Hiking Tips

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  • Check the weather.
  • Select a trail and distance that matches your ability.
  • Dress in a couple layers. Even if it’s hot have extra layers available, in the event you get lost and delayed in returning the temps may drop as it nears nightfall.
  • Pay attention to landmarks on the trail.
  • Apply Sunscreen 30 minutes before you get on the trails, every 80 minutes thereafter. Lip balm with SPF is a must as well.
  • Water and Electrolytes. Hydrating days prior to a big hike can help to minimize dehydration. You should always carry 2-3 liters and extra in the heat. Hydrate after the hike with electrolytes too.
  • Wear a hat to help keep your head cool and protect you from direct sunlight.
  • Hike early morning or evening – or go for a night hike on the next full moon!
  • Recognize the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. WebMD.
  • Don’t cross water if it’s above your knees. If you do, find a natural bridge or cross facing upstream while shuffling your feet.
  • Tips for hiking in bear country.
  • Hike at a fitness level that’s at a level for your least fit or experienced person if hiking in  a group.
  • Learn how to read a map (if you don’t already know how).
  • Use a compass.
  • Stay on the trails.
  • wear appropriate clothing. Shoes should fit comfortably and be broken in already.
  • In the backpack (depending on experience, length and difficulty of hike); bug spray, water, nutrient dense snacks, sunscreen, lip balm, extra socks, wet socks suck and holes can cause blistering, hat (unless you are wearing one), first aid supplies, map, compass, fully-charged cell phone and GPS, poncho, plastic storage zipper bags, dry bags, tarp, whistle, knife or multi-purpose tool, flashlight or headlamp with fresh batteries in them. All that being said, don’t take a bunch of extra stuff. That will only weigh you down, slow you down and fatigue you. Take essential hiking provisions.
  • Add to your kit a small fire starter kit in case of stranding (being lost) overnight or cold weather emergencies only. Make sure you know how to start a fire without starting a forest/wooded trail fire. Forest fires can spread extremely fast. And even more so in some areas where weather conditions cause high risk factors for fire. Please please please know what your doing with your fire kit, in advance of your hike!
  • Learn about poisonous plants indigenous to your area.
  • Learn about the wildlife indigenous to your area.
  • Know your locations hunting seasons🥺 You don’t want to get mistaken for a target 😧
  • Make stops along the way. Set your pack down, drink some water and give your muscles a rest.
  • Make sure someone at home knows the trail route you’re taking.
  •  If it’s raining, remember to use caution, even leaves can be slick.
  • Know your poison ivy!

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The 10 Hiking Backpack Essentials
Navigation
Sun Protection
Insulation
Illumination
First-Aid Supplies
Fire
Repair Kit and Tools
Nutrition
Hydration
Emergency Shelter

 

 

Resources: If you aren’t familiar with the details of each of the ten categories of the 10 Essentials, we recommend reading our Guide to the 10 Essentials.

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Wild Animal Safety Tips: How to Stay Safe When Encountering Wildlife

 

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Don’t let the rain stop you from hiking!

Here are some tips to make sure you stay safe…

  • Choose the Right Trail – Pick a shorter hike that will take a few hours rather than all-day. Make sure you read up on the trail beforehand to see if there are creeks or slippery sections that are prone to flooding.
  • Wear the Right Clothing – Make sure your jacket is waterproof. You want to stay dry from the rain but also have a material that wicks away sweat.
  • Bring the Right Gear – Invest in a rain cover for your backpack. You can also use dry bags or ziploc bags to keep your gear dry inside your pack.
  • Bring the Right Snacks – You most likely won’t stop for a picnic so pick grab-and-go snacks like nuts and granola bars. Consider a thermos if it’s cold.
  • Have the Right Attitude – Learn to love the rain – the trails will probably be less crowded and if you’re adequately prepared, you’ll soon love it!

 

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Benefits Of Exercising In Nature (and why it’s better than at home workouts)

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I still do some at home workouts. But I really feel too strongly about getting out in nature and just moving. You can walk, hike, run, swim, etc… But the added benefits to getting outside and away from technology for a hot minute is well worth it. At home and gym workouts are awesome for changing up your routine, getting out of the rain and snow, or just meeting other people and that energy vibe you get from working out around other people. But stepping away from the TV, the computers and the tablets can change your entire mental outlook for the day. So get outside and take a walk!

Hiking In My Neighborhood

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First Landing State Park – Virginia Beach, Virginia

We love First Landing trails for hiking/walking and even trail runs. We love nature and the trails are easy to navigate. One of the trails lead to a beautiful hidden beach. First Landing it’s such a lovely place to be! There are tons of trails for hiking, biking and running. There is a trail center with maps, an informative museum,gifts, restrooms and a venue for special occasions. This is a great place for weddings, trail side or beach side. Where you can find me hiking the most.

