I've gotten some great questions about how I have been preparing for Peru. Here is a brief rundown of what I've done in various areas:
Physical Prep - I have gone hiking every weekend for the past 4-5 months. Picking progressively steeper and longer routes each time.
Altitude Prep - Based on all the research I have done there is nothing you can do to prep for being at high altitudes. Being in shape can help, but has no bearing on who will, or will not, have difficulty adjusting. Once at altitude you can mitigate it's effects by staying hydrated and avoiding/limiting alcohol. It's also important to build in a few days down time at altitude before beginning a trek. As for medicinal "support" - There are some prescription meds that may help, but speak to your doctor as some have side effects and/or are dangerous for folks with sulfa or other allergies. I have been told of local remedies - including the infamous Coca leaf tea...we'll see...
Medicine Bag Prep - Be it a headache, sore muscles, sinuses or the dreaded Montezuma's revenge, being prepared can make a huge difference. I always travel with basic OTC supplies - in their original packaging. And double check your prescription med supply too (again, in properly labelled containers). Lastly, just in case things get "out of control" travel insurance with medical coverage is a must have.
Gear/Clothing Prep - I needed new hiking boots and got these back when I started my weekly walks. Making sure that your boots, socks and other trekking clothes and gear are comfortable and broken in is a priority! Also important are layers for rain, wind, cold and heat- all of which could be encountered in a single day.
How to Know Where to go Prep? - I did extensive research, spoke with colleagues in the travel industry, read some great books ( "Turn Right at Machu Picchu" by Mark Adams was my favorite), and mapped out all possible routes against the time I have to spend. In the end my final choices are all places Peru experts have recommend and clients have inquired about.
I also must acknowledge the wonderful on the ground sponsors who are making my trip possible. Their offers of space on tours and accommodation not only give me first hand experience with what my clients will enjoy, but makes my extended exploration possible! I will specify each sponsor/Tour company when I post about my time with them.
Keep your questions coming!