• Kate Sielmann

How To Train For The Pacific Crest Trail PLUS The 8-Week Pacific Crest Trail Training Plan

Updated: Jun 6, 2020

For more info about The Pacific Crest Trail, please read this blog:

“Important Details and Surprising Fun Facts About The Pacific Crest Trail”


In this blog you’ll find out the 2 reasons that make training so important to your success and safety followed by an 8-Week Pacific Crest Trail Training Plan.


The 2 Reasons Why You Need To Be Training For The Pacific Crest Trail:

1. Distance

The entire trail is about 4,270km, which generally takes 5 months to complete. 4,270km is a long, long way. Most people don’t have time to do the full trail and so instead opt to do a section of the trail. Even if you are only doing a section of, say 140km in 7 days that is still close to 140,000 steps for the average person. Considering each step uses over 200 muscles in your body, you can safely assume that this trail is going to be a major, major challenge if you don’t properly train for it.


2. Personal Safety & Responsibility

A lot of the trail is well marked but a lot of it isn’t. It is up to you to look after yourself and be responsible for your well-being. If you are not fit enough to do the route on your own, without help then you absolutely shouldn’t be doing it. You need to take personal responsibility and properly prepare yourself physically for this incredible trail.

If you plan on doing between 100km to 200km of this route then 4 weeks of training will be good enough. If you plan on doing between 200km and 400km then aim for 8 weeks of training. If you plan on doing the full trail then I’d suggest no less than 24 weeks of training. Knowing this, you can then adjust the below training plan accordingly.


NOTE: Please read “The 5 Essential Training Principles Of Mountaineering & Trekking” before you start the next section of this blog. You’ll need to understand what the training principles actually are to understand your 8-Week PCT Training Plan.


A small disclaimer, the average person does between 200km and 400km of this route, hence why I have made the training plan 8 weeks. 8 weeks to train and prepare is really the minimum amount of time I would suggest to any of my clients with reasonable/average fitness levels for that distance. If you struggle to walk 10km with a heart rate of about 130bpm or run 8km with a heart rate between 140bpm and 150bpm then rather be on the safe side and assume you need longer than 8 weeks to prepare.



8-Week Pacific Crest Trail Training Plan


In my book “A Step-By-Step Manual To Mountaineering & Trekking Around The World” I share the formula I developed to calculate the exact number of hours you should be training per week to reach your peak physical condition for any mountain or trekking route you choose, as well as an entire, detailed and scientific chapter dedicated to creating your own training program.


If you haven’t read my book and calculated your weekly training hours then please know that the below training plan is based on the average age, weight and overall fitness levels of a person. This program also excludes the specific Heart Rate Zones that I explain and apply to The Training Chapter in my book, simply because it is impossible (and medically unsafe) to assume and suggest the specific zones you should be training in without properly calculating them.


Dedicate yourself to your training, give of your absolute best during your training so you can give of your best and enjoy every moment of this incredible trail.


IMPORTANT NOTE: You will be carrying your own gear so make sure you do as much of your Aerobic, Ankle Mobility and Leg sessions with a weighted pack on.


Week 1

  • 2 hours Aerobic Fitness

  • 30 minutes Core Stability

  • 15 minutes Ankle Mobility and Balance

  • 1 hour Leg and Glute Strength

  • 15 minutes Anaerobic Power

Week 2

  • 2.5 hours Aerobic Fitness

  • 30 minutes Core Stability

  • 15 minutes Ankle Mobility and Balance

  • 1 hour Leg and Glute Strength

  • 15 minutes Anaerobic Power

Week 3

  • 3 hours Aerobic Fitness

  • 30 minutes Core Stability

  • 15 minutes Ankle Mobility and Balance

  • 1 hour Leg and Glute Strength

  • 15 minutes Anaerobic Power

Week 4

  • 3 hours Aerobic Fitness

  • 40 minutes Core Stability

  • 15 minutes Ankle Mobility and Balance

  • 1.5 hours Leg and Glute Strength

  • 15 minutes Anaerobic Power

Week 5

  • 3.5 hours Aerobic Fitness

  • 40 minutes Core Stability

  • 15 minutes Ankle Mobility and Balance

  • 1.5 hours Leg and Glute Strength

  • 15 minutes Anaerobic Power

Week 6

  • 3.5 hours Aerobic Fitness

  • 40 minutes Core Stability

  • 15 minutes Ankle Mobility and Balance

  • 1.5 hours Leg and Glute Strength

  • 15 minutes Anaerobic Power

Week 7

  • 4 hours Aerobic Fitness

  • 40 minutes Core Stability

  • 15 minutes Ankle Mobility and Balance

  • 1.5 hours Leg and Glute Strength

  • 15 minutes Anaerobic Power


Week 8 (Peak Week)

During Peak Week, your training amount will decrease giving your body the necessary time to rest and recover before you take your first step on The Pacific Crest Trail. You want to start your climb fully recovered and rested and not tired and exhausted from training, which is why including a Peak Week in your 8 Week Pacific Crest Trail Training Plan is important.

  • 2 hours Aerobic Fitness

  • 30 minutes Core Stability

  • 30 minutes Ankle Mobility and Balance

  • 1 hour Leg and Glute Strength – very light exercises followed by a 15 minute Self-Massage Release (SMR) using a Foam Roller. Click here to see my SMR program.

  • 0 minutes Anaerobic Power

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