 

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Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge – Virginia Beach, Virginia

Beautiful wildlife refuge and great spots for photo ops! It’s really peaceful at Back Bay. Off season some areas are restricted though so check with the websites for more info!

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Northwest River Park – Chesapeake, Virginia

Pretty little park with paved walkways.

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Chesapeake Arboretum – Chesapeake, Virginia

Very shady canopy. Well maintained trails. Tucked away behind a shopping plaza of all things. Take bug spray!

 

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Norfolk Botanical Gardens – Norfolk, Virginia

Yes you have to pay for admission. But you are surrounded by beauty every step of the way. They have a snack bar and lots of places to sit if you get weary. Some areas are not shaded very well so it can get super hot in the middle of summer mid-afternoon. I love this place for a hike, even if it isn’t your normal “hike” type area.

 

 

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Hoffler Creek Wildlife Preserve – Portsmouth, Virginia

Heavy salt marsh environment. Beautiful trails  that wind through the surrounding forest and a big lake.

 

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Sandy Bottom Nature Park – Hampton, Virginia

456 acres of wilderness and wildlife, with 8.6 miles of loop trail surrounding a lake as well as a nature center with educational information. The trails are accessible year-round, are great for any skill level and dogs are welcome as well as long as they are on a leash. This is a beautiful hike!

 

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Newport News Park – Newport News, Virginia

Pretty view, isn’t it? This park offers 9 trails that cover approximately 30 miles, featuring a lake and plenty activities from bird watching to forested paths, fields of wildflowers, canoeing, as well as historical sites.  The trails are considered suitable for all skill levels and can be fairly popular on nice weekend days, so if you prefer seclusion, get there early. Dogs are also welcome as well but must be on a leash.

 

Hitting the pavement (or trails)

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1. Start Small
Maybe you’ve never run a day in your life. Or maybe you’ve taken a big hiatus from the pavement for whatever reason. Or injury has kept you sidelined. Regardless, you need to start or start back small. The most exuberant first time mountain climber isn’t gonna go out and tackle Mt. Everest his first climb. It would be foolish but also self deflating. You need to set yourself up for success, strength gaining and endurance building.
Heck you don’t even have to “run”. If you don’t feel a run, then walk. Or if your conditioning won’t yet allow running, then walk. Walk as slow as you need to. The point is letting your feet touch the pavement, the trail or the treadmill ( I highly suggest one or both of the first two. Treadmills are great for intervals or really bad weather conditions but being in the open air is just in general better for your health).
Commit to a 15 to 20-minute short walks or runs, or intervals (run/walk/run), three times for one week. Sure, you may want to do more, but just stick to short sessions. After three or four weeks of regular training, aim to increase your workload and running mileage.

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2. One Goal
Goals help you to focus. That eye on the prize mentality. Something that would make you feel inspired or accomplished in your training. Sit down and come up with the ONE goal you want to achieve. Do you want to run a 5K, a 5K in under 30 minutes, or are you trying to get back into marathon running? Choose a race allowing yourself enough time to reach that goal. Be very very realistic. Check and see what the time limit is for the race and then set your training accordingly, but make sure it’s doable!!

 

 

3. Find Inspiration
That can be from other people who are runners or race walkers. Join a club, or some bigger races even have training groups. Many small running stores have group runs. I’m part of the RWB who gets together not only for races, but training runs, strength training , hill work, yoga and cross-fit.
Follow blogs that inspire you and your training. Find an inspirational quote every day that you focus on. Make it your mantra for the day and focus on that when you train.

 

 

4. Commit Your intentions out loud to someone or to many
You can blog it, tell members of that new group what your training plan encompasses, or tell your family members around the dinner table. There are many forums you can find about running, or Facebook groups. Even Reddit has running threads you can follow and share with.
You will also need to hold yourself accountable—long term—for your actions. Don’t just commit once and it’s over, but hold yourself accountable for the long term by providing everyone on your accountability list with regular progress updates every week or so.
So far I’ve told my blog readers my intention and also how I’ve been slacking. My hubby knows, as well as knowing details on my training schedule so he can kick me in the butt when needed.

 

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5. Change up your training routine
Especially when you feel you’re getting bored or losing excitement in your walk or run. This can especially happen when training for longer and longer distances. So small changes help immensely. It can be changing up your play list, or your running route (which you should do for safety anyway), as well as time of day. If you are a road (pavement) runner, find some smooth trails that aren’t to challenging (where you would need to buy trail shoes for), or accept the challenge. Hey that means you can shop for some new shoes ladies 👠
This is the good time to throw in some treadmill intervals where you can change up the speed and incline. If you google treadmill intervals you will find all kinds of routines to do. Or head outside for the hills, I said hills, not mountains, for some hill work. This will help strengthen your legs.

