Distance Possibilities Range from a 1-Mile Walk to an Ultra-Marathon!
For Maximum Enjoyment and Safety, Select the Adventure that Best Fits the Following Criteria
How far can you go before leaving the “fun zone”? The “fun zone” is the amount of distance you can generally cover during an adventure while still feeling relatively good.
What is your “fun zone”?
Given about 5 days of walking/running exercise per week over the most recent 2-month period, average out the total number of miles you cover per week. Your “fun zone” is likely to be about half that distance. For example, during the most recent 2 months I’ve averaged about 30 miles per week. My “fun zone” is about 15 miles. When I get beyond the 15-mile point I begin to be a little less into joy and discovery and a little more into “making it through to the finish”.
What is your “danger zone”?
As you approach and surpass 2/3rds of your weekly average distance you’re getting into your “danger zone”. Your “danger zone” is the point at which exhaustion is more likely to set in. Your agility and judgement can become hampered. Thus, if you’re traversing class 3-5 climbing terrain while on a long distance adventure in your “danger zone” the chances of a fall and injury increase. In fact, I’ve sprained my ankle on fairly good trails near the end of an over-long adventure.
The Perfect Storm
Danger factors can quickly add up. Say, you’re in your “danger zone” near the end of a too-long adventure, you’re descending into higher temperatures and you ran out of water or did not consume adequate food. In these circumstances make an effort to be particularly focused and deliberate in your moves.
Best Wisdom for Beginners
If you have little or no experience on wilderness adventures, start out on easy established trail terrain going no further than a third to half of your “fun zone” distance as calculated above. Listen to your body. How do you feel? Are there any physical issues? How is your gear, water and food working for you? Let this be a baseline and gradually over time increase.
Rule of Thumb for Increasing Average Distance
Increasing your distance too rapidly from week to week may be okay at first, but if you increase the total distance you cover by more than 10% over the previous week’s total distance, you’re opening yourself to repetitive motion injuries.
Adequate fuel consumption throughout your adventure definitely increases the amount of distance you can cover.
I’m not the expert here. I take the easy, light, low prep. solution of 20-gram protein power bars with low to no sugar. I always have 6 in my backpack. That is adequate fuel for me on any one-day adventure up to 30 miles. I usually consume one or two power bars every 5 miles, especially as I’m either on or closing in on a high summit.
Rules of thumb:
A more sophisticated philosophy:
I extensively interviewed fitness experts Glenn and Shoshi Hall during a trip we made up Mummy Mountain. The insights they shared during this adventure are state of the art regarding nutrition before and during an extensive adventure.
All distances are not equal. In addition to your level of conditioning, these factors affect the distance you can enjoyably cover during an adventure: