There's a common mantra among hikers to "hike your own hike." This admonition is a reminder that hiking isn't a competition. Hiking should be an activity that makes you feel good about yourself and supports a healthy lifestyle. However, this slogan can deteriorate into an excuse for not facing your fears or trying your best. So, how do you still hike your own hike but hike it well? Try these 5 strategies!
Be prepared - Even if you are hiking with others, prepare as if you are going solo. Being self-sufficient with the 10 essentials, especially emergency supplies and plenty of food and water, allows you to feel confident if you get left behind. Knowing you can survive on your own keeps you from overexerting yourself to try to keep up or panicking if you can't.
Know the route and assign a meet-up spot - As part of the 10 essentials you should have a map, of course. But if you're hiking with others, review the map together and agree on a meet-up spot. You should include frequent meet-up points so that the group can accordion along the trail but stay in touch as needed. Knowing where you're going and where you can expect to find others helps with your confidence on the trail even if you're lagging behind.
Bring your best self - Hiking your own hike and hiking your best hike can be two different things. Whether you hike your own hike and are miserable or feel great depends on several factors. One is the level of physical fitness you bring to the trail. Are you training off the trail so that you can be your best self on the trail? If are you slacking off on exercise and nutrition during the week and lagging behind your trail mates on the weekend, your own hike isn't your best. Rather than complain about not keeping up, invest some time and energy into building endurance and getting stronger to give every hike your very best.
Advocate for yourself - If you need a break, take it. Need a snack? Eat one. Hiking your own hike means being on your own schedule and taking care of yourself no matter what anyone else's needs are. Doing so ensures that you are as strong and well as possible throughout the entire hike. Don't feel bad if you need to stop before anyone else is ready. Be confident about meeting your own needs.
Celebrate your success - Every hike that ends safely is a win! Each step is a valuable part of the journey that has something to teach you. Even if you didn't reach your intended goal, focus on the wins and what you've learned and you'll approach the next hike even stronger and better - OWNing every step along the way.
If you need help becoming a healthier hiker so you can hiker with more confidence, better endurance, and stop worrying about getting left behind, contact me to learn how The Healthy Hiker virtual training program can help you get there!