 

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6. Befriend Runners

As I said above, find some fellow runners or walkers. Check what you are doing minute per mile and then go seek like minded (ability) people. I also belong to group on Facebook called the Running Turtles. They are local in my area but they have everyone from 20 min mile walkers to 6 min mile runners. It could even be your spouse or a friend who has similar goals. But if you do that, just make sure you are positive for one another. You don’t want someone who can easily talk you out of walking or running for the day to go to the donuts shop instead!
Also just befriending runners in online groups even if it’s a national group like the RunJunkEes® Run Club is for me. We do have a small local group that meets. But many in RunJunkEes® are online just for the support, tips and motivation they get.

Also small local running stores often hold runs and running workshops. Some are often directed at showing off a new shoes style. But that’s a benefit because sometimes you get to try the shoes too! And besides, you need to get fitted properly if you’re just starting out anyway. Too often people buy running shoes in the size they normally wear in non running shoes, and guess what, most of the time that’s not the right running shoes size you need. Plus there are shoes depending on your pronation (heel goes to the left or right when you come down on it) and you can get shoes to help because that is a discomfort when running.

 

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Or walking

7. Celebrate your Successes

And try not to do it too much with food if you don’t have a healthy relationship with food. Much better choices are ways to pamper or gear yourself.

  • Massages are a welcome relief
  • Manicure and Pedicure will make you feel awesome and usually you get a bit of a foot and calf massage added into it!
  • A new haircut or color is a great way to celebrate you getting healthier and stronger
  • New shoes (any new shoes 👟)
  • New running clothes! I adore INKnBURN as I guess you know by now and for me the fact that these are special limited edition runs makes my self esteem stronger when I run in them. They are special for my training and they help me to not give up!!

 

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8. Starting for the first time

Depending on your skill level and athletic ability there are good training plans out there that are all just a little different and that makes it easier for you to find the right fit.
Couch to 5K training plan you can find on the internet and apps for your phone

  • Get fitted for the proper running shoes
  • Start with run/walks
  • Let your body be the boss. Your brain may think “but I’ve only gone 10 minutes, I have to push further”, but if your body is hurting badly, your limping along, or you are fatigued, pushing to hard will damage you for your next outing.
  • HYDRATION – yes capital letters. You may not feel thirsty at all, but your muscles need that hydration, or they will quit on you. HYDRATE well before your run (give enough time to head to the bathroom before your run).
  • Plan a safe route. A route you know, where the neighborhood is safe, time of day is safest and where you know the actual layout of the pavement or trail. Yes, walk it out first and know where there is and isn’t sidewalk. And where there is cracked up sidewalk. Where there are badly managed trail areas. It’s great if you can find a school that allows you to use their track, but check with them first so you don’t get arrested for trespassing. This is another area knowing local runners or running stores can help you out.
  • Take breaks when you need to, you are training your body. Training translates to, your body doesn’t know how to do this yet.
  • Make sure you’ve eaten a small but healthy meal about an hour before your run. Your body needs fuel. Especially when you are asking it to do more. There are many books on runners nutrition out there, just google.
  • Be patient with yourself and if you don’t succeed with your planned time or planned miles, don’t stress it. Just lace back up the next training day and go out and get it!

 

 

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True Story!!

9. Some suggested help for you from me…

Zombies, Run Phone App.

RunJunkEes® Run Club

Team RWB

INKnBURN

Jeff Galloway Training Excellent place for walkers to start. Jeff has training plans to take you from walking into running.

Hal Higdon For those already able to do some running.

ResqWalk ResQwalk is a FREE mobile app that enables you to raise money and resources for animal welfare organizations, simply by walking.

Charity Miles Choose a charity and walk or run for it.

Garmin 

Fitbit

Run Fast. Eat Slow.: Nourishing Recipes for Athletes

I’m not listing shoes because every foot is different. I have used three different brands since I started. But I was fitted for the brands.

There are other phone apps out there such as Zombie 5K, Map My Walk, Map My Run, Get Running, Runkeeper, Couch to 5K, C25K, Runtastic, and Edumondo. I have used all of these and they all, like most apps have high points and low points. You just have to give them a test run and see what fits your needs best.

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A Mindful Hike

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Hiking. I like hiking more than any other physical exercise. And that in itself says a lot.Taking in nature in all it’s grand forms; mountains, trails, beaches, parks, etc… is very grounding and calming to me. Very meditative and gives time for introspection or even just the ability to shut the chatter of the mind completely out and just take in the scenery and feel the earth below my feet. I recently learned there is a term for what I like to do and it’s called Mindful Hiking. I like to let the experts do the talking so here is more info and ideas about stepping out on a meditative type of hiking experience!

 

 

 

hike_spot2Physical activity. Beautiful scenery. Who doesn’t like the occasional hike in the great outdoors? And when you add a little extra awareness to the experience, your outing can benefit both your body and your mind.

Take a Mindful Hike

 

 

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