Hiking long distances can take a lot out of your body and mind but with a bit of simple preparation and some awareness about how you actually tackle those big walks things can be made a lot easier letting you cover more ground with less energy expended.
While stamina does play a part in how far anyone can hike in a day it is always a finite resource and will be depleted eventually, by taking an objective look at the way you actually move when hiking gives you the chance to produce a much more efficient walking style.
A good example of this is to watch endurance runners and see how they have adopted a certain series of movements with almost no variation as they cover mile after mile. These cycles of identical movements are how they have trained themselves to be a more efferent machine and enabling them to cover great distances.
Creating a better less energy sapping way of walking will take some time but anything you can do to reduce the amount of wasted movement when hiking will only make it a whole lot easier.
Your Backpacks Center of Gravity
Having to fight the weight on your back while hiking will really effect your performance and badly packed or poorly designed backpacks should be avoided completely. Imagine how many steps you take on a days hike and if your pack is pulling you sideways each time this is not only causing you to expend unnecessary energy but may also be setting you up for some serious muscle injury down the line.
Make sure your backpack is packed tightly so that nothing is shifting inside as you walk and avoid having anything swinging from the outside changing your whole center of gravity with every step you take.
Investing in a quality pair of walking poles will help you when hiking and reduce the risk of any long term damage to muscles and joints. Knee joint damage is right at the top of the list of things that lifelong hikers experience because all that weight in your pack is bearing down on these joints with every movement. Adding the twisting that your whole body has to deal with when hiking on uneven ground leaves you with the very real potential of severe knee joint problems in years to come.
Walking poles help to spread that weight out over the upper body and take some of the strain of those valuable knee joints resulting in a easier hiking experience. The damage to your knee joints may take years before any symptoms show and anything you can do today will only serve to keep you hiking much longer into old age.
Cutting down on wasted energy when hiking starts long before you have even laced up your boots by putting some planning and thought into the organization of frequently use items.
Having to stop and remove your pack every time you need a drink or some food will not only slow down your progress but use energy that could be better spent pushing forward to your goal. Choosing a backpack that has good side storage will allow you to have the most basic items to hand without ever having to break your stride.