My focus for training was building strength in my leg muscles to protect and support my knee and to allow me to start running regularly to rebuild my endurance. I've tried other endurance things like elliptical trainer and stationery bikes and they just don't keep me interested so I knew I needed to find a way to get back to running. I was working with a physical therapist on the training program for my knee strength and doing a lot in the gym four days a week. Slowly I got to where I could run again and I took to running on dirt trails (to stay off the hard pavement) and running hills (to work on building the muscle and to stress the cardio). To keep my risk of injury low, I was careful to not run on successive days and to give myself a day off if the body felt like it needed it and keep the training going in the gym in between. My runs got longer and I started tackling larger hills. I could see measurable progress in my leg muscles, particularly the quad on my surgery knee. I got to a point where I ran a couple half marathons for training and separately ran some trails with more than 1000' of elevation gain.
For Kevin, we got some fortunate timing because, independent from the Whitney trip, Kevin joined a rowing club and started training with them. For those of you who don't know rowing, it's a great all body sport: legs, core, arms, endurance. I could see pretty early on that Kevin was getting good overall fitness and strength training with the rowing team so all we'd have to concentrate on with him would be some practice with backpacking and hiking.
I wanted to try to do some practice hikes at altitude (~10,000 feet), but we had such a snowy and late winter this year that I really couldn't find anything in Northern California at altitude in May/early June that was feasible and compatible with the rowing schedule. So, we settled for doing some steep hikes around here (2000 foot climbs) to get used to hiking in our boots and carrying our backpacks.