It’s been a while since you posted this question.
I’ve taken many backcountry hikes in the Tuscan hills of Italy. This actually where my permanent home is.
I’ve found that my weakness was being able to control my speed and balance when going down hills that are pretty pebbly. For me that has been exhilarating but a little frightening as I felt I was going to fall. It impressed upon me the importance of eccentric training of the musculature of my lower body.
Fairly recently, the elevators in my building were not working and I had to walk down from the 61st floor. The next day I had muscular soreness like I had never experienced. Likely related to eccentric strength weakness.
If there was any one thing I would say you prepare for it would be balance and eccentric strength.
I hope this is helpful to you.
Hi Billy. Obviously my answer here is for ‘future’ hikes 🙂 Assuming medical clearance to exercise and hike, I would say cardiovascular training (both steady-state and interval work), flexibility (this is a key, because I know that for myself after a long hike, my hips and hamstrings can be a bit sore), pushups and other body weight exercises, and definitely strength work for the lower body (e.g. squats, lunges, leg presses – including single leg presses).
I hope that you had a great hiking experience, and that my answer helps a bit.
I’m sure your trip is over by now, but for future ones this is what I would suggest to get in shape for a backcountry trip:
-Try to carry your backpack as many hours during the day as you can.
-Add stair climbing into your everyday routine or workouts.
-Go for long walks and/or runs on hills, dirt road and sand.
-Lower body strength and endurance training is a must.
-Engage in a cross training exercise program that emphasizes overall physical conditioning, such as interval training, aerobic classes (involving running, spinning, swimming, etc.).
-Pay attention to your nutrition and stay hydrated.
-Wear the same shoes/boots that you would be using in your trip as many hours per day as you can even when you are working out if possible.