Switching up your long weekend routine

My mountain addiction is relatively new...

Let's started with the beginning as a competitive cross-country skier. My summer training consisted of running, roller skiing, and lifting weights, while winter training was primarily cross-country skiing. I moved to Canmore, Alberta, in the heart of the Canadian Rockies once finished my university degree and retired from racing. Admittedly, the transition from being a student/athlete to a full-time worker/adult was hard for me. The mountains helped me to reconnect with sports, rediscover my passion for testing physical and mental limits, as well as give me motivation to get outside. 

Here are some tips for falling in love with hiking (as I did) or any new activity!

Elaborate a Bucket List
Like every sport, I think you should set some objectives. It doesn't need to be performance oriented. It could simply be a wish list of hikes you want to explore this summer, interesting backpacking trips, over-night camping/hike adventures, cabin getaways, road trips, etc.

This will keep motivation high throughout the summer and inspire you to switch up your weekend routine. Life is busy so planning is the key. Get outside your comfort zone and try new things!

Pinterest is a great way to layout some of your Bucket List. Don't forget the old fashion Hiking Book! It is a great resource for tried-and-true adventures! Also, using the National and Provincial Park websites will tell you the trail conditions before heading out. 

Treat Yourself
A little treat can make all the difference before, during and after the hike! So don't forget them! Bring up your favourite snack during your hike, or a warm coffee/tea for the top of a mountain...it's good for the soul! A good tip it is to always have some food for after your hike in your car. This will guarantee smiles all the way home! 
Poutine is my go-to treat after a long trail running/hiking day. 

Listen to yourself
It's a must to listen to your body and respect your limits. If you don't feel comfortable, tell your hiking partners. You will resent hiking adventures if you don't feel safe. However, this doesn't mean you always have to stick to your comfort zone because that will also make hiking boring. For example, I don't like walking on flats or on downhills. I personally like running those sections, so finding a compatible hiking partner makes it more enjoyable. 

Get the right fuel
Do you remember when your parents forced you to wear those awful skates or ski boots that didn't fit quite right because they were hand-me-downs? They were enough to turn you completely off those sports! This is the same thing with hiking. Poor equipment such as ill-fitting shoes, leaky rain jackets, or suffocating base layers will make your adventures less than ideal. Make sure to get the right gear for your needs.