will find it taxing but if they are quite active (walking, etc) they should be fine. The distance covered over 4 days is actually not that much but just remember what the terrain is like!
Also, they must be prepared for hot and cold weather. It can get pretty cold at night - and damp (I caught a nasty stomach bug on the 2nd night because of that). So that means thermals, windproofs but also T-shirts, sun block, etc. I'd recommend they buy walking sticks as well (2 for balance!). They'll find they're everywhere in Ollantaytambo (this is where they should be starting from I think). They're also very cheap so no need to buy any from a specialist shop in the UK. Sleeping bags and mattresses can be hired there and I'd recommend they do that through the company they'll be using for the trail (we went with Spectacled Bear and I highly recommend them). The gear was perfectly fine and it means less luggage, unless they need it for another part of the trip. As I'm sure they/you know, they will only be carrying their daypack - the rest of the gear is carried by porters (and that includes enough food for 4 days, stoves, tents, etc etc - unbelievable). I must add that the food was plentiful and very tasty too!!
Let me know if you have any questions about the above - if I think of anything else, I'll post again.
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