Training For My Retirement

Guest Blogger – Bruce Donaldson, Phoenix, Arizona, USA

It is a great pleasure to introduce my latest Guest blogger – retired computer programmer, who enjoys backpacking in the American southwest – Bruce Donaldson.

Bruce talks about how he prepared for a retirement full of adventures.  An interesting story that shows that retirement is not about sitting back and putting your feet up.

While I haven’t done any of the extremely long distance trails (yet) like the Pacific Crest Trail, the Appalachian Trail, or the Continental Divide Trail, I have section hiked a lot of the 800 mile long, Arizona Trail. I have also completed Arizona’s 80 mile long Black Canyon Trail, as well as countless smaller trails throughout the state including over a dozen trips down the Grand Canyon.


A typical adventure might involve being shuttled to a trailhead and hiking for 3 or 4 days with my wife picking me up 40 to 50 miles away at a different trail head. Now that I’m retired, I’m looking forward to sharing a lot more time with the trail.


As many will tell you, long distance backpacking is hard work.  To facilitate my backpacking habit I need to stay in good shape – not an easy task when you’re 60!

I watch what I eat (or try to anyway) and run 3 times a week. I have a 3 mile (5km) loop around a small lake close to my house that works great for training. I also do a weight lifting routine 3 times a week using a Bowflex Sport and of course – I walk!

image1I walk anywhere from 7 to 12 miles each day. I’m a firm believer in the benefits of walking. It’s truly the secret to having a long, healthy life. And it’s so easy – stand up, take a step, and repeat!

You do however, need to make sure you have proper equipment and that starts with your shoes. This will be different based on your own feet but for running, I use the Hoka Clifton running shoe and for walking/backpacking, I use the Altra Olympus trail running shoe. Both are ultra lightweight and both offer lots of cushion below your feet – a must have for the hard pavement where I do most of my training.

I also recommend investing in a good pair of headphones. I’m typically walking or hiking by myself and it’s really nice to have something to help pass the time. You can stream a radio station, podcast, your favorite playlist, or even an audiobook with most smartphones these days, and I highly recommend doing just that! Just be careful when approaching road crossings. I have almost been hit by cars on several occasions. You’re head needs to really be on a swivel!

Once, while running over one of the local mountains close to my house, a gentlemen who had seen me out running many times shouted out, “Hey, what are you training for anyway?”. I responded with, “My Retirement”! He smiled and gave me a “Thumbs Up”!

image5aBruce Donaldson. is a married, 60 year old retired computer programmer, who enjoys backpacking in the American southwest. Bruce and his wife have lived in the Phoenix, Arizona area of the USA for the past 35 years.

For more about Bruce, check out his twitter page:


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